Web users are getting smarter

People are getting more web savvy and better able to avoid advertising or other extraneous information when they search the web, a new report on browsing habits shows.

The BBC reports that web usability expert Jakob Nielsen has compared the skills of today’s web browsers with those of people way back in 1999.

Nielsen found that web users now have an average 75% success rate in achieving what they want to with a particular web search, up from 60% nine years ago.

“The designs have become better, but also users have become accustomed to that interactive environment,” Nielsen says. “Now, when people go online they know what they want and how to do it.”

People have also changed steps they take to find online information, Nielsen says. In 2004, 40% of people searched by going to a homepage that was relevant and then moving from there to find the particular information they were looking for. Today, just 25% search in this way, with the vast majority jumping straight from a search page to the particular information they need.

The upshot of this trend, Nielsen argues, has been to make search engines the lords of the internet, with Google firmly entrenched as their king. “Basically search engines rule the web,” he says.


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