Earlier today I tweeted @jonathanstark regarding what mobile devices he tests on and if he has a 'blanket list' of devices to test on.
His response was great.
I usually have the client agree to a list that will be officially testing on and I go buy those. That said… Old iPhone, new iPhone, old android phone, new android phone, new Windows phone…
I also asked if there were any specific devices he'd recommend.
Old Kindle Fire, new Kindle Fire, new Android tablet, iPad mini, iPad 2, iPad Air (I don't have a Surface, but should) I have Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and a Galaxy Tab 2 that I test on. I have a ton of older Androids that I don't bother testing on. It'd be nice to have Galaxy S3 or 4 to test on because so many people have those.
All that said, if you use RWD and are aggressive about progressive enhancement, testing usually is pretty painless.
I almost always use modernizr for feature detection. Where possible, I enhance the experience based on available features.
I will admit to UA sniffing on occasion, but usually on a whitelist basis. (i.e., "if Safari on iOS7, then do this fancy thing…")
e.g., instructions for how to "Add to Home Screen" are browser/device specific and require UA sniffing.
I should prolly get off twitter and blog about this instead of spamming your feed. Sorry! ;)
Splendid reply Jonathon, thanks very much!
Here's some other ideas and things you might consider when testing for mobile.
Emulators can also help a vast amount with testing and can help reduce the cost of a mobile dev lab. That said though, wherever possible I'd always use a physical device. For example something like testing how easy something is to press while the mobile device is in your hand is an entirely different experience to using a mouse and clicking.
If like me you've be an iPhone user for many years, it's always a good idea to mix things up. If possible and you have access to another mobile device why not try using that solely for a week and see how you get on.
In regards to RWD (Responsive Web Design) and progressive enhancement, there's also what's known as a 'mobile first' approach and there's a great book on this by Luke Wroblewski https://www.abookapart.com/products/mobile-first.
Brad Frost also wrote a nice article on 'mobile first' that's worth checking out https://bradfrostweb.com/blog/web/mobile-first-responsive-web-design/.
Another thing that I like is Ghost Lab https://vanamco.com/ghostlab/. This app allows you to easily develop on your local machine whilst being able to connect multiple mobile devices and have the devices synchronize with what you're doing on your local machine.
If there's any other apps, code or workflow advice you have, I'd love to hear your suggestions.
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