You (and/or your web designer) work hard to make your website as appealing as possible and showcase your art beautifully. What does it look like to people viewing it?
You might be surprised. What with different browsers (both mobile and desktop versions) and all the different operating systems now in use (Macs, PC's, smart phones, tablets, etc.) each combination of browser and operating system will interpret the code behind your website a little differently. Hopefully your website will look like you designed it in all browsers, but sometimes it gets distorted.
Years ago most people used a Microsoft browser, and a few used Apple's Safari, so it was easier to test a website to see how it looked. Now (for the A.C.T. website and those of the sites we design) we're seeing many different browsers being used and different operating systems too.
Below is an image that shows the various browsers used to view the A.C.T. website over the last month. You can see that there are 21 unique browsers that were used to view the website. 21!!!
Multiply the number of unique browsers by all the different operating systems and it gets, uh, complicated.
Here is an image of the 19 different operating systems used to view the A.C.T. website over the last month. Apple's OSX leads the pack, followed by Microsoft's Windows, the Android operating system, and the iPhone. Even Sony's Playstation is used.
I haven't worked it out mathematically, but I suspect there are hundreds or thousands of possible operating system/browser combinations.
You can't possibly test or guarantee that your website will look good in all possible combinations, but there are some things you can do to give yourself an edge:
- On your own computer, make sure you have several browsers available in addition to your favorite. They're free, you can download them from the company's website.
- If you have more than one computer, get the browsers onto all of them and take a look at your website.
- View your website on your smart phone, anyone else's smart phone who will let you, and your other mobile devices like iPads and tablets.
- Make a note of any problems you see to discuss with your webmaster. Be sure to note what type of computer and browser you are using, and the version of the browser (in the main menu for the browser, look for "About [name of browser])."
- As an alternative to downloading a bunch of browsers, you can use one of the many websites dedicated to showing you what your site will look like in a plethora of browsers. They are called browser testing sites, one is BrowserStack - a paid service that will give you a free account for a limited time. Browser Shots is another, and it's free (but probably slower).
When we design or manage websites, we check them in various browsers on our office computers, both PC and Mac, and via a browser testing service. It's not possible to be 100% perfect, but if something looks askew in a recent version of a major browser, we can take steps to remedy the problem.
Don't forget: We support artists with advice on DIY, website udpdates, and new websites plus social media setup/fine-tuning, database setup, artist inventory setup, email newsletter setup/templates, and just about everything you need in your art business.
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