How does your web site look when seen with a different browser, operating system, or at a different screen resolution? Do you know that the layout, margins, font display and other visual characteristics of your web site may change drastically when viewed on a different browser, operating system, or screen resolution than the one you have on your own computer?
Photo credit: tombaky
In the effort to make your site look more credible, trustable and "professional", you may have been asking yourself what's the best way to do such browser compatibility testing analysis, beyond installing multiple browsers, having multiple PCs and Macs and joggling your monitor screen settings hundreds of times.
And, indeed, there is a better way: browser compatibility testing tools are a set of tools and web-based services that you can leverage to test, check and verify how any web page of your web site is going to look when viewed on a different computer / browser / operating system / screen resolution.
In this MasterNewMedia guide you can find the very best tools and services to check how others really see your web site.
When it comes to browser compatibility testing there are at least three main factors that may affect how others see your web site on their computers:
Just by mixing the different options available on these three basic variables should help you realize how many possible different configurations your viewers may have.
But how can you test such a broad variety of possible combinations? Install all the available web browsers and operating systems out there and then test each screen resolution your monitor can handle?
No way. The sheer number of possible combinations you need to test go well beyond the imaginable: 15 basic setups tested at least at three different resolutions are scary enough to become your worst nightmare.
Luckily, this is exactly where browser compatibility testing tools come to rescue. These are a handful of tools (either free or reasonably-priced) you can use to check the compatibility of your site across different web browsers, operating systems and screen resolutions.
How do these tools and services work?
Browser compatibility testing tools generally work all in the same way. You need to provide the URL of the web page you want to check and then select the operating systems, web browsers, and the specific screen resolutions you want to test your page on.
Your selected browser compatibility testing tool will generate a screenshot of that very page from a virtual computer set up according to your specified settings (operating system, web browser type and version, etc.). In this way, you can immediately evaluate what are the key layout issues to be addressed.
Here below is a comparative table and a set of individual mini reviews to help you evaluate all of these browser compatibility testing services. Here the selection criteria used to compare them:
Daniele Bazzano -
Originally prepared by Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on November 23rd, 2009 as "Browser Compatibility Testing Guide: The Best Tools And Services To Check How Others See Your Web Site".