Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Other than touch events, is there any appreciable difference between testing a responsive design by resizing a desktop browser and testing it on a mobile device? There are a plethora of mobile devices that could be potentially tested and I'm trying to weigh cost vs. benefit. How do others go about testing for mobile?

Edit: To be clear, I'm talking about a mobile website or web app, not a native mobile app. Also, is there a list or a website has mobile browser differences? The best I could find Quirksmode, which actually has quite a lot of good info on it, though some of it is older:

share|improve this question
2  
I know of at least one issue on iOS, the "iOS orientation change zoom bug" that doesn't show up on non iOS devices. There may be other issues unique to other platforms like Android. In any case you really can't be sure without testing on a range of device families or use something like browserstack.com. At this point I'm just keeping my layouts fairly simple and rugged and hoping. –  obelia Jan 29 '13 at 0:39
2  
I also hit a bug with Twitter bootstrap dropdown links not working on mobile but working on desktop. –  icc97 Jan 29 '13 at 6:32
    
I found the bug too. It happen because some characteristics of a browser in PC has are not exist in a mobile browser. For example, users cannot hover links in browsers in mobile devices. –  Lookchin Jan 29 '13 at 17:20
    
The browser-resizing trick works to solve 90% of problems, as it's more than most sites do even now. If I were only doing stuff for myself I might stop there... –  Rachel Keslensky Jan 29 '13 at 21:13
add comment

3 Answers

From my experience, I will test by resizing a desktop browsers to screen out some bugs first, and then test on my mobile devices, such as an iPad and iPhone, because some bugs happen only in mobile devices as mentioned above. I focus on popular devise first. It is impossible to test on all devises, because there are a lot of versions and resolution of devices. Thus, I did an open beta to test with limited number of users to get some defects from users' devises. Many native applications were tested by these steps below, so I used these techniques to test mobile websites. The popular tool to tes beta test for mobile applications is https://testflightapp.com/ and http://try.crashlytics.com/.

My suggestion steps

  1. Test by resizing desktop browsers
  2. Test in browsers in popular devises which you have
  3. Test by an open beta with limited numbers of users' to get users' feedback and bugs reports (You should inform users that they help you to test your products and may encounter some bugs)
  4. Deploy and get some users' feedbacks

It is impossible to test all devices, because of time and money constraints.

Thank icc97 for pointing out some additional information.

share|improve this answer
    
Do you know a similar test suite for android? –  FrankL Jan 29 '13 at 8:06
    
No, I have not seen a test suit for Android. I think Android has a problem of fragmentation, it may have some suit for it. –  Lookchin Jan 29 '13 at 15:07
    
I googled and found thebetafamily.com. –  Lookchin Jan 29 '13 at 17:24
add comment

I would say there is nothing better than testing on a device. In terms of layout and appearance a site can sometimes appear different on older browsers and older OS's.

I would use this for that though:

http://www.browserstack.com/

However, if it's an experience your want to test there's nothing better than testing on a device as hardware capabilities can sometimes make or break a particular design especially in the Android market

share|improve this answer
add comment

Test for mobile on mobile. Any kind of prototype will do, even if it's just images in your photo gallery, or a full blown coded product, or pieces of paper glued to a brick of wood.

Just start soon and keep testing as it gets more and more polished. Basic stuff.

share|improve this answer
1  
Why is this better than just resizing the browser? –  JonW Jan 29 '13 at 21:22
    
Resizing and doing what? Asking people to use the mouse to navigate the thing on a narrow desktop website? Am I missing something? –  Alex Debkaliuk Jan 29 '13 at 21:26
    
As the question states: "other than touch events, is there any appreciable difference between testing a responsive design by resizing a desktop browser and testing it on a mobile device?" –  JonW Jan 29 '13 at 21:28
    
Got carried away, sorry. :) –  Alex Debkaliuk Jan 29 '13 at 21:40
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.