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Browser Compatibility Checks


Junior Member
I have a Mac so a major issue I have when working on web design projects is the difficulty checking a site's rendering across multiple browsers.

I have been relying on: Check Browser Compatibility, Cross Platform Browser Test - Browsershots , which seems to be working out for me. However, a client recently contacted me concerned because someone was having trouble seeing the text on their site. I have since found out that they are using AOL on Windows XP, so I was curious as to if other designers even concern themselves with AOL or have any other testing solutions.




Active Member
Hi Sam,

Firstly welcome to Design Forums :)
That's a very good question! As I'm on PC I'm able to test on the leading browsers directly so Firefox, and using a setup called Multiple IEs I can test on IE5.5/6/7. In terms of the specific example you mentioned, I believe AOL is running their explorer on Microsoft IE, so if you've tested for IE it should be fine in AOL.

Google Answers: What is the AOL browser based on?

In 2003, AOL signed a seven-year contract with Microsoft to use Internet Explorer code in their products and as such AOL Explorer is based on Internet Explorer Technology.


Junior Member
Thanks for the info!

I have checked in IE 6 & 7 on various PCs that I have gotten a hold of, and as I said everything is looking dandy through Browsershots. So this still is slightly puzzling, I suppose the user could have their font set smaller than standard.


Active Member
Yes it could be just a user setting, if you want me to take quick look for you here and take some screenshots to e-mail you using IE5.5/6/7 just drop me a PM with the URL :)



Active Member
The text size looked fine in all versions of IE here Sam, have just sent you the screenshots, hope that helps. Greg



I my experience a super cheap (or even second hand) Windows XP laptop is your best bet for checking across all the browsers. It might seem like expense but trust me it makes life a hundred times easier.

As far as AOL goes, Greg's post is right about running on Internet Explorer Engine, but its so heavily hacked and edited that you can't trust it to work in the same way. I know some designers will cringe at this but I would tell the client to ignore it, if you've got Google Analytics on the site check to see how many visitors are using each browser, if its less that 4-5% of a small amout of visitors then its not worth dealing with.


Active Member
mrleesimpson said:
if you've got Google Analytics on the site check to see how many visitors are using each browser
Lee is right, in this case I think you'll find that the % of people using the AOL browser is soo small these days, it might help if you direct your client to the W3 Schools browser usage stats - Browser Statistics

As you can see the last time AOL even made an appearance on the top 6 browsers was back in 2002 with just 5% share.

EDIT- Having just posted that it dawned on me that 2002 was the last year of the AOL browser on its own :p so it's obviously considered to be IE now, you'll probably have trouble finding stats for AOL on its own now. It must be a text size/resolution size issue for your client?


Junior Member
Thanks for all the advice. I will be sure to use some of the information when talking about the issue with my client.

I was planning on keeping my old PC laptop just for the purpose of testing when purchasing a Mac, unfortunately some air travel resulted in my 5 year old laptop going kaput pushing the Mac purchase up a few months earlier than expected.


Active Member
Let us know how you get on with your client, it might be worth asking for your client to try and provide a screenshot (if they know how?).

Another option could be in running a Windows OS like XP on your Mac, although I'm not sure how expensive that would be to do?

I run a mac OSX to and have recently purchased a ASUS netbook that runs windows XP. It's a relatively small expense but a huge help to develop for IE.

I really don't have any cross browser issues now because I test as I build and can therefor identify the problems straight away.

I'd really recommend putting one on your christmas list if you could