AJAXian has released the results of their 2008 State-of-the-Web survey, and the one glaring thing that stands out is that the people surveyed (“as many web designers and developers from around the world as possible”) seem to be losing touch with their audience.

A minority using Windows, a minority using IE, and a minority using mobile devices. That makes huge sense for web developers.

firefoxBut that’s a sharp contrast to the web audience, where the most common visitor is still running IE6 on Windows XP, with the second place going to IE7 on Windows Vista and the third going to a smartphone running Windows Mobile.

This is a generalization derived from many survey sources, but it’s close enough to make the point.

The thing is, the farther apart web developers and web users drift, the farther the designs of the former will meet the expectations of the latter. True, we all test our websites on several platforms (I hope we do, at least!), but that’s still different from using the same thing your users use, day in and day out.

Yet, to a web developer, the thought of using Internet Explorer on a Windows system fills them with dread and horror. And justifiably so – the people who know more about how the web works are unable to tolerate the sloppy calamity that is the Microsoft web experience. It’s hard to look at Microsoft’s behavior and not think that they  just plain hate the Internet!

So we try it the other way: convince users to switch. And after almost 15 years of trying, it’s time to give up. We can’t get users to stop opening viral attachments in their email; how are we supposed to make them believe that the web isn’t supposed to look this way?

Oh, and the other glaring thing we can tell from the survey: Perl is dead.