When a client says “I want my site to look good on mobile devices”, it’s a lot harder to test these days than it used to be. It used to be that Windows Mobile IE and Opera were the only browsers you really had to care about. These days there’s the iPhone, Blackberry, the old IE, the new IE, Android, Opera, and who knows what else?

My dilemma is thus: how do I manage to test my sites in all of them? There are sites that purport to have emulators, but they’re never really up to snuff. It’s not beyond reason that I could get the hardware for each of these. As far as I know, I could get phone models with wifi to represent each of those browsers, without having to get cell plans. That’s quite the layout for testing though, especially when they’ll be obsolete in a year.

In the process of writing this it occured to me that a peroidic web developer’s meetup might fit the bill. If we got enough developers, we could probably get a sample of each of those browsers, and pass them around, testing. I’m not just talking about looking at it, and see if it works, but rather spending 30-60 minutes with an iPhone or Droid checking, tweaking, checking, tweaking etc.

Anyone want to loan me their phone?

4 thoughts on “Smart Phone Testing

  1. I would argue that all the website shouldn’t be available on the mobile device. Most clients need just a few things (apps, or whatever) to show up. I’d make a completely new site with limited functionality and provide only what is needed…Maybe a map/directions and contact info, etc…

    Somewhere in the site it should be mentioned too that there is much more content available on their main site which can be viewed from a non-mobile site.

  2. I’ve got a Windows Mobile v6.1 phone with Opera and IE, and can put on a Webkit browser I used with my previous physical instance of this phone. Can’t leave it with you, though I could use it as bait to get you to come by this Saturday. 😛

    How are those other websites not “up to snuff”? It sounds like there’s a market that could be expanded into.

  3. The iPhone “emulator” is actually just desktop safari running in a frame. At first blush it looks like it’s actually working, but if you hold up an iPhone, you can see it’s not the same.

    The Opera emulator is pretty good, since it’s made by Opera. The mobile IE browsers don’t really have a desktop equivalent, similar to Safari.


  4. I remember reading a while ago (forget the reference) how webkit/mobile safari will cover a large % of the market. Iphones use it, Droid uses it, and blackberries are moving towards it. Obviously there will be some differences in screen size & UI input details.

    A web dev meetup would be fun. Feel free to use to coordinate if you want.

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