Beyond Device Testing

I had always looked at device testing as a straightforward pass/fail endeavor where websites either look and behave as expected or not. I would interact with whichever device—smartphone, tablet, or in-between—only for as long as it took me to verify that nothing was broken. At the end of the day all I gained was a check on a to-do list.

Recently, I’ve started ‘moving in’ to newly acquired or borrowed devices. I’ll setup email, multi-task, edit text, road test apps, and of course, browse the internet. Sometimes the experience is delightful, at others it’s frustrating and slow, but either way I win because I’ve taken a step or two closer to understanding where users might be coming from.

As web designers, our perceptions are among the most valuable tools in our arsenals. Limiting ourselves to one browser, operating system, or device brand is risky if our goal is to sensibly design for all of them. Now when I pick up a device to test, I find myself less quick to put it back down.