Designing a website is only one part of the entire web design development process. Then we have to consider a lot of other factors, such as responsive programming (which refers to the ability of a website to be viewed from different devices), security threats, and last, but not least, cross-browser functionality.
A professional web design company will always plan ahead and make sure the website performs perfectly under any conditions. Because users around the globe use various browsers to navigate online, cross-browser functionality becomes crucial.
The most commonly used browsers today are Internet Explorer (versions 7 and 8 mostly), Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari. Of course, there are many, many others, but in general, these are the main browsers you have to take into account when building your website.
In order to ensure the functionality of a website on various browsers, professional web design companies run multiple tests, using various software, to determine what potential problems might be and to get a better understanding of what is required to fix them. Polishing that HTML or PHP code is the most important step in ensuring bugs don’t arise on various platforms.
From a programmer point of view, the process can be time-consuming, and involve repeated testing. There are, of course, professional cross-browser testing programs that can be used to ease the programming and bug-tracking processes, but these are usually not free, and require an investment from the web designer. Still, you should make sure your web developer has the tools necessary to ensure the stability of your website on any browser. Some of the best tools for this are BrowserShots, IE tester, Adobe Browser Lab, Cloud Testing, Browsera, and many more. Make sure the company you service to build your website has at least some of these, and knows how to properly use them. Also, keep a close eye on the bug-tracking and testing processes, and make sure bugs that are found are actually fixed.
From a user perspective, the cross-browser compatibility issue can be viewed differently. If you design a website that works perfectly on one browser, but fails or is buggy on others, you will only be catering to a certain percentage of your potential client-base. They want to see a functioning website regardless of what browser they use (as the browser choice most often comes down to a matter of taste and preference). If you fail to provide stability for everyone, you’re only partially exploiting the potential of your website.
This is why you should seriously invest into a web design firm that has the capabilities to ensure cross-browser and cross-device functionality and compatibility, instead of hiring a web designer that fails to properly address these issues. Testing might prolong the duration of the web design and development process, but it’s an investment well worth making.