How can you figure out if there is a problem? Hopefully it isn’t from a call from a client complaining about how the application you wrote from them doesn’t work or look right in their browser. Or worse yet, the call you didn’t get from a visitor to the site that simply left because the site didn’t work. How can these issues be identified?

In the last article we explored creating test plan starting with identifying what browsers your clients or visitors actually use. If you are creating a new site then your first job is to make sure the template looks good on all target browsers. You could open the template site up in all target browsers or use a tool that makes this job easier. The tools that I’ve found useful are Litmus, browsershots.org & Gomez’s Reality View FX. Results from browsershots.org and the setup screens for both systems are shown in the gallery at the end of this article.

The important thing is to test early and test often. This will enable you to find issues early on and make sure they are fixed and not find their way into every section of the final application. Here is an excerpt from my interview with Imad Mouline, CTO of Gomez.

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If you are maintaining an existing site, the procedure is much the same. You can use these same tools to test your site on a regular basis. You’ll also want to test common critical paths through the site to make sure key features like making a purchase are possible in the site. This is a feature that Gomez’s service will automate, but can also be achieved by browswershots.org and others manually. The important thing is that you run & monitor these tests on regular basis and update them based on new site features and current browser usage statistics & trends. In doing so you can stay one step ahead of the sites visitors and make sure that everyone gets the best possible experience on their particular browser where ultimately the application comes to life.