Browser and device testing
Web development should support all browsers and devices. Availability and accessibility of core content and functionality are key priorities.
Support does not mean that everybody gets the same thing.
A fundamental tenet of the web is that content can be viewed and used regardless of device or user agent. This principle underlies the best practice approach known as progressive enhancement.
Progressive enhancement prioritises core content and functionality, making sure they are available in all browsers. Enhancements are then added to the page if the browser supports them.
It is relatively straightforward to ensure that a very basic yet usable and functional experience is provided in all browsers and devices. For instance, a web team may deem it quite reasonable to give Internet Explorer 6 or browsers on older mobile devices a simple, plain-HTML, single-column layout with minimal functionality, while preserving the more enhanced functionality and visual experience for more recent and capable browsers.
Test support based on what your visitors use
Each organisation should decide which browsers and devices it tests with, and what support means in each case. The decision should be an informed one, based on the site’s analytics, acknowledging the site’s audience as well as the technologies available to and used by its visitors.
For example, depending on the number of visitors to your site, and the distribution of browsers and devices they use, it may be reasonable to test in any browser or device used by more than 1% of your site’s visitors. For a site with 100,000 visitors a month, this means testing in any browser or device used by 1000 or more visitors.
But be flexible so that you can react to rapid changes in the make-up of your site’s user base and the technologies they are using.