I recently downloaded the Opera Web Browser so that I could use it for testing some pages I’m working on. Did you know it’s totally ad-free now (and doesn’t cost a penny)? Me either. Anyway, as I was playing around with its weird interface, I discovered “Small Screen” mode in the View menu. Suddenly, the site I was viewing squished to about 300 pixels wide, and a bunch of styling information was lost. “Odd,” I thought to myself. Then I quickly realized that I was looking at the page as someone with a mobile device might see it.
While I don’t often target mobile audiences, I can instantly understand the usefulness of this feature. For some quick testing during development, Small Screen mode would help a lot because you won’t necessarily have to reload a page in a phone’s browser every time you make a change. Imagine if you had some sort of page saved locally for an application on the phone. You’d have to transfer your files every time you want to test them, and I don’t doubt that would become a hassle.
That’s not the main reason I’m excited about it, though. I intend to test every website I build from now with this feature. Why? Because it gives me an example of how a particular site will react when it should be failing gracefully. For every bell and whistle I include, I try my best to provide an alternative, and this will do wonders to help me test that it’s all working.
Think that’s cool? You might also be interested in the Web Developer Extension for Firefox, which provides all sorts of interesting (and more advanced) options for viewing a page.