Whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer or another option, we all have a browser we use most often. Many of us rely on personal preference, but sometimes our employers, schools or other organizations make the decision for us.
Because of this, it is imperative to test websites – not only in different browsers, but on different devices.
1. Know your audience’s preferences.
Compatibility testing is often one of the last things developers consider before releasing a site. At Sundog, we check with our clients to find out what browsers they will typically use to view the site. If they know the statistics of the most popular browsers used by their customers, the decision becomes immensely easier. Businesses need their customers to be able to see their content as consistently as possible, across different devices and in different browsers.
2. Work with those preferences in mind.
That includes testing across browsers and devices as you go – throughout the development process if possible.
3. Test, test and test again. (Tip: Try BrowserStack.)
The simplest way to do this is with a tool such as BrowserStack. It allows your development or quality assurance team to test multiple browser, operating system and device combinations.
For instance, when checking CNN, on my computer, I see this in the latest version of Google Chrome:
And this, in IE8-Compatibility Mode (not that I am condoning IE8):
While CNN is certainly not asking me for advice on compatibility, it definitely isn’t a best practice to have a website not work at all in a particular browser. It is far better to have browser- or device-specific Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) so you have proper fall-back compatibility for all users.
The best advice? Know your audience’s preferences, work with those in mind, and test browsers and devices often through the entire development process. You – and your customers – will be glad you did.