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It is important to ensure that your Web pages are readable in more than one browser. Although you may prefer one browser, another person may view your web page in a completely different browsers.

Any site you create should be available to these individuals as well. Below are some pitfalls and guidelines for cross-browser testing.

Definition

A browser is the software used to view Web pages. The common ones include:

  • Google Chrome for Windows/Mac/Linux
  • Firefox for Windows/Mac/Linux
  • Internet Explorer (I.E.) for Windows
  • Safari for Mac/Windows

Because Google Chrome and Firedox are available for multiple platforms, these are recommended as a default testing browser. Sites that work on Chrome of Firefox for Windows will usually work as well on a Macintosh and vice-versa.

How to Test

  1. Post your Web page. Test on multiple browsers on your home computer.
    Note: Consider installing Google Chrome and Firefox on your computer to add more browsers.
  2. Go to a Windows CLC Student Computing lab or other public lab and view your Website on all available browsers including Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Firefox.
    Note: Viewing sites on a computer you don’t own can expose some coding issues.
  3. Go to a Mac CLC Student Computing lab or other public Mac lab and view your site on all available browsers including Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox.
  4. If possible view your Web site on a tablet (e.g. iPad) and a smart phone (e.g. iPhone or Droid).

Browser Pitfalls

Some pages may be designed with formatting or programming features that work in just one browser, but not in any other browser. Some common technologies that may cause cross-browser glitches include:

  1. Interactive Content (e.g. Video/Flash) - Browsers may treat pages with video, linked files or interactive content very differently. Some may even block some content by default.
  2. Exotic fonts – these may differ or be missing on either Mac and Windows.
  3. Mac vs Windows color – Colors may appear differently on different platforms or different monitors
  4. Cascading Style Sheets – some styles may not display identically on all browsers
  5. Javascript or other programming language – you should aim for one browser per platform (Windows or Mac).