In my recent explorations of responsive design, I’ve noticed I frequently just change the width of my desktop browser window to quickly review the responsiveness of a site. This typically demonstrates how the site will react in terms of layout but is of very limited actual benefit because the experience of a desktop browser is significantly different to that of a device browser.
It’s a bad habit. Denser screen resolution, font collection, colour display, brightness, lack of browser chrome, full-screen, ergonomics, touch, text input and many other factors makes for a completely different experience.
Fine if you’re tweaking a layout or just trying to get a particular feature working, browser bashing is a perfectly acceptable way of reviewing your work but make sure you spend the majority of testing time in the correct context of the intended devices.
Beg, borrow and steal (okay maybe not steal) as many different devices that might be accessing your site as possible too. Your app and users will thank you for it… Actually they wont, as this is a case of the best experience being one that isn’t noticed, a bad experience certainly will be.