Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category

What load is your website prepared to handle? Find out with LoadImpact

When websites are designed, the basic steps involved are designing the concept, the interface, procuring the web space, and having basic knowledge of a website creation language, right? Well, partially. A lot of other crucial aspects need to be evaluated before it can be launched, like checking its performance and look on different browsers for example. If your website has everything a sleek website should have but fails to perform under extreme pressure, like maybe a thousand hits a second, you could be in trouble. You see, users don’t like to wait around for webpages to load. If there’s any other website offering the same information you have and yours is taking too much time to open up, a user will switch.

If you don’t want to be at the wrong end of such a scenario, find out how much load your website can handle at one time with LoadImpact.

LoadImpact – Load & Performance Testing Anytime, Anywhere

Load Impact is an online performance testing service that lets you test your website, web-app, mobile app or API over the Internet. It’s an on-demand service, where you can start testing instantly and there are no licenses, fees, or software to install. It ensures that your website’s bounce rate doesn’t increase, your rank in search engines doesn’t degrade, and your conversion rates don’t reduce by letting you know how quickly your webpages load so that you can take adequate optimization measures if they’re too slow.

One of the most attractive features of this service is that it is 100% cloud based. That means you don’t need to download, install, or configure anything. It runs on cloud servers over the Internet so you always have access to your test scenarios and test results. Thus you have all the flexibility in the world and you end up saving a lot of time.

Here’s an overview of the service’s features:

  • Simulated traffic suited to real-time scenarios, no hidden caching or favorable behavior
  • Load is generated from up to 10 different locations simultaneously, and more locations can be added on request
  • Manual as well as automated scripting options with multilingual support
  • Possible to record an HTTP session using Load Impact’s proxy recorder or Chrome Extension
  • Provision to report performance issues within minutes
  • Monitoring backend also possible while testing using New Relic and/or Load Impact server agents
  • Users can collect metrics such as CPU usage, disk I/O, memory usage, network I/O, and APDEX
  • Test scheduling and automation support
  • Enables users to upload CSV files containing the data they wish to use – such as login credentials, product IDs, URLs, etc. – and associate it with the desired script
  • Graph plotting included depicting performance trends over time
  • Large scale load tests up to 1.2 million concurrent users
  • Supports any HTTP-based application or service (e.g. Flash, AJAX, SOAP/XML apps, etc)
  • Possibility to add extra IPs

With over 1,400,000 tests conducted successfully, Load Impact is the most popular load testing service over the Internet.

This is how it works

To try Load Impact first hand, just visit the tool’s homepage and enter your website’s URL in the box given for it. Then click on “Run free test”. After a couple of seconds you’ll be directed to a page where you’ll be able to see real-time results being updated on various graphs. The results will be shown for 25 simulated users across the world and the test will run for approximately 5 minutes. These values are for a trail account. To simulate more users and run the test for longer duration you’ll need to register.

There isn’t much you can do while the tests are running, so we waited. About halfway through the test, a pop-up appeared prompting us to check the URL tab and look for any failures or unexpected behavior. It also said that if we did find any failures we should register and run the tests again with more users, say 100, and probably use Load Impact’s Chrome extension. As it was clear that that was a selling strategy, we closed the pop-up and let the tests complete.

Once finished, in addition to the test scenario description we could see the places the users were simulated from, a graphical representation comparing the load time for each added user, and a results pane that had 4 tabs with several sub-sections:

  • Metrics – bandwidth, requests per second, accumulated load time, content type load time, and TCP connections active (to access any of these we’d have to register for a free account)
  • URLs – a list of all URLs of your web-pages that were tested, their response statuses, how much time each took to load in seconds, etc
  • Pages – tested pages from your website
  • Logs

Additionally, towards the right hand side there were 4 options to help us out with different tasks:

  • Knowledge Base (Help Center)
  • Load Script API (Lua Modules)
  • System Status
  • Questions section

Since we’d had a pretty decent idea about how the tool worked, we decided to not create any free account for the time being. However, we did later find out that signing up required no credit card details, was easy, and would give us the opportunity to test our website load with 100 virtual users, 2500 requests per second, and 5 tests per month. Not bad at all.

Evaluating Load Impact

The pros of the tool included:

  • A great platform to test any website’s load handling capacity
  • Cloud based, simulated users from across the globe
  • Integration support with multiple tools
  • Testing websites, web-apps, APIs and mobile apps possible

Whereas the downsides included:

  • Slight learning curve to understand the jargons used
  • Steep price slabs if someone needed to sign up
  • What load can your website handle? Find out with @loadimpact loadimpact.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Final Word

Overall, Load Impact does prove to be a good performance testing platform, but not for novice users. There are a lot of people out there with blogs or personal websites, and not all of them understand the terms and technicalities of such tests. For them, the tool could be a waste of time. But for the ones that do realize its worth, it could be just what they need.

WebPageTest – making the web faster

The mind of the average computer user boggles – why do big players like Google, AOL and the like develop cool programs and applications for free? What benefit do they get by offering niche services to users for absolutely no cost? Surely a lot of money and manpower must go into developing, testing and then delivering such tools. Why then, do they not charge a single penny for such brilliant inventions?

The answer to those questions is simple – for the greater good! In this world of competition, professional rivalries, and survival-of-the-fittest games, there are organizations that take pride in providing helpful utilities to make the Web a better place, be it in terms of accessibility, user-friendliness or speed.

This post is dedicated to one such free online tool which ensures that website loading speed and performance are the least of your botherations. Meet WebPageTest.org.

webpagetest

Making the web faster, one site at a time

WebPageTest is an open source project that was originally developed by AOL for their internal use, but realizing its potential, they open sourced it under a BSD license in 2008. Currently supported by Google, the platform is under active development on GitHub. That means its builds are periodically packaged and made available for download to allow users to run their own versions of the tool (although the online version of the tool suits most purposes).

WebPageTest allows website owners to run free speed tests to check the load time of their web pages. It lets them view their site’s performance through 6 different performance grades and also displays a checklist of suggested changes for increasing the site’s speed. And if you’re thinking what’s so special about free speed tests, here’s the real USP of the tool – it lets you run the tests from multiple locations around the globe using real browsers (different IE and Chrome versions) and at real consumer connection speeds. What’s more, you can customize the tests in any way you want including simple tests, advanced tests with multi-step transactions, video capture, content blocking and much more. The results of the tests conducted by the tool provide rich diagnostic information including resource loading waterfall charts, page speed optimization checks and much more.

And if you thought speed was its one and only forte, you’re just half correct. WebPageTest also lets you conduct Visual Comparison tests as well as run ICMP Traceroute from any of the test agents.

Enough with the vocal appreciation, let’s try the tool hands on!

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This is how the tool works

To say that the tool has a learning curve involved won’t be entirely true, but it won’t be entirely false either. The only thing you need to have is knowledge about web performance community terminology and you’re good to go. But then, as a website owner you’d be a pro at that already, won’t you? Very well, let’s get straight to business.

Visit www.webpagetest.org and you’ll see what you want right in the middle of the screen. There’s no-nonsense involved which is good. Just enter the URL of the website you wish to test, pick a test location (this will be a combination of a physical location on the map plus some information of the target environment), select which browser you wish to run the test on, and hit the big yellow button that says “Start Test”. You can also customize the test configuration through an “Advanced Settings” drop-down before starting.

While the above describes how you can conduct an “Analytical Review” of your website, click on the “Visual Comparison” tab to compare your website with established industry pages such as Google, AOL, Bing, CNN, LinkedIn, etc or with any other specific URLs. By default the results of these tests are public. If you wish to make them private, you’ll need to make changes to test settings on the main test page.

WebPageTest also lets you run an ICMP Traceroute test from any of its test agents (partners). To run this test you need to supply your website’s host name or IP address, pick the test agent you wish to use, pick a desired browser and specify how many tests (up to 9) you wish to conduct.

With features as impressive as that, it’d be hard not to give the tool a try.

  • Analyze your website speed in details from multiple locations with webpagetest.org/ via @supermonitoring

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Super Monitoring partners with WebPageTest.org

For consistency purposes, the tool’s online version is available at www.webpagetest.org and a number of prestigious companies from around the globe provide testing infrastructure to it. Since the tool benefits not just website owners, but individuals and organizations interested in the web performance community, quite a few big names have joined hands with WebPageTest to offer testing locations to it and contribute their bit to the betterment of the Web.

One of the latest partners to join WebPageTest in May of 2016 is Super Monitoring. The cool website uptime monitoring service recently collaborated with WebPageTest to provide the most eastern testing location in Europe (in Poland to be precise). Ain’t that cool?

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Final Words

Don’t let lousy loading times cause your website loss of traffic. Keep tabs on it with WebPageTest and give your site’s performance a real boost.

Flag virus & malware threats online through VirusTotal

Every computer user, novice or expert, is familiar with the term “virus”. Though many of us might not know the technicalities behind viruses, we do realize that a virus is some kind of a computer program that’s aimed at destroying our data or causing serious harm to our machines. It enters our computers through an infected download or when we visit a malicious website and to get rid of it or to protect ourselves from viruses, we must have a good antivirus program installed on our system.

All the above information is good, but it’s very basic. With innovation and the progress of technology, hackers and virus experts around the world have devised programs so sophisticated that even some of the best antivirus programs cannot detect the Trojans, Worms, or Viruses they build. As such we must exercise monitoring and caution to make sure our computers and data are safe from going into the wrong hands. To do this, every user must:

  • Have an all-round virus protection installed on our system. This should ideally include anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, anti-phishing and other similar protection.
  • Take care NOT to download ANYTHING (not even a harmless looking .jpeg image) from a website our anti-virus program doesn’t trust.
  • Rope in the services of “VirusTotal” – the online virus detector genie that needs no download or installation to flag suspicious content over the internet.

virustotal

In this review we’ll be shedding light on VirusTotal – the online service to identify malicious programs – and try to find out what makes it indispensable.

VirusTotal – an Introduction

VirusTotal is a free online tool to analyze files and URLs for their safety from viruses, worms, trojans and other kinds of malicious content. This Google subsidiary flags suspicious material detected by antivirus engines and website scanners and lets users know that they’re in potential danger. By uploading files such as Windows executables, Android APIs, zipped folders, HTML / Excel files etc. users can be sure that the files they’re about to use are free of data threats. In principle, it is just a free unbiased service that collects the output of various antivirus engines, website scanners, analysis tools and user contributions to deduce how harmful a file or URL is. In addition to this service, VirusTotal can also be used to identify false positives, i.e, sources that may not be malicious but are incorrectly flagged by one or more scanners.

The best part about this tool is that unlike installed anti-virus programs, you don’t need to update it as per the latest virus definitions. Malware signatures are periodically updated every 15 minutes to ensure that the tool always works with the latest signature set.

How it works

This is the easiest part. Just open the tool’s website and upload a file (up to 128MB in size), enter a URL, or Search for a term that you think might be malicious. Click on the ‘Scan It!’ / ‘Search It!’ button and viola, you’ll be redirected to the results page. On the results page, you’ll be able to view:

  • Detailed analysis of the file / URL you entered including the name of the file / URL scanner used & Result obtained
  • Additional information about the file / URL including:
    • Website category / File identification
    • Scanning Engine Details / VirusTotal metadata
  • Comments on the URL / file given by VirusTotal community members
  • Up-votes or Down-votes given to the file / URL by community members

You can also choose to give your vote to the searched term / file / or URL if you have evidence about its characteristics. For this you’ll need an account with VirusTotal. Signing-up is free and easy.

Apart from this operation, you can choose to visit VirusTotal community to check out the users who contribute their valuable opinion from time to time. You can also become a member of the community by clicking on “Join our community” and filling a simple form.

You may also wish to view the statistics of files analyzed by VirusTotal by click on “Statistics” in the main menu. Here, you’ll be able to see which country has used the tool maximum, how many files have been analyzed on a day-to-day basis and what file types are most analyzed.

virustotal virustotal1

Advantages VS Disadvantages

Some of the benefits VirusTotal offers are:

  • Allows users to search for reports given an MD5, SHA1, SHA256 or URL
  • In addition to uploading files, users can also send files to VirusTotal through email and receive the results (as plain text or XML) in their inbox.
  • It not only detects threats in a submitted file, but also displays the exact detection label returned by each engine.
  • A strong pseudo-social network of developers and users strengthen the application to come up with useful reviews for a file / URL if security products (antivirus programs) give false positives / false negatives.
  • The public API of the tool lets you embed its functionality into your application (with the restriction of at most 4 requests / minute) through simple scripts.
  • You can also choose to use the tool as a browser extension
  • Available in desktop / mobile flavors

Though the shortcomings of the tool are specified on their website, they can’t really be regarded as disadvantages but informative.

  • The tool’s antivirus engines are command-line, so depending on the product, they won’t behave the same as the desktop version
  • The results of VirusTotal cannot and shouldn’t be compared with desktop-oriented solutions since both work on different parameters. In other words, you can’t use VirusTotal for antivirus testing.
  • All the tool really offers, is a second opinion regarding the maliciousness of files / URLs
  • Find out how dangerous a file or URL is with virustotal.com/ @virustotal via @supermonitoring

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Final Words

A word of caution – don’t think you can do without an installed antivirus program on your machine if you have VirusTotal. The utility scans individual files / URLs on user demand. It cannot be deemed fit to offer permanent protection to user systems. Once you’re clear on that front, VirusTotal is probably one of the coolest and most useful services for a very wide spectrum of users worldwide.

Build better websites through remote user testing with UsabilityHub

Gone are the days when all that was needed to create an application was a little imagination, purpose and work. Today, the world has become more user-centric with more organizations and professionals realizing that if they want to build a successful business, they need to do it right; they need to keep user preferences in mind. It’s all about UX (user experience) these days. Be it a browser based app, a mobile app or a simple website for a product / service, extensive focus is laid on the intricacies of user expectations and perception. For any organization, hitting the bull’s eye means nailing customer satisfaction. That’s the reason organizations employ dedicated UX experts to create efficient and eye-catchy designs that stick in the customers’ minds.

But creating hard-hitting designs is just one aspect of the whole task. Once created and developed, such designs need to be evaluated for their effectiveness before getting them on the floor. And that is where design test suites find their place. In the spotlight today, a brilliant online suite of tests to assess designs – UsabilityHub.

usabilityhub

UsabilityHub – Make confident design decisions

Designing is an area of product development that witnesses minor to major debates. Several viewpoints and suggestions come at loggerheads and finally one perfect (or seemingly so) design is finalized. But do teams and organizations ponder over the fact that the design that so appeals to them might not seem very interesting to a naïve user who doesn’t know so much about their product? To get over such and other complicated issues, test your designs with real data and simulated user responses to know how much water your designs hold. Enter UsabilityHub.

The UsablityHub suite of tests provides remote user testing for your websites or apps to help settle design debates with data. A variety of tricky yet simple experiments help you assess exactly what you want to know about your website’s impact on users. And the good part is, you can choose which users give you that feedback through a “recruit your own testers” link. The tests are in the form of surveys and differ with the kind of plan you subscribe for (free or pro). You can make a test for free and receive up to 20 responses from your own recruits with a free subscription. A Pro subscription entitles you to unlimited user responses.

UsabilityHub is a uniquely flexible tool that offers you the freedom to use it just the way you want to. You can receive responses from random or selected users that you pick by way of sharing the test links or you can order responses from UsabilityHub. “Ordering responses” means you pay a little to have UsabilityHub members (designers, UX experts, developers, students, marketers etc.) complete the tests. On average, you can expect to receive 50 responses within 20 – 30 hours.
There’s a lot more to this great suite of online tests so let’s take everything up one by one.

usabilityhub1

How it works

There are 5 types of tests that UsabilityHub offers:

  • 5 second test – This test helps measure the clarity of your design by asking people what they can recall after viewing the design for only 5 seconds. This test is most apt for evaluating home page designs, landing pages, logos, brochures and marketing material that needs to be visually appealing in order to make a great first impression.
    To make this test, click on the “Know More” button under the test description on the main page and then click on “Make a 5 second test” on the next page (before proceeding to make the test you can take a sample test and view sample reports). You’ll be asked to sign-up and then you can upload images and decide what questions you wish to put in the test.
  • Click Test – This test measures how effective your designs are at letting people accomplish an intended task. You only need a static image of your interface for this test so you can easily test websites, software interfaces, and mobile apps in addition to mockups and wireframes.
    To make this test click on “Know More” button under the test description on the main page and then you may choose to take a sample test and view sample reports or proceed to creating the test.
  • Question Test – This test allows you to get feedback from real people with incredibly straightforward design surveys. This test can be used on any type of design. Simply upload the image and enter the questions you’d like testers to answer about it.
    To make this test click on “Know More” button under the test description on the main page and then you may choose to take a sample test and view sample reports or proceed to creating the test.
  • Navflow Test – This test lets you see how effectively users navigate around your websites and applications. Navflow tests help you improve your conversion rates and are ideal for testing checkout and signup flows. It allows you to chain your designs by selecting which areas of each screen can be clicked to allow a person to progress to the next screen.
    To make this test click on “Know More” button under the test description on the main page and then you may choose to take a sample test and view sample reports or proceed to creating the test.
  • Preference Test – This test helps you to confidently choose between two design options by asking users which one they prefer. This test is great for choosing between variations of logos, color schemes, layouts, copy, icons and interfaces. Since real users have the final say, design debates are settled quickly.
    To make this test click on “Know More” button under the test description on the main page and then you may choose to take a sample test and view sample reports or proceed to creating the test.

usabilityhub2

Additional Features

UsabilityHub lets you decide who views your tests – for ordered responses, your tests are shown to the UsabilityHub community, for responses from recruited testers you can show the test to anyone by sharing the test link. Moreover, the tool allows you to earn credits (called karma points) by contributing to the community in the form of taking other people’s tests. Each test you complete earns you 1 point and these points can be used to order responses.
The Pro account comes with advanced features like Chaining tests together, post-test redirects, demographic surveying and targeting etc.

  • Settle design debates with data thanks to @usabilityhub usabilityhub.com/ via @supermonitoring

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Summing it up

All in all, UsabilityHub seems to be kind of a perfect tool that allows you just the kind of flexibility you want. Depending upon your need, you can choose to receive up to 20 responses with a free account, or more with a pro one. Also, it helps foster a more powerful message in the UX community – the user is the king!

Good news for Yourbrowser.is fans – A shiny new PRO account!

It feels great when you find a tool that excels in its task and matches your expectations perfectly. And when something even cooler is offered by it, you feel virtually on top of the moon. The dedicated user-base of Yourbrowser.is (previously reviewed here) has come to love it for its utility and ease of use. And now they have more reason to rejoice. The makers of Yourbrowser.is have launched a shiny new PRO account that will offer its users unique additional features to further enhance their experience at a very nominal price. Check out the description of these features here and be amazed!

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A brief visit to Yourbrowser.is

Before moving on to a description of the new features, let’s take a brief look at Yourbrowser.is (this is especially beneficial for those who’ve not used this brilliant tool yet).

Yourbrowser.is is a unique online tool for easily checking browser features and capabilities. Imagine a scenario where you’ve created a website for a customer. Now while viewing the website, the customer faces an error and contacts you for help. In this situation you obviously need to know your customer’s browsing environment details like the browser make, version etc. But your customer is not an expert on the matter and doesn’t know how to find those details. That’s where Yourbrowser.is steps in.
With Yourbrowser.is, you can create a customized page that can be sent to your customer. All your customer has to do is click on the link and voila; an email report will automatically be sent to you with all the details of your customer’s browsing environment. Is it cool or what!

To have a preview of this tool’s vast capabilities, just visit Yourbrowser.is and you will see a grid of colorful boxes. What’s great about these boxes is the fact that each of them displays an aspect of your current browser – that is the browser on which you’ve opened the website. Check it out now!

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PRO Account

Added features make any tool more appealing. With the launch of a new PRO account, Youbrowser’s capabilities have increased many-fold. Here is a description of all the features a user gets access to on signing up for a PRO account:

  • Users can choose the detections (boxes) they want to use on their custom page
  • Users can sort the detections (boxes) on the custom page
  • A PRO account allows users to collect feedback from their customers.
    Customer feedback can be collected in the following ways:

    • content box (text/image)
    • feedback form boxes
      • short text form field
      • long text form field
    • select field (single choice or multiple choice) in the form of drop-down
  • Users can detect their customer’s connection speed (download and upload)
  • User can choose to hide advertisements

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Apart from these additional features, following legacy features from Yourbrowser.is will also be available with the PRO account, of course!

  • General parameters like Browser and Operating System
  • Ability to know the customer’s IP address and geo-location
  • Checking if Cookies, JavaScript, Java, Flash and Silverlight are enabled
  • Ability to read customer’s browser language and time zone
  • User’s screen resolution and current viewport can be known
  • Ad blocking plugins in user’s browser can be detected
  • It also allows users to know if their customers have signed in to Facebook or Google+

New possibilities opened by the PRO account

The above mentioned features do look impressive! Though Yourbrowser was power-packed before them too, the addition of these insightful features has made it even more attractive and helpful. Here’s how they can open a world of possibilities for you:

  1. Selecting & sorting detections: The PRO account will allow users to have more flexibility in terms of detections. Being able to select which detections they wish to apply and also the freedom to sort them by preference will help them to know even more than they could earlier about their customers’ browsing environment.
  2. Custom Content Boxes: With the PRO account, users will be able to include text and image boxes within their custom page to provide additional information or instructions to their users.
  3. Custom feedback-form boxes: Collecting customer feedback is also possible with the PRO account. With dedicated feedback-form boxes, the users can gather data from their customers and can do more to match their expectations. This will help them in understanding the problems at their customers’ end better than before.
  4. Hiding Ads: The ability to hide ads on the custom page displayed to a customer – for even better branding.
  5. Subscription

    All the above mentioned awesome features of the PRO account are offered at a very nominal price range. After all, the good things in life are free, but even better things come at a small price! When you weigh what the PRO account has to offer, paying a small fee would be the least of your botherations.

    • Check your customers’ download/upload speed to your server with @yourbrowser PRO account supermonitoring.com/blog/good-ne…via @supermonitoring

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    Final Words

    Even after knowing about the wonderful additions the PRO account has to offer, if you’re still contemplating whether to go for it or not, you definitely don’t believe in making your life easier. Give yourself a break and the makers of this awesome tool some credit, go PRO today!

Test your website’s Responsive-ability

In the age of technology, desktops and laptops are not the bar anymore. You can access anything and everything via mobile or any supporting device. Smartphones and tablets have especially changed the approach toward design and user experience. More than user friendly each platform has to now be device friendly .Before the proliferation of mobile devices with advanced web-browsing capability, web designers had only one primary challenge to deal with – keeping the same look and feel of their websites in various desktop computer browsers.

However, interacting with websites on smartphones and tablets is not the same as doing that on a desktop computer monitors. Factors such as Click versus Touch, Screen-size, Pixel-resolution, support for technology, animation, optimized markup and many more have become crucial while creating websites. Hence it has become a must to have your website on a responsive design.

responsinator

And as the name suggests Responsinator is the answer to this device view conflict. It’s specially designed for website makers to understand the design essentials and break the barriers of look and feel with various devices and their interface. Responsinator helps website makers quickly get an indication of how their responsive site will look on the most popular devices. It does not precisely replicate how it will look, for accurate testing you can always test on the real devices.

Before we understand the unique abilities of the site let’s talk about what a responsive design is exactly. It means designing your website to adapt to the user’s viewing environment (mobile, tablet, laptop etc.). It does this through the use of media queries, and other clever technology. Here is where Responsinator will come handy. Responsinator is a simple, easy to use web tool which can help you optimize your responsive design and visualize how your site responds .This tool works great for testing the breakpoints of your media queries and seeing how font and image resizing or fluid grid and layout changes will look on devices displayed in both portrait and landscape modes.

Device Type

On Responsinator.com there is bar where you can enter your website and simply click “go”. It will in an instant provide you a well enlarged view of how your website shall look on:

  • iPhone 5 portrait · width: 320px,
  • iPhone 5 landscape · width: 568px,
  • iPhone 6 portrait · width: 375px,
  • iPhone 6 landscape · width: 667px,
  • iPhone 6 Plump portrait · width: 414px,
  • iPhone 6 Plump landscape · width: 736px,
  • Android portrait · width: 240px,
  • Android landscape · width: 320px,
  • Android (Nexus 4) portrait · width: 384px,
  • Android (Nexus 4) landscape · width: 600px,
  • iPad portrait · width: 768px,
  • iPad landscape · width: 1024px.

Covering a large section of devices that are currently and popularly used.

Cool Features

Since the site is very tech friendly it gives you a few extra perks like the “Handy bookmarklet” Feature. You can easily drag this Responsinator to your browser’s bookmark bar, then you can click on it whenever you’re on a site that you want to test. Simple, easy and does not require you to open the site again and again for testing.

There is one other feature that is peculiarly intriguing that is the scroll bar, you can easily hide and affront your scroll bars in an instant. Last but not the least the feature that works with fixed width mode. If you have a non-responsive, fixed width site and you’d like to get an idea of what it looks like on these devices – set fixed width=x to the browser URL ,where x is the width of your site and you can see an estimated glimpse and catch the error zone almost immediately.

There is a small glitch to Responsinator as well, it won’t work if your site has user-agent device detection. If you really want to emulate device detection, you can append &append_device=1 to the end of the browser URL. Responsinator will then append responsinator_device= [type] to your URL where [type] is either phone or tablet. You’ll need to check for responsinator_device in your server code.

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Make your own Responsinator

Responsinator gives you an open option to customize as per your requirements, like you can enter your name, enter your website name and have the header looking the way you want. All this by simply signing up. There is a minimum signup amount 6$ per month and merely 60$ per year which of course you can choose as per your usage. There are minimal formalities that you need to fill in like Responsinator sub-domain, Email and Password to create your very own.

The Funny part is that creators are very hearty if you find Responsinator handy and you’re feeling kind you could buy them a beer.

User-Friendliness

All in all it is an extremely easy to use web tool. The reason for this is that when there is just one website and on a single page you can see your site in multiple device modes, it’s much easier for users to share, engage and interact with the content on the site as compared to a site that has different pages for different device type. You can literally see the visual of your site on all device formats in one single scroll. We!! are a fan of that. Why? Because it’s a busy life and there is lots to do each individual chooses a better, faster and more convenient option.

And Responsinator realizes that thus its user interface is extremely simple and believe us there is nothing much to do. If you are not that tech friendly it will still be a piece of cake for you. In other words, it’s just bad if you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of Responsinator.

  • Easily check your website’s responsiveness with @responsinator responsinator.com/ #RWD via @supermonitoring

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When a business has both a mobile site and desktop site and multiple other pages, there will be a different URL and different HTML for each and hence making your work way more intricate.
Save your time and test your site with Responsinator.com.

Litmus – The Ultimate Tool To Test Your Email

In Email Marketing, testing and correcting the coding of the email you design is one of the most important steps. It helps the marketing team to ensure better conversion and click through rates. Testing is highly recommended especially if you have coded the mail yourself. This step is often skipped by many email marketers and they end up sending emails full of errors and mails which may qualify as spam and land up into the receiver’s spam folder. Email Testing allows you to know how your mail would appear to the people using different email clients like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and more….

litmus

Litmus.com is a website which offers email testing and tracking services. Litmus can be said to be a versatile tool which allows you to ensure that your mail looks beautiful everywhere including mobile browsers and devices. And in today’s competitive world I don’t think you would like to lose your business to rivals. Thus, you must make sure that your emails appear, will your email qualify as “not a spam” and land up into the customer’s inbox, all the links point to the proper web pages and the overall performance of the mail to ensure high conversion rates. In short, Litmus is a tool to confirm that the emails you create are supported by most or all of the devices having different sizes and equipped with different browsers and settings.

How Does It Work?

The basic idea behind Litmus is that you need to send the email you created to an email address provided by litmus or just upload it to the website. After this litmus would come up with screenshots for different email clients and shows how your email would look on these clients so that you can check for errors and correct them easily.

The User Interface

Litmus.com has a simple, very instinctive and easy to use interface and this allows users to easily access the application to test their emails.  Once you sign up you can get started with testing your email by selecting the environments you want your email to test for like Outlook, Lotus, Apple Mail, Gmail, and even various mobile clients like Symbian, Windows mobile, iPhone, iPad and more. All the major options are covered in this list of more than 30 clients including the main web clients Gmail, Yahoo! And Hotmail which can be viewed in IE and Firefox environments too.

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Not Just Emails! Websites too…

Litmus doesn’t only test html emails for their design but also tests websites and you can check your website on 8 different browsers for design errors. It provides easier and is best for testing static pages. It takes a screenshot of your website when you provide the link and the design and appearance of the website can be modified in accordance with these screenshots. These screenshots can be shared easily with your clients and team by making them publicly visible.

The Screenshot Options

You can select how you want the screenshot to appear there are various modes available such a Preview Pane only with images on or off, Full email with images on or off. Though these options are not available with every email client many of them do offer an option to block images. One must keep a check on the status boxes on Litmus to keep a check on delays and the unavailability of certain features. The screenshots are of amazing quality and the errors in the design can be easily detected.

The Test for Spam Filter

A spam also known as Junk email or unsolicited bulk mail is an identical email sent to many recipients. These mails often lead to phishing sites or websites which host malwares. Email filtering is the process of organizing the incoming mails according to a predefined criteria. These filtering processes are automatic and the email you design may qualify as a spam during this automatic process. To ensure that your email is not treated as a spam by the email client Litmus offers a Spam Filter Test. It checks your email with many popular email filtering services such as SpamAssassin, Postini etc. and gives a list of email clients/Spam Filtering services which support or do not support your mail.

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Email Analytics

Do you want to know who read your email? Who deleted it? What Browser and Device was used to do the same? And did anyone forward your mail to friends and family or even if they took a print?

Litmus.com provides perfect analysis of the email like it would give you the percentage of people Glanced, Skimmed, Actually read and what percent of recipients were engaged. It also tells us about the percentage of recipients using a particular email client for example 23% use Apple Mail, 25% Use Gmail and more. It even tracks whether the recipient clicked the print, forward, delete button for your mail so that you can keep a track of people who share your content and even you can check how many discount coupons got printed. Using Litmus you can keep a track of your users worldwide and lets you identify which region of the world your subscribers belong to and which time zones are important especially when you plan to launch a multilingual website or an email in different languages.

The Litmus Community

The litmus community has answers to almost every query regarding email designs and coding and even has a wonderful tutorial library and you can even learn from fellow designers around the globe.

  • Test your newsletter in different email clients and webmails, check it against spam filters with @litmusapp litmus.com via @supermonitoring

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Pricing

There are 3 plans available at Litmus:

  1. Basic: This costs 79$ per month and includes unlimited Email testing, Interactive testing and Community access but does not include Spam Filter test and email analytics. This can be accessed by one user and one colleague.
  2. Plus: This costs 149$ per month and includes unlimited Email testing, Interactive testing and Community access and also include Spam Filter test and email analytics. This can be accessed by one user and one colleague.
  3. Premium: This costs 399$ per month and includes unlimited Email testing, Interactive testing and Community access and also include Spam Filter test and email analytics. This can be accessed by ten users.

These plans may appear to be heavily priced for individual marketers and small agencies thus this application is used more by large companies and wouldn’t prove to be economical for an individual.

Yourbrowser.is – The Browser Check Wizard!

Want to check what browser your client is working on? Want to check the browser version or may be the features  enabled, such as the JavaScript and more?

Yourbrowser.is is a great website for checking out the version of the browser and many other features as well. This application comes in handy when your customers are using an older version of the browsers are not able to connect to the internet or are having trouble accessing the website you developed for them.

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The basic purpose of this application is to be used as a troubleshoot application for checking out the browser settings, features and more within a single click of the user. With this application you can check your own browser settings and details or you can also create customized checker for your customers.

Detection Features

Yourbrowser.is has amazingly powerful detection features and it can be used to detect the following features

  • It can be used to detect the browser make and version as using an older version of a browser may pose a threat to your security. And, also when you are building a website you desire it to look good in various browsers and it should look good even while using the future versions of these browsers. Thus, to cover up these browser differences it is important to perform browser detection.
  • It detects the OS and Version of the OS being used on a system. Usually while turning on your computer you would get to know what operating system is being used by looking at the logo displayed at the start up however, you would like to know about the exact version of the operating system being used so as to ensure the proper function of the website or application you are developing in case it is being developed for a specific group of people who would be using a certain operating system on a device.
  • Detects mobile devices and mobile browsers and help you to ensure that your website or application is compatible with various mobile devices with different mobile operating systems and browsers installed.
  • Detects screen resolutions and browser window sizes to help you ensure that the designs and graphics are properly displayed on devices which have different resolutions and browser window sizes.
  • It can even detect the color depth of the device being used. Color depth is a number used to indicate the number of bits used to indicate the color of a single pixel. Color depth is an indication of the colors it can store, the more the color depth the more colors can be stored.
  • JavaScript Availability That is the browser has JavaScript enabled or disabled while browsing can be detected using Yourbrowser. These days almost every website has a JavaScript and if it is disabled the website may not function properly or lack some important content.
  • Flash availability and version can also be detected using Yourbrowser as most websites and applications today have flash files which run on a flash player. This flash player’s presence and the version installed on the device are detected to ensure that the web content is displayed properly.
  • Availability of cookies is also detected by using Yourbrowser.  A cookie is a small data piece which is stored on the web browser while the user is browsing a website. Now, when the user visits the website again the browser sends the cookie to the website stating the previous activities of the user. These are a reliable mechanism to record user activity like; the shopping cart items are still stored when you visit an eCommerce website again.
  • Yourbrowser can detect the user’s IP address. An IP address is a numerical label assigned to different devices in a network which utilizes internet protocols for communication. It is important to detect an IP address for tech support, proxy detection, using remote desktop connections, running an email server and even online gaming.
  • The Geographic Location address of a user can also be detected using Yourbrowser by using the IP address and locating it. This is helpful if you would like to include a map and highlight the user location on the map.
  • Yourbrowser can also detect if the user is logged in to Social networking websites like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. This feature enables the user to test the login through social networking websites function on the website or application designed.

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Generating Links

You can generate your own links to the checker which would be sent to your client. To generate these links you would need to specify variables to be added to the link and the link would be generated in http://someagency.yourbrowser.is /?xyz=Customer+One  format. These variables are the variable name and variable value which can be set according to your needs for example you can use the company name and customer number as the variable.

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General Settings and Features

  • Allows you to configure your own browser check page.
  • You can add your own subdomain within the Yourbrowser domain like yourcompany.yourbrowser.is
  • You can also add your own domain or subdomain  by adding a CNAME to DNS and pointing it to Yourbrowser.is
  • You can add your own company logo to the check page.
  • You have the option to disable search engines from indexing the website.
  • You can disable the Geo Location tracking.
  • You have options which enable the user to decide whether to send the information or not.
  • Can send reports in HTML and Plain text as well.
  • The website is fully responsive and works well on every device and browser.

Yourbrowser is a perfect app for web and application designers and for troubleshooting and general purposes as it has a simple user interface and it has varieties of features all stacked in one single place.

It even allows you to create your own check page so why would you rely on other websites for such tasks! And yes you can set up your account with a single sign up which would require your email though but is extremely easy. I found Yourbrowser efficient and easy to use. What about you? Do let us know in the comments.

Browserstack – cross browser testing tool

The availability of a wide range of browsers and devices for surfing the Internet makes it the responsibility of the designer to write and test the code for various browsers commonly used these days. We can check the compatibility of our website or application for different mobile devices, mobile browsers, operating systems and web browsers to ensure the website or the application is easily accessible to a wide range of audience.
Cross browser testing is the biggest challenge designers face these days as new technology and products may develop rapidly and clients would need you to make the website or application compatible with the new browsers to accommodate more viewers and would not like to lose viewers also.

There are many tools available for you to test your website which show the screenshots of the website in different browsers but a screenshot would lack typing, clicking and hovering features and won’t test JavaScript and other interactive elements as well. Opening the websites in different real live browsers is called real cross browser testing while many people may use virtual machines for this testing which may lead to intensive utilization of resources.

browserstack

Browserstack is a service that offers browser based virtualization. Many developers dislike using virtual machines as they require more disk space and resources to be useful. Browserstack on the other hand has a cloud of these virtual machines with almost every browser supposable. It allows you to select your Operating system, browser versions and screen resolutions and remote them into the flash plugin used by the browser.

To test a website you just need to enter the website URL and select the targeted browser as well as the Operating system for which it is being tested. Browserstack tests the website in real time using virtual network computing screen (VNC) screen share and each browser has pre-configured developer testing tools such as the Chrome testing tools, IE testing tools, Firebug and more. To test the html pages or local server Browserstack allows you to set up a tunnel and perform the compatibility check for you Website or App.

Browsers Supported and System requirements

Browserstack supports all the major web browsers – Internet Explorer 6 to 10, Firefox 3 to 20, Safari 4 and 5 , Google Chrome 14 to 27. Supported Operating systems include Mac OSX Lion, Windows XP,Windows 7 and 8, Mountain, and Snow and all major smartphones Google Android, Apple iOS and Opera.
Overall there are more than 200 desktop and mobile browsers available to test your website on.
Browserstack helps you to get rid of all Virtual Machines, Legacy PCs, browser screenshot service and device labs which may include a huge number of smartphones, tablets and desktop computers to test your website on.

  • Fast web-based access to real browsers for cross browser testing (incl. mobile). http://browserstack.com/ @browserstack via @supermonitoring

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Plans and Subscription

To access Browserstack one needs to get himself registered on the website. It allows you to have limited time free trial service and you can buy their services for 39$ per month for one session for 3 registered users. While they also offer subscriptions for teams at 99$ per month with 2 parallel users and unlimited registered users  and many other such plans are available for team having 4-12, 10-25, 25+ team members.

All live plans have Debugging tools, No time limits, local testing, Issue tracker, 200+ browsers and 40+ mobile devices and more than 7 Operating systems.They even offer a Lite Plan for 1 User to test websites on desktop browsers only at 19$.

Screenshot Service

One of the main services provided by browserstack is Screenshot. It is the first method for cross browser testing and Browserstack consumes a few minutes to generate these screenshots and are used only when you need to check the design only and not the functionality of any element on your website.
Registered users can select the time when the screenshots should be made. After subscription you can select the resolution of the platform and even the orientation of the mobile device that is, Portrait or Landscape. One can even get an email notification when all the screenshots are ready and the screenshots made on the paid account would be available for lifetime, while screenshots made on the free account are only available for a month.

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Testing responsiveness of websites

The Responsive screenshot testing service enables users to test the website using actual device sizes. This service allows one to see the screenshots exactly how they would appear on the selected browser devices in the desired orientation. One can only view the screenshot in the resolution of the device without the actual device skin.

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Testing JavaScript

For JavaScript testing Browserstack enables the user to merge framework of his choice like Jasmine or QUnit and other tools such as TestSwarm, Yeti or JS Test Drive to enable testing automation. It is possible to test your JavaScipt files on more than 200 files using Browserstack.
Browserstack allows free JavaScript script testing for open source projects but to avail this you’ll need to send them an email to get it approved.

Local Testing

You can create a tunnel to you own machine and test your local website using a Java applet which acts as a proxy between your machine your directory and Browserstack. You’ll need to install Java on your system though many devices already have it installed.
The left panel of the Dashboard has two options Web Tunnel and Command line. Web tunnel option will open a Dialog box to connect the directory and the Browserstack. While to use the command line option you need to download a .jar file to establish a connection.

I would recommend people to use Browserstack as it has many advantages over other cross browser testing services such as loads OS/Browser options quickly, No need to use Virtual machines, No need to purchase new OS licences, OS and Browser updates not required, Low cost and can run 200+ browsers 40+ mobile devices and 7+ Operating Systems.
No Linux Operating System or Browser options. Only one browser can be selected at a time and the refresh rate is less one cannot properly preview the animations, videos, and moving elements integrated into the design, These were a few functions which Browserstack lacks and these functions must be integrated into it to make cross browser testing smooth and hassle free.

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