A gorilla, a dog and a horse walk into a bar…

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.

So, a gorilla, a dog and a horse walk into a bar.  What do you think they see? For each, their perspectives would be so different – from height differences to colour ranges to their ability to manipulate objects in the bar.  How would you construct a bar for each of these 3 animals (if they could use it).   You’d have to have a place for the horse to stand, the gorilla to sit, the dog to lie… you’d have to have tables with 3 different heights.  What if they all wanted to sit together?

Could you imagine building a retail store that could / would do that? It sounds like a science fiction only bar…

Yet, if you own an online store; you commit to doing that very fact every day. 

There are currently 4 major browsers in use – Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer.  Each of these browsers has a minimum of 3 majorly used versions, some more.  Each version will ‘view’ your website slightly differently and each browser will process code vastly differently at times.

On top of that, people view your website from multiple devices – mobile phones, tablets, mini-tablets, desktop computers, etc.  Each of these will have different screen resolutions and screen sizes – you’ll need to code for that too – individually quite often for each of the above browser versions.

Then add plugins or add-on’s that are available for each browser.  Have an Norton Antivirus system scanning pages? How about Adblock? Each of those could affect how the browser handles the webpage again.

Replication and Fixes

That’s why if you hit a bug on a site and you complain about it, it might never get fixed – or it could take a while to get fixed.  The simple truth is that as a small business, we have to triage.

  • What’s the problem?
  • Is this replicable?
  • If not, is it in a critical area of the site?
  • How many people would / could this affect?
  • What browser / operating system / device are they using?
  • Has this been reported before?
  • Is this something we can fix?

There are times when a problem comes in and all we do is sit on it.  It happened to you – okay.  Maybe it’s just you – let’s see if we can replicate.  If we can’t, maybe it’s just that user.  Sometimes, the user’s not a gorilla, a dog or a horse.  Sometimes, the user might be a porpoise.