Cross Browser Compatibility – What Browsers Should You Check Your Website For?

Not all browsers are created equal. If your web site looks good in Internet Explorer it may not render well in Firefox. You could be losing a lot of visitors to your web site if it doesn’t display correctly to your visitors. They will simply click away to your competitors. You need to check how your web site appears on multiple browsers.

So what should you do to check cross browser compatibility and what browsers should you test for?

Browser statistics

The most popular browsers used these days are: Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera. In Sept 2009 Firefox received the highest monthly usage at 46.6% followed by Internet Explorer 7.

Ways to test your web site for different browsers

If you’re the owner of a web site don’t rely on your web designer to test your site in different browsers, screen resolutions and operating systems. Check it yourself as you may be losing thousands of visitors if it’s not displaying correctly. For web designers, use the methods below:

1. Install multiple browsers on your computer

You can install Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari browsers on the same computer without causing compatibility problems.

2. Online resources

Adobe Browser Lab

Sign up for an adobe account then test your web site. Alternatively if you use Dreamweaver CS4 for designing web sites, you can download extensions for it.

Browser Shots

Check the list of browser names, enter your URL and you’ll receive screen shots for how your web site appears. It generates screenshots for a web page in more than 80 versions of the most common browsers used in Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac. The process takes time and you may have to wait up to an hour to see the screenshots.

Browser Cam

You can sign up for a free trial and get 24 hours of free  usage for the screen capture service or a maximum of 200 screen captures.

IE NetRenderer

This site is a free service that allows you to check how a website is rendered by Internet Explorer 7, 6 or 5.5, as seen from a high speed datacenter located in Germany. You just type in your URL.

3. Firefox Add-on

This add-on lets you load pages in IE with a single right-click, or mark certain sites to *always* load in IE.

Tip

If you validate all your web pages for correct html (xhtml) you’ll avoid most of the problems associated with cross browser compatibility. Most modern browsers will correctly display sites with clean html code.