Who is the Average Web User?
When to get a G Rating, When to Push the Limits

Now that we have a sense for the average student in our class, we should compare our tendencies and preferences to the audience for which we design. This article from October,2007 describes some findings about the average web user. Compare these statistics, similar data I provided in August ,2003.

The concept of an average web user isn't that useful when you consider what a wide range of people that really includes. It's important to remember that you are designing for a specific audience, but that you never want to exclude audience from the experience you are offering. It's a bit like determining the rating for your movie. While everyone may be able to enjoy a G rated film, there are stories that may be clearly deteriorated by supporting the requirements of a G rated film. Likewise, it doesn't make sense to shoot for an R rating when making the film "How to install your Cable Modem."

Large retailers, standard issue brochureware, and companies that are seeking the largest audience are much more likely to shoot for an all audiences website, or the classic G Rating.  The G rating website is one for which the largest demographic, psychographic and technographic group is content.  This may mean using lowest common denominator choices – simply graphics, conservative design, and low tech solutions.  That doesn’t translate to boring, it translates to a mastery of skills in design.  If you do want to create a site that requires reasonably high tech, the graceful thing to do is degrade nicely.  If the user can’t use the newest version of flash, don’t leave them with an empty page that demands they download a new version. Instead, supply them with something useful that may direct them to the information they seek or provide them with another solution. Like the movie analogy, this might be achieved by supplying them with an edited version without all the content that prevented the site from being a G rated destination.

The following sites are examples ofNC-17 sites, not by content, but by their very high exclusivity.  Even though these sites seem to need a wide audience, they all exclude users on a technographic basis (also listed on our blog http://interactiondesign.professorgrace.com/):

While these types of problems are more common than they should be, you must understand that the web is constantly changing. As such, the technological profile of users fluctuates very quickly.  As mentioned repeatedly in class, as the iPhone increases in popularity, its lack of Flash support becomes an increasing problem for web designers. 
Here is a list of technographic constraints you may not have thought of: