In today's increasingly-connected world, more and more people are using their smartphones or tablets as a primary way of interacting with the world. In fact, some estimates say that over 50% of web traffic comes from a mobile device, versus a desktop browser. This means that if you're serious about making your web presence maximally accessible and available, you need to be conscious of how mobile users will see and interact with your site. Is it functional? Is it visually appealing? Is it even readable?
In the desktop world, the testing process is pretty straightforward: load up your site (ideally, in a few different versions of different browsers) and take a look around. Then, set up some automated tests to ensure everything stays up to speed. Because the desktop world is so homogenous, this basic level of testing is usually enough to cover your bases. But when we look at mobile testing, things get more complicated. There are two major operating systems, both of which have multiple major versions (and even more minor versions) out in the wild – and there are countless combinations of screen size, resolution, etc., that can affect how your site appears and functions. Trying to test all of these yourself can quickly get out of hand.
Fortunately, this is not an insurmountable problem – and a number of testing frameworks exist to help address these questions. For example, if you've invested in Selenium or similar automated tests, they can be extended to run on Android or iOS devices without too much extra overhead. This will ensure your site functions as expected. Or, if you're worried about particular aesthetics, there are a number of sites that can step through your site and provide a collection of screen shots from numerous different devices. This lets you browse through an overview of various images and identify potential issues for further review.
It cannot be stressed enough that mobile accessibility is no longer optional, or “a nice bonus” – it's vital. Taking a bit of time to invest in a little bit of research can have great yield, and our teams at Smart Software can help you find the best ways to get those results.
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