In an earlier article, I discussed the importance of (X)HTML validity testing to check that your site conforms to industry web standards to better ensure that your website will appear as it should with all browsers, present and future. I also emphasized that just checking your site with different browsers is not enough. However, it still needs to be done.
Whether we are working on one of our websites or a client website, we always tested the finished product with different browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE), Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. We test on different resolution monitors, and we also test on different mobile devices (typically iPhone and iPad).
Why all the extra work and fuss? To ensure that the site is all things to all people, regardless of browser, operating system, and device. To miss one, could cause you to lose surfers and a segment of your targeted demographic. This can be catastrophic in the case of commercial websites. A website HTML and CSS can validate, and look good in your browser, but it can still look awful in more or more other browsers. You won’t know for sure until you test your site using other browsers and devices. This is a critical step in web development and web design.
Sometimes, we cannot fully test. It is easy to test with the major browsers since they are free to download and install. But it is a different story when it comes to devices, resolutions, operating systems, etc. That said, we highly recommend Browsershots. Using Browsershots, you can check your site under a large variety of conditions.
This process may seem like overkill or OCD to some webmasters, but it is an important consideration in the development and maintenance of any website – especially commercial websites. It is not an exercise in futility. Your competition is probably doing it, so don’t be left behind. Make sure your website is as close as possible to being all things to all people.