Building a website which looks good on desktop computers and mobile devices generally requires a lot of thought. There are plenty of design issues to consider, and even when you think you’ve finished you’ll still need to test the site thoroughly to confirm that all is well. (Just browsing a few pages with your iPad almost certainly won’t be good enough.)
Grab a copy of the free Keynote Mobile Internet Testing Environment (MITE), though, and the process of properly analysing your site could prove easier than you think. While it’s comes packed with essential testing functionality, MITE’s core capabilities are so simple to use that anyone can get at least something from the program.
After signing up for an account with Keynote, then downloading, installing and launching MITE, the program opens with a surprisingly straightforward interface. And so you can start testing just by clicking “Browse website”, entering the URL of your site, and choosing a device profile from the more than 2,100 on offer (Apple, Blackberry, HTC, LG, Amazon, just about anything you like). We chose to open Google in an iPhone, for instance, and in a just a second or two were looking at the mobile version of the site. It’s all very easy.
This isn’t a true emulator, of course: for the most part MITE is just configuring itself to send the same user agent and accept headers as your chosen device. The program does extend its simulation a little further in some cases, though – it’ll download only up to four images simultaneously on the iPhone 4 as that’s the phone’s maximum number of concurrent threads, for example – and this is more than enough to be useful.
Seeing how the site looks is just the beginning, though. MITE also produces a more detailed report on your content. Is it mobile-friendly; have you fully optimized the page for performance; are you following best practice for mobile sites? Any issues will be highlighted, and your page will be given a score to show how you’ve done.
If you need more speed-related information then clicking the “Performance view” tab displays a waterfall graph showing you everything you’ve downloaded, and its impact on page load time.
And serious MITE users will love its scripting feature. This allows you to record your actions in navigating a site, then replay them later, so you can see how page load speeds have responded to any tweaks you’ve made: a real time-saver.
The core MITE features are very accessible, then, even to beginners, yet the program also has the power that web design professionals need. If you’re developing a mobile website and don’t currently have any formal test plans set up then Keynote MITE is a great way to get started. Go grab your copy immediately.