Building a Website? Consider this…Tuesday, February 9, 2010 11:21
Unless you’ve spent lots of time testing websites you might not know the basic things that can go wrong on your site. Usually these issues are easily preventable you just have to know about them. During your next website build consider these things,
- Active links during an overlay
- Double clicking buttons
- Cross browser testing
- Screen resolutions
Active links during an overlay
If you have any pop ups or overlays on your site consider locking out all of the other links on the page while the overlay is up. This is a good way of presenting your site in a clean and coherent fashion. If you present the person surfing your site with an overlay then there must be a reason for that, preventing them from clicking other links will ensure they pay attention to the message the overlay is presenting.
Double clicking buttons
This is a simple but important thing to think about. You’ll want to ensure that any button on your site is only reacting to the first time it’s clicked. I’ve seen buttons that can be continuously clicked and each time they’re clicked it restarts the buttons function. An example being a button meant to transition you to another page being clicked over and over causing the page never to transition because each time it’s clicked it starts the transition from the beginning. Another possible problem with the double click scenario is the first click working as expected but the second click actually hitting the next page. If the page transition happens fast enough then the second click will actually hit the next page before you see it and end up skipping past that page. It can happen so fast that the person surfing your site won’t even know they’ve missed anything. This is a frequent issue when “Continue” buttons are set up in the same place on each page.
Cross browser testing
So your site works in Firefox, great! That doesn’t mean it will work in another browser. IE 6 still has a large following and is notorious for having browser specific bugs. Whenever possible test your site across a few different browsers and even a different operating system. There’s a great free resource on the web that allows you to boot up a virtual machine with virtual browsers on them. You’ll be able to switch operating systems and browser versions with the click of a button; on the comfort of your computer. From my experience a Flash website is far less likely to experience issues across browsers than an HTML site. If you’re developing an HTML site then I highly recommend the cross browser test.
Another important thing to remember is to test your site with different Screen resolutions. Make sure if you lower or raise the screen resolution that your site doesn’t all of sudden explode, leaving you with too much white space or crunching all of your images and copy together. The most common single screen resolution is currently 1024×768 however the majority of users are running higher resolutions. Around 30% of users are running 1024×768 and about 60% of users are running a variety of resolutions higher than 1024×768. I’d suggest supporting 1024×768 as your minimum setting and try to have your site looking good all the way up to 1680×1050.