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Web Site Measurement Hacks by Eric T. Peterson

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Hack #71. Know How to Use Browser Version Information

Make sure you're performing application quality assurance testing for the browser versions that your visitors are actually using.

Web application developers have learned to fear final-stage application testing for multiple browser versions and platforms. The basic fear is that you spend a great deal of time writing complex code, usually JavaScript and dynamic HTML, for a single browser—usually the dominant version of Internet Explorer at the time—but when all is said and done, the code won't run in Netscape, Opera, Macintosh's Safari, or Firefox.

Smart web quality assurance managers know that your web measurement application already reports on the information you need to build a browser plan. Like other technographic reports, browser type and browser version reports are pretty much standard (Figure 5-7).

Unfortunately, these reports often go unused, but it doesn't have to be this way. Three things you can do to take advantage of your browser versions report include build for your top five browsers, pay attention to emerging trends, and monitor the Internet averages (if possible).

Build for Your Top Five Browsers

Notice the word "your" in the sentence above—you should focus your quality testing on the browsers that your visitors actually use when they visit your web site. Until recently people's browser choice had been pretty much made for them—Windows people used Internet Explorer, Macintosh people used Safari, and Unix people, well, ...

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