Tag Archives: statistics

Good news on IE6: government usage plummets in 2012

Almost a year ago, we published some interesting browser statistics based on the logs from one of our Central Government Citizen Space servers. We ran the logs through a piece of open source analysis software called Visitors, and this gave us an anonymous breakdown of all visits to Citizen Space, showing the browsers and versions that were used. We looked at the statistics for all pages, and compared them with the stats for pages only accessible to admin users. The results were insightful but rather scary: Internet Explorer 6 accounted for more than 1 in 3 visits by our Central Government admin users.

For those who don’t know, Internet Explorer version 6 (lovingly known as IE6) is a web browser that Microsoft released over a decade ago. Because it renders web pages differently (in some cases dramatically differently) from more modern browsers, web developers spend a great deal of time creating workarounds so that IE6 users can still access our websites. Of course, this increases the cost of product development without necessarily offering any benefit to the majority of web users who don’t use IE6. Coupled with the fact that IE6 now only receives limited support from Microsoft, almost everyone is in agreement that this ancient and decrepit browser must be phased out.

This morning, we had a comment on last year’s post from a reader who was interested in how Citizen Space’s browser stats had changed. Thank you Perry – you reminded me that I’d been meaning to re-do this analysis soon. So here are the graphs comparing the numbers 11 months ago with where we are today:

Central Government Citizen Space – all users (admin and public)

All users by browser, May 2011
Breakdown of visits by browser: IE8: 23.0%, Firefox: 15.6%, IE9: 14.9%, IE7: 14.9%, Chrome: 13.2%, Safari: 10.8%, IE6: 5.9%
All users by browser, April 2012

These statistics roughly follow the browser trends of the general internet population*, with IE8 and 9 increasing in popularity while the older IE versions decrease as expected. Pleasingly, IE6 usage has roughly halved since last May.

Firefox, Chrome and Safari have gained more of a stronghold in the past year, although interestingly, Internet Explorer as a whole has retained a far larger share of Citizen Space users than worldwide browser usage statistics* would predict.

Central Government Citizen Space instances – admin pages only

Admin users by browser, May 2011
Breakdown of visits by browser: IE8: 60.3%, IE7: 29.3%, Chrome: 3.8%, IE6: 2.4%, Firefox: 1.8%, IE9: 1.3%, Safari: 1.1%
Admin users by browser, April 2012


When looking at the statistics for our admin users, the most exciting thing is that usage of IE6 has crashed by 90% – from 35% down to 2.4% of visits. This is a great relief to us, and shows the huge effort that has taken place in government IT departments to upgrade users away from this insecure, ill-supported browser.

It’s worth noting that overall, usage of Internet Explorer among our Central Government users is more than 90%, compared to 34% worldwide*.

What next?

The interesting question is what levels of support to provide for different browser capabilities. We currently provide Level 2 support for IE6, which means that all content must be readable and navigable, but differences in styling and layout may exist. This works OK for our products at the moment, but as web users come to expect a richer and more fluid experience, the likes of IE6 are going to lag further and further behind. How small does the percentage of IE6 users need to be before we can stop supporting it at all?

To other web developers: when do you stop supporting ancient browsers and those with limited functionality? How much can you rely on the presence of client-side technologies like Javascript, cookies, HTML5, CSS3..?

To government IT managers (thank you for phasing out IE6 btw!) what level of support do you expect for older browsers? Do security constraints dictate that you disable features like Javascript or cookies?

As always, I’d love to hear your views.


*Worldwide browser statistics from statcounter.com.

3 ways Dialogue App makes it easy to export data, analyse and report on a dialogue process

A dialogue process is a great way to do things like policy crowdsourcing, ideas generation, and participatory budgeting. One of the great things about a dialogue process is that it combines the free flow of debate and ideas with a structure that enables outcomes to be reached. To get to concrete outcomes, it’s often essential to be able to use data to summarise the discussion.

Dialogue App makes it easy to get hold of your data at any time during the discussion or after it has closed. Here’s a quick overview of the information that Dialogue App provides.

1. Top-line stats
When running a Dialogue, you often need to get hold of quick, up-to-date statistics about the discussion. This may be for a status report, press release, or just for your own curiosity. The Results and Reporting control panel is accessible at any time, and provides the following top-line statistics:

  • Number of registered users
  • Number of users who have submitted ideas
  • Number of ideas
  • Number of comments
  • Average number of comments per idea
  • Number of ratings
  • Average number of ratings per idea
  • Number of tags
  • Average number of tags per idea

2. Complete data exports
All the information collected by the Dialogue is available for download at any time. You’re most likely to need this information after the dialogue closes, for creating a final report, but it’s also useful for putting together an interim report, a mailing list, or for performing more complex analysis than the top-line stats provide.

The following data sets are available for download in CSV format:

  • Full user profiles (username, email address, mailing list opt-in status, custom demographic information)
  • All ideas (title, description, username of submitter, date, average rating, number of ratings, number of comments, list of tags, moderation state) sorted by creation date
  • All ideas (as above, sorted by average rating)
  • All ideas (as above sorted by number of comments)
  • All comments (idea that comment is associated with, username of submitter, date, comment)
  • All tags (tag name, number of uses)

CSV files can be opened in spreadsheet packages such as Microsoft® Excel®, or databases such as Access®. Delib can also create custom downloadable reports on request.

3. Web Analytics
Dialogue App is compatible with Google Analytics (and other online web stats if required). This provides invaluable information about your site’s visitors, including:

  • Number of visitors to the homepage and to individual ideas
  • Breakdown of visitors by geographic territory
  • Breakdown of visitors by operating system, web browser and capabilities
  • How visitors arrived at your site (search engine, link from another site etc)

We can help you with setting up Google Analytics if you don’t already have an account.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a hyper-local discussion that attracts tens of users and results in a dozen great ideas, or a highly-publicised national debate that gives you 50,000 ideas and a quarter of a million ratings to analyse. We’ve helped clients with both of these, and a great many in between.

Does your organisation need dialogue? We’ll talk you through how it works and how to succeed: Gillian Crea or Ben Fowkes | 0845 638 1848 (UK) +44 1173 812 989 (anywhere else)