Not all of your audience use the same kind of device to view your website. And most likely, you also don’t have all kinds of devices your audience possibly use to view your site.
With the fast-paced technology we have today, a wide range of gadgets capable of viewing web content is available to people. They come with different operating systems and more importantly, in different screen sizes. The big question: is your site friendly with most (if not all) of them?
If you are using your desktop or laptop computer in building your site like most people, sure your website might look great on there. Very likely, you might also have an advanced mobile device and you are able to test your site on there also. But did you know there’s a total of 3,219 different screen sizes on different mobile phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and desktop computers?
Alright I just made up that number. 😀 But really now, there’s just a lot of different screen sizes on different devices out there, and for those not physically available to you, here are some online tools you can use for free to test and find out how your website looks on them. It’s only this way that you will find out a lot of things you can still improve on your site’s design.
This is the one I’ve been using like crazy lately. They have available screens for netbooks, laptops, tablets, mobile devices and TV’s. For those that they don’t readily have available, you can also specify custom screen sizes to view your web pages therein.
Viewing of any URL is real-time, you can scroll through the screen and rendering of pages is very fast. You can also rotate the screens, like you can do on mobile phones that has this ability. And you can choose to use their proxy to browse any page you want using a different IP address than your own (if it matters).
The best thing – the tool is free for unlimited use!
The only not-so-good thing I can think of is they don’t emulate different operating systems and browsers. If these factors affect the browsing experience for your site, you will never find it out using this tool.
This tool also lets you test your website with different screen resolutions. It features a list of popular resolutions for desktops, laptops, tablets and advanced mobile phones. You are also able to manually enter custom screen sizes here.
It has this option for you to view a page ‘in browser’ or in full size of the page itself. If ‘in browser’ is chosen, the resolution corresponds to that of the chosen monitor and some space is allocated for the task bar as well as web browser controls and borders. If ‘in browser’ is not ticked, you get the resolution of the web page itself which is useful for testing your website with mobile device screen sizes, since mobile devices commonly render sites in full screen.
This one is also free for unlimited use. But it also doesn’t emulate different operating systems and different kinds of browsers. And the interface kind of looks old. But hey, it does what it needs to do just fine!
This is one of the premium providers of this kind of tools out there. But they also offer a free trial which gives you 30 minutes of live browser testing sessions. You can either use this all straight at once or multiple times each with less than 30 minutes until you use up all of it. You also get 200 minutes of automated testing and 100 screenshots for the trial.
Automated testing is for the more advanced developers, for running Selenium tests in 200+ desktop & mobile browsers with 100% reliability. This is for rapid functional testing in real browsers, something the other tools don’t have.
Even for the live manual tests, emulators of different devices and browsers are used so you can really see how your site will look on actual devices, taking into account the operating system and the browser software, not just the screen size. Pretty neat.
The only downside is the slow rendering of the pages you’re testing because you are using their emulators which are on their server. It’s like remotely connecting to, and operating a desktop or laptop via the internet. If you’ve already tried doing that, I’m sure you have the idea how slow the response can be.
Yeah, that’s the name of their company and their website, they are really serious about this thing. They have real consumer OS’s used for testing – Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Mac OSX, iOS – not just browsers running on top of Windows 2003 Server or Windows 2008 Server or emulators like the others’. They boast of over 130 browsers across 25 different operating systems and mobile devices.
Of course, a group of nerds this crazy about browser compatibility testing wouldn’t just offer everything for free. They have paid plans but they also offer a 7-day free trial or a total of 60 minutes of testing session, whichever comes first.
These guys got everything you need – automated testing, live interactive, local testing, screenshots of pages behind logins, debugging tools, etc. The only downside might be the price for their plans. But if budget is not an issue, and you’re doing these tests as a part of your business or work, I’d recommend getting a plan with them.
They offer live interactive cross-browsing testing. Their focus is not mainly on screen resolutions but on the different browsers and different versions of each one of them. They have all the mainstream browsers available – Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.
These browsers are run on their servers and the live view is delivered via your browser so there’s also no need to install anything on your computer here.
The downside with them is the limited screen sizes available and the free trial lets you run tests on 5-minute sessions only. So you better be fast.
From their name, you get the idea that this tool will take snap shots of your pages. So there’s no live and interactive browser testing here. But they have more kinds of browsers available here – even ones that are not so popular and with different versions.
This is free to use with no time limits but the choices of available screen sizes are very limited.
7. Sauce Labs
They offer pretty much all the hardcore features available on Browserstack above. But for the free accounts, they only offer the manual or live interactive testing for up to 30 minutes. If you will be testing using only specific operating systems all throughout, you have a total of 100 minutes for Win/Linux/Android and 40 minutes for Mac/iOS.
A total of 167 devices/OS/browser combinations are available to everyone but automated testing on all of them is only available to paid accounts. They have debugging tools, screenshots, local and firewalled testing, and live screen sharing for real-time collaborative debugging if that’s what you’ll be doing.
But they only offer a limited number of browsers to free users, only 5 to be exact. So I guess you’d only want to use this tool if you don’t want to pay for this kind of product and when you’ve already ran out of free trials from the ones above.
If you found some more of this kind of tools which are worth mentioning and spending time on, please also share them in the comments below. Hope you found this list useful folks… Spread the love!