Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Browsers of Mechanical Turk workers

Yesterday, Michael Bernstein asked on Twitter:

I recalled that my favorite go-to source for Turk statistics, Dahn Tamir, used Mechanical Turk a couple of years back to examine the connection between browser use and political orientation.

I asked Dahn if he had collected more extensive data. He is running tasks using a very large number of workers, so his sample would have been representative.

I was not disappointed: Dahn had data from approximately 19,000 workers, based on 75,000 worker requests from the last 6 months, recording the "user-agent" part of the HTTP request. For each workerid, we counted how many different user-agents we have seen. The maximum was 19, with an average value of 1.3.

Then, measured the workerid's per user-agent string. If a worker had registered multiple user-agent strings, we split the credit across browsers. For example, if the same workerid had one session with IE8 and one with IE9, then we gave 0.5 credit to IE8 and 0.5 credit to IE9.

I processed further the data using the UserAgentString API and I generated this Google spreadsheet.

After processing the data, here are the high level results:

Operating System Usage

Yep, most (~85%-90%) of MTurk workers use Windows. I found very surprising the prevalence of Windows XP!

Browser Usage

I found very interesting the relatively low percentage of IE users.

For reference, here are the most common versions for each of the most-used browsers by Mechanical Turk workers:

One of the good news is that most MTurk workers tend to use new versions of the browsers with good support for the latest web technologies (css, javascript, etc). Interestingly, though, a very significant fraction uses Windows XP!

In the future, we may repeat the measurements by also keeping statistics about Javascript versions, plugins, flash support etc.

Until then, enjoy and code safely, knowing that you do not have to support IE6 and IE7 in your MTurk HITs.