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Michael Rolfe

Cross Browser Testing – Free Compatability Checks

24th Feb 2012 SEO 3 minutes to read


Browser Compatability Checker

Sometimes it’s worth restating the fundamentals.  Everyone presumes that their site displays just fine to their users, but when did you last actually check?

I recently had a client who was proud to show me their latest site redesign.  As we talked over the phone it became apparent that we were looking at two very different pages, albeit both of us looking at the same URL.

We specialise in marketing rather than development at Koozai, but this is a fundamental useability factor that will improve on site metrics and ultimately, conversions, so I thought it was worth a mention for those who may not have considered that their content may be displaying sub-optimumly on other peoples computers.

Browser market share is more evenly distributed across a larger number of users than at any other time.  This makes it more important than ever to ensure that web sites are rendering as you would expect them to across a multitude of browsers,  as well as across all the different versions currently supported.  My last post “Why So Many Firefox Updates!” covers this in more depth if it’s something you have been considering lately.

The graph below highlights the diminishing spread between the leading browsers’ market share which is courtesy of ‘The Death Of Firefox‘ post over on ExtremeTech:

Browser Market Share Image

The graph makes the point that optimising across all main four browsers is now more necessary, and optimising for IE alone may be costing you lost sales and brand reputation.  Are you really sure that your site renders how you would expect it to across the 4 main browsers on the main operating systems at the most popular resolutions on the different sized displays now available?  If not, don’t worry, let’s cut straight to it and find out how to test and improve your site right now!

http://browsershots.org

Browsershots is a simple, free online solution to view your website in up to 97 different browsers.  The catch is that it can take anwhere from a few minutes to a few hours to report on all the different browser versions, so you may want to pick judiciously which you test.  As can be seen in the graph above, the main four browsers is where the market is so restrict your test accordingly if time is an issue.

https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html

Adobe Browserlab is free until April 2012 so if you are reading this in time, just visit and get a free Adobe login if you haven’t already picked one up.  Just enter the URL of your website and choose a browser to watch it load in real time and see if all is as expected.

http://www.infobyip.com/testwebsiteresolution.php

Visit the above URL, enter the website to test and then select your resolution from the links provided to quickly see how your web site displays on the most popular desktop, tablet and mobile phone screen resolutions.

These tools won’t alert you to more in-depth compatibility issues such as at the checkout level which may be just as important to address. If you are concerned about this issue you should speak to your web developer to assist you and please feel free to comment below if you have any tools or tips to help in this regard.   Failing that, including a feedback form on your site that makes it as easy as possible for users to report errors would be best practice to address any problems as quickly as possible.  Spending five minutes to check now should be a great investment when you consider the number of visitors you site will recieve in the near future, so don’t delay, check browser compatabilty today!

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Michael Rolfe
About the author

Michael Rolfe

Michael has been earning a living online and winning awards for it since 2005. Projects include launching an affiliate network, database driven comparison websites, and Wordpress education seminars as well as devising and implementing the online marketing strategy for a listed blue-chip organisation.

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