Many Web sites serve Firefox for Android different content than that served to other mobile browsers. This content is may be:
- basic mobile site
- traditional desktop site
- WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) site designed for a feature phone
- touch optimized mobile site that is broken visibly or functionally
This different content is often the result of:
- Sniffing the target browser’s user agent to send differing content to Firefox for Android
In the first case, Firefox does not receive good, mobile content. In the second case, Firefox does not recognize the content that it is sent. We refer to these issues as Web compatibility issues as a site that exhibits these issues is not compatible with all browsers.
The mobile Web is like the sea - vast. Our goal, is to open up the mobile Web to all mobile browsers via promotion of standards and best practices.
We need your help to identify sites that do not work well in Firefox by reporting the specific issues that you find in your investigation.
Outlined below are steps that you can follow to identify and report site issues.
To start, let's set up your hardware and software to enable compatibility testing.
- An Android phone is a prerequisite for testing Firefox for Android. See our list of supported devices for Firefox for Android to ensure that your phone is supported.
- Install Firefox for Android from Google Play.
- Install the Phony Add-on for Firefox on Android. This add-on lets Firefox for Android pretend to be another browser by changing the identifying information (user-agent) that is sent with each HTTP request.
- Set up an account on bugzilla so that you can report issues.
- Install Firefox for Android for a different release channel: Beta, Aurora, and Nightly.
- You can try to reproduce and debug issues that you discover in Firefox Desktop. Install Firefox for Windows, Linux or Mac OS X and an add-on like Phony for the desktop. (See the arcticle Browser detection using the user agent for an in-depth explanation about browser user-agents.)
The following steps illustrates how you might test a site after you complete the setup instructions:
- Select a site to test from the list of sites that are flagged for investigation.
- Visit the selected website in Firefox for Android and begin exploring. Test the functionality of the site by visiting different areas of the site. Click on links, use forms, create accounts, sign in, and question:
- Does the site have any blatant layout problems? Are elements overlapped? Is there missing content? Are areas of the page not shown correctly? Does the site simply look bad?
- Is the site a desktop site? Is the site exactly the same as one might see it on desktop? Are the URLs the exact same? Is the site the same site that one would get with the iPhone user agent? Android Browser user agent? Opera user agent? Chrome user agent? Desktop Firefox user-agent? Feel free to explore by testing the same website in Firefox for Windows, Linux or Mac OS X and compare to what you see on an Android device.
- Visit the same website using the device’s Android Browser, using the same exploration methods, and question:
- Are there any similar layout issues as seen in Firefox for Android? If so, what problems do you see on Firefox for Android that do not show up in the Android Browser?
- Does the site render as a mobile site? Does the content greatly differ than what you saw on Firefox for Android?
- On Firefox for Android, switch the user agent string to iPhone using the Phony add-on. Visit the same website again and continue with the same exploration methods and question:
- Is the site rendered different than what you saw on Firefox for Android? If so, how is it different? Is it a mobile optimized site?
- Does the site have any layout problems? If so, what are those problems?
Note: Firefox for Android sends the following user agent strings to sites:
Phone: Mozilla/5.0 (Android; Mobile; rv:14.0) Gecko/14.0 Firefox/14.0:
Tablet: Mozilla/5.0 (Android; Tablet; rv:14.0) Gecko/14.0 Firefox/14.0
If you find out that the Android Browser or iPhone user agent appears to have been served better mobile optimized content with fewer layout problems than Firefox for Android, then you should report those problems in Bugzilla.
To file a bug on a problem you found while testing, file a bug in the Fennec Native Evangelism component in Bugzilla and provide the following information that may provide useful in investigation:
- Set this to Evangelism
- Summarize problem you found on a certain site
- Describe the problem, including details such as what you saw in Firefox for Android, what you saw in the Android Browser, and lastly what you saw with the IPhone user agent string. Please also include a summary of the underlying problems.
It is also valuable to attach to the bug a screen capture that identifies and exposes the problem in Firefox for Android from your Android device. Read about creating Android screen captures.
If you have any questions about compatibility testing or want to become involved in Mozilla’s mobile Web compatibility effort, please sign up for the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.