When I worked in Tokyo (in the late 90’s) I remember looking at a web site affiliated with where I worked and it looked terrible. Worse than terrible. When I went to talk to the designer (this was not his job) I understood the problem even before we began to talk – he worked on a huge monitor (21 inch CRT) and the site looked great on his monitor and while using Internet Explorer.
The lesson I learned that day was the importance of testing a web site in a variety of browsers, resolutions and monitors.
There are more browsers out there than some realize. The main ones are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera. When testing with Internet Explorer you get the joy of testing several different versions as well. The much despised Internet Explorer 6 has finally dropped in usage to the point where designers can design without all the goofy restraints that come with it.
So for Internet Explorer flavors, you should test with IE7 and IE8 and perhaps even the test version of IE9. Basically since the demise of IE6, you get a similar look no matter which version of IE you are using but it doesn’t hurt to check different ones to be sure.
With the other browsers, testing across different versions isn’t as important as making sure you at least take a look at the site with a current version of the browser. The vast majority of Firefox users are on version 3.6 so that would be a good one to test with (at least in January of 2011).
Chrome is an up and coming browser, primarily because it is a Google product. Between September of 2009 and September of 2010, Chrome nabbed about 8% of the browser market from Internet Explorer.
Safari and Opera account for 4.4% and 2.0% of browsers being used so it isn’t a bad idea to check in these browsers as well.
Except for multiple versions of IE, it is relatively easy to install and run these browsers, all within the same system – I’m writing this on a system with IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari installed.
Other factors to check to make sure your web site displays correctly include testing it on different operating systems and testing it on handhelds. The biggest problem we’ve heard so far is about Apple’s decision not to support Flash. There goes your nice Flash presentation if you’re getting a lot of visitors using Apple’s iPad, iTouch or iPhone to view your site.
A little bit of testing can save you the embarrassment of having your site look like it was designed by a middle school student.
Need help making your site look right across browsers? Turn to EduCyber and we’ll help. Give us a call at (303) 268-2245.