In our last post, we talked about trends in posting, commenting, and bookmarking activity, as well as page view numbers in 2013. We now want to look at some geographical stats and browser usage. As before, raw data is available in spreadsheet form:
More international usage!
Sadly, it requires a bit of work to generate usable chunks of data from our massive server logs, so we only started keeping track of some international stats last year - with the help of our aforementioned server monitoring tool, New Relic. We aim to improve our data this year, and will be able to provide a closer look at trends in international usage farther into 2014.
One metric we can use to compare site usage between different countries is the number of "average sessions" over a period of time. A session starts when someone (i.e. an IP address) opens an Archive page, and ends after five minutes (unless that same IP address keeps browsing the Archive). If several people visit the Archive at the same time, that's a number of "simultaneous sessions", and we can track of how many of these we have, on average, at any given time.
Image: World map showing countries with recorded site usage in blue. Screenshot was taken on July 17, 2013.
At the end of July, we stacked up our Top 20 countries by comparing how many average simultaneous sessions we had from each country during the preceding three months.
On average, roughly 6,500 people from the United States were browsing the Archive at the same time, and roughly 90 people from the Philippines. As our traffic increased during the year, we noted growing numbers for each country as well. All data is available in the 'countries' tab in the AO3 Stats spreadsheet.
We've also noticed a slight uptick in Support tickets in languages other than English. With the help of our Translation volunteers, we've replied to requests in Chinese, Russian, Indonesian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French last year. You can always find our list of officially available Support languages at the top of our contact form!
One of our next code deploys will include changes to the FAQ system that will make it possible to offer translated versions of our FAQs. We're very excited to roll out this feature, and will post more information about language features on the Archive closer to the deploy date.
More mobile browsing!
Chrome on Windows remains the most popular browser among our users, by a wide margin. However, it's immediately followed by Safari on iPhone, which is in turn followed by a number of other mobile platforms among the usual suspects, Firefox and Internet Explorer. From user feedback (and our own Archive use!) we know that browsing the AO3 on phones or tablets is becoming increasingly popular. (Some numbers can be found in the 'browsers' tab in the AO3 Stats spreadsheet.)
While we do our best to make the Archive accessible and easy on the eyes on smaller screens, we frequently receive requests for a dedicated AO3 app. We've explained why we won't be able to offer iOS and Android apps anytime soon and continue to follow up on the topic in relevant posts on our Tumblr. In short: designing, coding, and maintaining even one app (and providing ongoing tech support for that app) is an incredible time commitment, and we've already got our hands quite full with the Archive website.
We have several improvements to our download feature coming up, and will continue to provide EPUB and MOBI versions of all fanworks on the Archive. Just use an e-reader app (such as iBooks or Aldiko) to organize and access your downloaded files, and you'll always have things to read even when you're offline!
More changes under the hood!
2013 was the year of many "invisible" efforts to keep the Archive stable and easier to maintain going forward. We spent a lot of time getting all our code adjusted for our big Ruby on Rails upgrade, and even more time updating, fixing, and improving our automated tests for use with Travis-CI over the year. All in all, we closed 300 issues in our public bug tracker. Together with our Systems team, we installed new servers and made changes to our server architecture in preparation for bigger and better things in 2014.
Unseen to AO3 users, we spent several weeks reviewing our internal knowledge base (removing nearly half of the 350 wiki pages for being outdated), organizing pertinent documentation and training materials, and making sure all our shared spaces for discussion and collaboration were in order and archived items were easy to find. Yay!
This concludes our look back; more posts about exciting celebrations will follow shortly! Many, many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has left comments of encouragement and support either here or on Tumblr or Twitter. As always, if you have any questions or comments, just let us know!