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Web Site - Browser Testing

Have you ever been to a site that didn't display properly? A simple mistake web developers commit is failing to rigorously test web sites on multiple browsers and platforms. Numerous web sites get out to the public without being properly tested.  The end result is pages that don't look right.

Why should I test?

I run across web sites on a regular basis that don't render properly.  This can create havoc and significant frustration for users of your web site. A site might load properly in Firefox.  Yet, if you load the same site in Internet Explorer a blank screen appears.  In more severe cases, a web site can instantaneously crash a browser.

Test your site in as many browsers and operating systems as practical. Below you will find a list of browsers and operating systems to test.  Ask family or friends to help.  Most people have friends who use the listed browsers and operating systems. Send out an email with a link to your web site.  Attach a screen capture to illustrate how the site should look. You should be able to tell if there are any issues in a short period of time.   

Test in these browsers:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Firefox
  • Netscape
  • Safari
  • Opera

Test on the following Operating Systems:

  • The Windows Family of Operating Systems
  • Mac OS
  • Unix and Linux (If you have some who uses these)

If there are issues, have your testing participants document what software version they are using and what occured.  Their feedback can be in very simple terms, "I'm using Firefox 2.0, when I try to load the video on your site it doesn't play." Pass the information to your web developer or IT department.

More people are getting PDA phones with Internet access, you might want to consider testing for the mobile user.  If you decide to test your site on mobile phones, consider the test an experiment. Don't get overly concerned if you site doesn't render as expected.  Most sites won't display properly unless they are built to be displayed on mobile phones.  The sites that fair the best are those built with significant HTML text.

You won't be able to guarantee perfection for ever user.  The browser and operating system variables are endless.  But, you can test your site with a few users to ensure the greatest compatibility.

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