Do you have any idea what your website looks like on small screen devices like mobile and smarphones?
If not, it's high time to find out!
Your customers are multi-channel and mobile....is your business as well?

 

Mobile Website Testing

Having built a series of five mobile device emulators (of which the Microsoft Phone was the hardest) which are used by various online services on the Internet, I decided to make them available here as well with some technical background as the operations.

The emulators, because that is what they are...they virtually emulate the real different devices, it's not like I have the physical device, load a webside and show a photograph of it. The base is a 'chomeless' browser engine that prefers HTML5 but will degrade to any version of readable HTML. The remaining two rules are simple.

  • When communicating with a remote web server, do everything in your power to convince it it is dealing with a real device of a specific type. This is done in the form of 'user-agent' information in the 'headers' of each request. Any 'intelligent' server can detect this and react accordingly.
  • Render the inbound reply from the HTML server according to the physical (and special) requirements of the said device. Honouring the HTML, CSS and media queries.

The devices were chosen to give a reasonable spread of different technology and types in use in the twenty first centuary and consist of: iPhone, Samsung, Nokia and BlackBerry.

If you're interested in how it works without compromising security, after all anyone could use it to test new all-singing-all-dancing viruses and other malware to take out systems, see the section on remoting.

See what your website(s) look like using the smartphone emulators below

The images above shows how this website responds to the different mobile operating systems. The goal was(is) to keep it navigatable, identifiable and usable at all times. is it a success? Is your website a success on small screen devices? If not, you now know where to find me, and I'm always willing to lend a hand.

Engineering smartphone emulators for anonymous networks, anonymous users and unpredictable input.

Designing emulation and simulators for public use that need to respond to (unknow) remote references and acurately reflect the end result needs carefull consideration and engineering. Besides the ability to accurately undertake what an actual devices will do and display the results, the security aspect is the most important to deal with first.

Rules of engagement - Expect anything and everything and deal with it appropriately.

  • Know the smartphones profile, capabilites and specifications
  • Present yourself as a true (real) device if and when queried
  • Accept and process remote input
  • Accurately present the result

You may assume this very noble, but running a system that needs to adhere to these rules in an environment that supports many other (mission critical) services is just not an optiona at all, ever. If this happens, you may as well put up an open proxy to the world and sit back and watch as the lights go out.

Important Considerations

Exposing public interfaces that can call on other public services for source data to act on is a magor security risk and should be avoided.

Solution - 'Keep them seperated'