The Lost Screencap Analysis

By Deane Barker on February 22, 2006

About four months ago, I asked you all to send me a screencap of the Gadgetopia home page sitting in your browser window. I promised to do some analysis of the results, and I kept meaning to get to it, but never got to it.

Tonight, I finally sat down and analyzed what people had sent —

Over the course of about 24 hours, I got 65 screencaps. They ranged in size from a 63KB GIF to a 4MB bitmap. (Actually I only got 64 — one of them was named:

IWasBoredAndWantedToSeeIfICouldUploadAn […] mp3ThroughYourFormIfIRenamedItTojpg.jpg

Funny. I changed the extension back and listened to it. It was some techno / dance / house thing.)

  • There were a fair amount of misunderstandings. I got a number of screencaps of posts from the RSS feed — a couple in Thunderbird, several in Bloglines, one in Google Reader, one in SharpReader.

  • Browser size was large. I only counted three browsers with less than 1,000 pixels of horizontal width. Everyone has a lot of whitespace between the right side of the content and the right edge of the browser window.

    One guy had the staggering horizontal resolution of 1,680 pixels. He could fit the home page twice, side-by-side, in that space.

    A few browsers were sized down to fit the content. At a minimum, however, there was at least 200 pixels to work with on the right side of the screen.

    Expect a larger font size on this site soon…

  • Font size was pretty uniform. Of the 60 or so actual screencaps, three people had increased the font size one level, one person had increased it two levels.

  • The vast majority of the screencaps were in Firefox or Safari. I only clearly identified four screencaps of IE (though the browser wasn’t identifiable in several). I found two Operas.

  • Two toolbars dominated — I counted seven Google toolbars and six Web Developer toolbars. There was another one I couldn’t identify, and, surprisingly, not much of anything else.

    There wasn’t a lot of real estate taken from the top of the window. An unscientific survey put the average top space lost to browser chrome at 121 pixels, from a mimimum of 73 (Safari with no toolbars at all) to a maximum of 191 (Firefox with three toolbars).

    Toolbars were always stacked, it seemed. Not many people shortened them up and slid them onto the same row.

  • Very few sidebars. Two people had bookmarks open in the sidebar, and one person had Sage. In all other instances, the left size of the page was flush against the left border of the browser window.

  • At least two-thirds of the browsers had more than one tab open at the time the cap was taken.

  • A lot of people capped the entire desktop, so I was able to glean some information about what we do in general. Lots and lots of geek-ish stuff going on: Azureus, SQL Server, Trillian, VNC, etc.

    We’re all geeks, man.

  • Someone had a Spanish version of Firefox (Archivo, Editar, Ver…)

  • The most common Firefox plugin I could find was AdBlock. A lot of AdSense Notifier, ColorZilla, PageRank, and a lot more I couldn’t identify.

And that’s what I was able to draw from it. Thanks to everyone who provided a screencap, and thanks to Matt Smith who kept riding me about this until I finally got it done.

What This Links To


  1. HaHa, that “IWasBoredAndWantedToSeeIfICouldUploadAn […] mp3ThroughYourFormIfIRenamedItTojpg.jpg” was me, I just wanted to see if there were any size limitations set for the upload form, I uploaded an actual screenshot aswell. It would have been some UK Hardcore song (rave music) I suspect but I can’t remember now.

  2. Just when I had given up, you come through with all sorts of interesting information. My main purpose for riding you was because, like you, I’ve always wanted to know more about what size people actually view their sites in. Sure you can go to sites like and to see resolution stats for their screen but it doesn’t give you the actual size they run their winows at.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time.

    — Matt Smith — MyHomePoint – Powering the Modern Family SwoofWare – It’s only work if somebody makes you do it

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