Hello everyone. I'm about to set up a dedicated system for testing websites (set up with a more typical configuration than my main system - smaller monitor, worse screen resolution, less ram etc.)
I also will get a free netzero account for testing my sites via dialup modem!
The idea is that if all my client's sites work on dial-up with a small monitor and a slowish computer in the most popular versions of IE, FireFox, Opera, and Safari we should likely get better results.
Right now we've been making small tweaks to our sites and every time we make them load slightly faster (even shaving like 5kb off a site!) has increased sales / leads etc. tremendously.
let's open this up for discussion - how do you folks, professionals only please, not terribly interested in solutions worse than what I currently do which is simply using my current set-up with the latest versions of the popular web browsers in multiple resolutions, test sites.
Check your stats, and determine what browsers are being used. There's no point testing browsers that no-one uses. Personally, I take the view that if it works in current versions of Opera and Firefox together with IE6 and 7 that's good enough.
If you have a lot of images on a site it's likely that enormous savings are possible.
Photographic images are usually best served using the jpeg format, but you can certainly mess around with settings and make substantial savings. Adding a slight blur and removing noise before saving can be very effective.
All other (non-transparent) images are usually best served using 256 color png format. If your image editor is rubbish at color reduction (some are) try Ultimate Paint.
There's a limit of course, but one solution is to buy three or four secondhand PCs /laptops specifically to test the most common browsers, that's what I do. It's reassuring that I have a few laptops in reserve in case of hardware failure or virus attacks.