Who Do You Think You LR? 2013 Edition


On our birthday two years ago we took a brief look at some of the statistics relating to what happens behind the scenes here at London Reconnections, most notably including a look at who you, the readers, are. It was an interesting exercise, and so with our fifth birthday upon us it seems an appropriate time to do so again.

Much of the information below is based on the data we gather, anonymously, from sources such as Google Analytics, but in a few cases it is based on a heuristic assessment of information from a variety of additional sources. All of this data we collect solely to help us work out how best to deliver the content on this site as, obviously, we do not run advertising.

The Browser Breakdown

One of the always-fascinating statistics related to London Reconnections is browser usage. That all of the “big” browsers feature, is not surprising, but we’ve seen a big shuffle in terms of their popularity. The basic breakdown can be seem in the pie charts below.


Browser usage, 2011 vs 2013

Safari and Chrome are now the most used browsers on the site, replacing Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox respectively. The makeup of IE usage has also changed radically, shifting towards more modern versions of the browser. In 2011 IE7 and IE8 users accounted for approximately 75% of all traffic from that browser. Today they account for just under 40%, with IE9 and IE10 – both of which are thankfully far more compliant with modern web standards – finally taking their place at the top of the IE charts.

A minor shout-out here should probably go to the user who appears to browse the site via a Nintendo 3DS, which we suspect can’t be an altogether easy experience. Similarly credit must be given to the small group of regulars who browse using their PlayStation 3 consoles, proving console gaming isn’t all about Call of Duty and FIFA.

Screen Resolution

Nothing demonstrates just how much the web has changed since we last looked at usage than the screen resolutions that are used by readers of the site. This, more than device, now has more of an impact on the experience of most web users. More devices with increasingly diverse screen sizes – desktop, laptop and mobile – have meant that the “average” user experience, on LR at least, no longer exists.


Screen resolution, 2011 vs 2013

The pie charts really highlight how the visual experience has changed. In both cases only screen resolutions with more than a 3% audience share are featured, with less-used resolutions grouped into “Other.”

In 2011, this translated to 7 “common” configurations, with 1024×768 leading the way. Indeed the average LR reader could be described with some confidence as someone whose screen was likely to be between 1024 and 1280 pixels in width, as just three screen sizes accounted for the majority of readers.

By contrast, the situation in 2013 is far more fractured. 12 different resolutions now account for 3% of visits or more, and over 30% of traffic comes from resolutions not covered by those 12 – double that of 2011.

The drop in usage of 1024×768 as a resolution is astonishing – from about 23% of visits to just 5%, and a general flattening of numbers across the board means that there is arguably no such thing as a standard resolution range – at least not one that’s useful. It’s an astonishing change in what is, ultimately, a relatively short period of time.

Operating System (OS) Usage

Operating system usage has also seen some changes in recent years. Back in 2011 Windows XP dominated the stage, with mobile and tablet browsers yet to make a mark. In total, Windows users of some variety made up about two thirds of all site visitors. Today, as the pie charts below show, the balance has changed somewhat.


Operating Systems, 2011 vs 2013

Today, visits from Windows systems still remain in the majority, but have fallen to under 60%. Much of the slack has been picked up by iOS devices (both iPad and iPhone) which now account for over 15% of traffic. Android usage has also climbed, whilst Macintosh and Linux traffic has stayed relatively static.

One thing that is worth noting is that Microsoft seem to have been relatively successful, at least when it comes to LR visitors, in pushing their user-base to Windows 7 and 8 (although the later currently accounts for only 3% of traffic on its own). Those operating systems have now supplanted Windows XP as the most common OS used by LR readers.

Where Are You All?

Moving away from comparatives, location-wise the average reader can certainly be said to be a resident of the UK. Over 86% of LR readers are to be found here, with just over 3% of readers – the next highest single total – to be found in the US.


Audience by geography, 2013

Perhaps unsurprisingly, over 60% of UK readers are to be found within London, with Brighton, Oxford and Cambridge being the next most popular cities albeit a considerable distance behind – together they account for about 4% of readers.

Mobile vs Desktop

Finally, it’s worth taking a look at what part mobile internet usage now plays here on LR. Back in 2011, mobile and tablet traffic combined contributed about 5% of visits. This was small but growing, and thus was a key reason why we took the decision then to start designing (and writing) for mobile.

Today, as the pie chart belows, mobile and tablet traffic has grown significantly.


Device breakdown, 2013

As it stands, non-desktop use still stands in the minority, but as the device breakdown and screen resolution changes show, the way people consume LR is becoming increasingly diverse. It will be interesting to see what the next two years bring.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.