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How To Effectively Test Website Design and Functionality

Test Website Design and FunctionalityA few days ago I put a Christmas-like feed button on my site and today I discovered that it can’t be seen in many browsers other than FF. This fact came as a complete revelation to me. </shame> Honestly, I am having tough time starting my blog and going “social” and I did not even have time to test my blog design in different browsers! But that was a good lesson. Thanks to this shameful overlook, I found a great tool to test a website design (and not only that). By using a FF plug-in called user agent switcher you can quickly:

  • Test your web forms in different browsers;
  • Check your website with the user agent being Googlebot, for example;
  • Avoid browser specific blocks; etc

Download and install this handy plugin here (compatible with Firefox, Mozilla, Seamonkey and Flock). Then go to user agent list (xml file) and import it into your user agent switcher:

user agent switcher

And you can play with the plugin to your heart content.

Many thanks to Tom who discovered this tool for us at SEOMoz. The post is of a great interest to me as it shows how many minds produce knowledge: when no one could guess what was wrong, Tom came up with a simple and genius solution!

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  1. 13 Responses to “How To Effectively Test Website Design and Functionality”

  2. Thank you for showing me this plugin Ann.

    By SEO Rob on Dec 12, 2007

  3. You are welcome, Rob :)

    By Ann Smarty on Dec 12, 2007

  4. Actually, that plugin doesn’t affect the way a page appears in your browser. What it’s designed to do is to send your server different information about which user-agent is requesting a file. You use it to check if the site owner has set things up so that the server will deliver different content to different user-agents (such as googlebot).

    If you want to see how your site looks in different browsers (and yes, it’s very important that you do that), there are browser emulators out there, but the best way I know of is to actually install all the browsers you want to check.

    By qwerty on Dec 14, 2007

  5. Thanks for clearing that up, Qwerty!

    By Ann Smarty on Dec 14, 2007

  6. Great idea for using that, Ann! I would have used it more to see what cloaking and such is showing to SEs, but this is pretty neat.

    An important thing is to click on every link on your site. When I launched my site, there were plenty of bugs to work out and it took a lot of navigating by me before my coder had it all cleaned up.

    By Gab Goldenberg on Dec 14, 2007

  7. I use a firefox add that lets me right click in a window and view the page in IE.

    By Fat Man on Dec 17, 2007

  8. Fat Man, that addon literally views it in IE, this plugin is for spoofing the user agent string that is sent to the server to see how the data that is sent to different browsers differs, such as the data that googlebot receives.

    By Jordan M. on Dec 17, 2007

  9. Thank u Ann !!its very useful :)

    By Ajay on Feb 8, 2008

  10. you can actually go to to test your website design in at least 100 different broswers to heck how your websit looks like

    You can visit my website
    I use this tool to correct several bugs when above website giving some screenshots about my website..

    By Kevin on Sep 4, 2008

  11. thanks. now I can test my web in different browser so quickly.

    By Busby SEO Test on Nov 25, 2008

  12. Thanks a lot for showing us this plugin. It seems really useful and I will definitely try it.

    By Simulation pret on May 14, 2009

  13. Have few sites with same problem, this plugin help me a lot, thank

    By Aleks on Oct 1, 2009

  14. Good article…I will use some of these interesting principles myself…more great info please..

    By manchester united football shirts on Jun 26, 2010

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