Compare Mobile Website Testing Solutions

The most important principle to understand when testing your website for the iPhone and iPad can be summed up in one well-worn aphorism: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice — but in practice, there is.” And so it is with the mobile web.

Although simulators and emulators and the numerous testing services approximate how your designs will look, you can never fully replicated the quirks of using a real iPhone or iPad over a Wi-Fi or mobile connection, even with the best mobile testing tools on your desktop computer.

Here are five ways you can test your mobile sites:

  • View your site in every version of the iPhone or iPad: In an ideal world, you have a desk full of devices, all connected to the Internet and ready to test every page on your website thoroughly.

  • Use the Safari browser on a computer to view your pages: The next best thing to Safari on the iOS is Safari on the Mac operating system. You can also download the Windows version of Safari to test designs on your computer — a handy way to do preliminary testing as you develop on your computer.

  • Browse your site in online mobile simulators: A few websites offer mobile emulators. These are the simplest but most limited options for testing how websites will appear on mobile devices.

    The difference between a mobile emulator and a mobile simulator is that a simulator is an application that tries to re-create the display of the device in a manner similar to how it would appear on a physical device. In contrast, an emulator is a program built to display web pages just as the physical device would display by executing code in the same, not similar, way.

  • Download and install mobile emulators to test on your local computer: Many device manufacturers, including Apple, offer emulators of their devices, as well as more complete software development kits (SDKs) that can be downloaded and installed on Windows and Macintosh computers.

  • Use more advanced options: It’s difficult to categorize all the testing options in the ever-changing world of mobile web design, so this includes several services into this category of high-end options (including DeviceAnywhere, which lets your remotely control hundreds of mobile devices around the world ).

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