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Make Sure To Test Design Changes In Different Web Browsers

Friday, June 15th, 2007...9:21 am

Make Sure To Test Design Changes In Different Web Browsers


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Whenever you make changes to your blogs design (this includes any new plugins you install), it’s a good idea to test whether those modifications are being rendered correctly by different web browsers.

Unfortunately all the major browsers render pages differently and I’ve often found the smallest change can completely mess up my blog. Most of the time the culprit is Internet Explorer, but Firefox has caused some headaches as well.

Your stats will give you a good indication of what percentage of your visitors use which type of browser. Firefox and Internet Explorer usually have the lions share, but I like to test changes in Opera as well just to be thorough, and now that Safari has been released for Windows I’ll be using it to test as well.

It’s not a big effort to bring up your blog in a few different browsers and it sure beats the embarrassment when you get an email from a reader telling you of a problem with your site, and realizing it’s been caused by a change you made a week ago.

For lazy or snobbish Firefox users like myself there is a handy plugin called IE Tab which lets you open up an Internet Explorer tab within Firefox.

IE Tab

9 Comments

  • Nice plugin!
    But I still feel disappointed in IE because it always show my CSS2 Style in a mess! It cannot handle “float” style properly… :-(
    May be I should change my WP Theme to other that fully compatible with all browser! Especially IE and FF. Do you have any suggestion? I’m dare to pay for it! :-)

  • I could not agree more how important it is to test your changes before making them “live”. Coming from a software development background this premise has been ingrained in the back of my head.

    I ended up establishing a test environment at home that mimics my “production” WordPress setup (Apache, MySQL, and PHP). I try to test all changes here before moving anything to my web host. I also use a source code version control tool (MS SourceSafe) to version my changes…I know it sounds like overkill but this setup has saved me a few times after I accidentally deleted that file I just spent 3 hours tweaking.

    I thought you might also be interested in checking out http://browsershots.org. This site allows you to submit your site and will send you a snapshot of how your site looks in various browser versions. A handy tool if you don’t have the time to setup a number of test clients.

  • Ken: There are many excellent themes available. I suggest testing out a few you like and go with the one that looks good and displays properly.

    Chris: I’ve got a test server setup locally too. It saves so much time. I don’t think I could live without it.

  • I’m actually somewhat glad Apple released Safari for Windows. Now I can easily check my designs in it as well without getting a hold of someone who has a Mac to test it for me. I agree with Chris though, Browsershots is a wonderful tool. It can be annoying at times though when it takes a while for it to take all the screenshots.

  • Great advise. I have a friend trying to convert to a new design, and she is having issues in FF. Until she gets those resolved, she stuck using her existing design…something I’ll have to consider when I make my change.

  • Check out netrenderer to preview your site’s design on any version of IE7 in seconds. I found browsershots’ putting people on queue a bad option and prefer not using it. For mac I use browserCamp or Safari on XP.

    btw I’ve just released called myJournal Hypereal on the Sandbox code. It would be great to have your opinions, suggestions and thoughts on it. Thanks in advance.

  • Good advice that nobody seemingly takes. I left a comment on a blog recently and then was asked if I was using IE or Firefox.

  • My previous theme wouldn’t load the sidebar when it was being viewed in IE. I decided to change it to a theme that works in all browsers.

  • Great advice … a lot of bloggrs are enthusiasts .. often big time FF devotees. I’m one myself, I would hate to surf without it. But on many of my sites the ratio is around 75% IE to 20% FF and 5% “all others”..

    If you want visitors (and most of us do), then you have to make your site/blog useable to what the average user is using. This seems so simple, yet a great many bloggers never seem to check.

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