Throughout the process of building a website, it is imperative to test design and development work in multiple browsers and on multiple platforms. Due to the fact that browsers do not use a standard method for rendering a site, errors can occur in a site’s layout and functionality. If these issues are not taken care of during the development process prior to launch, a visitor’s experience could be negatively impacted.
There are many tools available to designers and developers today that ease the process of cross-browser testing. Keep reading to discover our favorites.
If you ask any designer or developer which browser gives them the most trouble and hours of issue debugging, they will answer with Internet Explorer.
Regardless of the version, Internet Explorer is well-known for bugs both with design layout and development scripts. There are several ways to attack these issues. First, newer versions of IE provide debugging tools directly in the browser. Simply hit F12 when viewing a page and the developer tools appear in a new window. These F12 developer tools allow you to change the browser and document mode to view later versions, such as IE7 and IE8. These developer tools also allow you to inspect specific HTML and alter CSS styles. Since layout issues can be address directly in the browser, this should be the first method used by designers to find a solution.
There are also other tools available that can help ensure browser compatibility, like IETester that provide the ability to replicate issues and bugs in the proper version of Internet Explorer. I would also recommend installing a version of Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 on a Virtual Machine for additional testing if possible.
Internet Explorer should not be the only focus for testing. There are many other major browsers being used including Chrome, FireFox, and Safari. Not to mention there are several operating systems running these browsers such as Windows, Linux and Mac. There are free and subscription multi-browser testing services that give designers and developers an opportunity to test a new website in many of these browsers and on these platforms.
There is a large amount of value in all of these cross-browser testing tools, software and resources. By thoroughly testing a website in as many browsers as possible, you are eliminating the possibility of a lost visitor or shopper due to an easily corrected bug. If testing time is limited, I would suggest reviewing your analytics and evaluating the amount of traffic your website is getting from various browsers.
If you have additional questions about browser testing or web development, please contact us today. Are there other testing tools you prefer? Please add them in the comments below!
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