Site Testing and MaintenanceBrowsers are notoriously inconsistent about how they display even the simplest HTML documents. Regular testing and maintenance are necessary to ensure that your users can see what you intended.
Initial TestingTo ensure the quality of your pages, test your design and each new page:
- Using at least Internet Explorer and
Netscape. You can count on the fact that not all users will have
the same browser.
- If possible, using at least two versions of
each browser. Not all users have the most recent version installed,
and there are major changes from one release to the next.
- With different browser window widths. Make sure your
pages are readable with the window set to 600 and 800 pixels wide, as
well as maximized. As a rule of thumb, no
horizontal scrolling should be necessary if the window is 800 pixels
wide, and all key page elements should be visible even if the window
is only 400 pixels high.
Hint: To test Web pages at different window sizes and screen resolutions, download BrowserSizer free-of-charge.
- With images disabled. This will allow you to verify that you
have provided appropriate
Hint: In IE, use Tools-> Internet Options-> Advanced-> Multimedia to disable images. In Netscape, use Edit-> Preferences-> Privacy & Security
- Using a dialup connection. Check how long it takes your pages to download, particularly those that are graphics-intensive. Remember that users bail out of sites that are slow to download.
Ongoing MaintenanceSince Web pages tend to change over time, it is also important to perform regular maintenance activities. At least once a month, you should verify that all links are still active. Most Web servers provide utilities for doing this; alternatively, you can download a separate link-checking program. Repair all broken links immediately, as users tend to leave websites once a couple of links have failed.
Whenever you modify a webpage, double check that its
links are working properly. Manually check each link appearing on
the page to ensure that it leads to the proper location. In addition,
test at least one link in to this webpage from elsewhere on the site
to ensure that the filename has been spelled correctly and that the
file permissions allow users to access it.