How to diagnose mobile issues

Understanding Silktide’s mobile testing

Silktide tests mobile via the following:

  • Chrome browser
  • Logical pixel size of 320 x 568
  • Physical pixel size of 640 x 1136
  • User agent of an iPhone 5
  • Flash is not supported
  • 11 max touchpoints
  • Portrait orientation

The above matches what an iPhone 5 or an equivalently small mobile device will experience over 99% of the time. However, it is important to note it is not an iPhone 5, nor is it attempting to mirror one perfectly.

Silktide’s aim is to measure compatibility with the smallest mobile device size, which also happens to correspond to the WCAG requirement for Reflow – that a page can be zoomed into a logical width of 320 pixels wide without horizontal scrolling.

We emulate an iPhone 5 User Agent because that is a popular phone meeting these specific dimensions. Other aspects of that phone (e.g. how it might show an address bar) have changed over time, and are not significant to Silktide.

When Silktide’s mobile preview doesn’t match what you expect

By default, Silktide uses a shortcut to test pages in about half of the time. We download each page for a desktop computer, and then change our browser to be a mobile browser, thereby saving us the need to load it all again.

This works for the vast majority of websites and is approximately twice as fast as loading each separately.

However, some websites serve completely different HTML to desktop and mobile devices. This is broadly discouraged, but it can happen.

If you’re experiencing an apparent disconnect between what Silktide shows you, and your website, you can test for this as follows:

  1. Load the webpage in Chrome on a desktop computer
  2. Open Developer Tools (e.g. right-click on the page, and select “Inspect”)
  3. In the Dev Tools panel, click the mobile device icon (in the top-left corner)
  4. Under “Dimensions” (above the web page) select “iPhone SE”

If the website is not fully responsive, this may show you something similar to what Silktide sees – a broken mobile layout.

To fix this, a Silktide administrator needs to switch on the option “Split device downloads” under Advanced Settings. This option is not available to customers at this time. After doing this, re-test the page (or whole website) to see if this fixed the issue. If it did not, you should uncheck this option, as it will roughly double the time taken to test all pages.

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