Top Tips for Better Cross-Browser Testing

Web developers are usually biased towards a browser. They can debate for hours why the latest version of their favorite browser is the best one for all web development projects. Many times, they work in their favorite browser assuming that the code they have developed will run on other browsers, too.

But what about the other browsers that they don’t have in their system? Will the code they developed work for other browsers, as well? Here, cross-browser compatibility testing comes into action. As we know, browsers, operating systems, and devices are evolving every single day, so it is good to add cross-browser testing as part of your daily activities to ensure the best possible end-user experience.

At the same time, staying up to date with all of them and making sure that your web applications are working as intended without any discrepancy and compromises in quality is critical in this Internet-centric world.

I have done a nuanced analysis and come up with few tips to keep in mind while performing cross-browser testing.

Target Browser-OS Configurations

Finding browsers on which you want to test your web application is the first and foremost thing to take care of before starting web app testing. Each browser has many versions, and some browsers, like Chrome and Firefox, update frequently — at least once a month.

Most tech companies support recent versions of browsers, but we can not leave behind the user base still using old versions of Internet Explorer. This will curb us to a couple of versions of various browsers to test. An alternative way to discover browsers, browser versions, and OS configurations with different screen resolutions is data sampling. When our website is live, we use different tools like Google Analytics or Splunk to track user data. We learn about user browsers, browser versions, mobile devices, and operating system usage and list the most-used configurations to focus more on testing.

Make a List of Browsers as per User Preferences

Monitoring your user browser usage is the most efficient and pivotal element for achieving the best cross-browser testing experience. You can extract a report for user browser and device consumption and prioritize them according to user base strength. Create a list of browser-OS configurations with different parameters like priority, usage percent, and availability before hopping into cross-browser testing.

Use Smart Tech Ways

Don’t assume anything before starting browser compatibility testing. Different browsers behave in different ways for various browser elements. Let’s take one example: a data picker browser property will open and work perfectly on Chrome, but renders differently and has a bug in the month navigator on FireFox. Have a look at this checklist for cross-browser testing before going live.

Emulators and Virtual Machines

Testing websites across old and new browser-OS combinations is necessary for cross-browser compatibility. We can use emulators or virtual machines for testing; both have their own benefits. Many cloud-based tools are available which provide a different set of emulators, with various configurations to replicate the exact look and feel of the website on all browser versions.

You can test your web apps on these emulators with very little effort and a negligible budget. Alternatively, virtual machines are more authentic, as they are framed to use specific browser versions. This will give us an idea of how the site will look to niche users.

Mobile-First World

We have seen an exponential growth in mobile users in the last 20 years. It increases from 318 million in 1998 to 7.74 billion in 2018. Mobile users are conquering the internet world. Considering this, mobile-first IT companies must be careful about mobile user experience across different mobile devices. For them, cross-device testing is always the highest priority. New mobile devices are launching daily, with different screen sizes and viewports; syncing with them and setting up in-house infrastructure for testing is not efficient. Many companies provide a cloud-based online platform where you can launch a mobile device of the desired configuration and test your website and web application with ease. You can also use Google Chrome to check the responsiveness of your website across different mobile and tablet devices with different screen sizes and viewports.

Don’t Underestimate Tablets

Tablet devices cover about 4% of the internet market share worldwide with a wide range of the user base (source: statcounter.com). 8% of people in the United States use tablet devices for their internet needs. Checking your website across different tablet devices with different screen sizes and resolutions is significant for great user experience

Automated Testing

All set with user browser-OS usage? The first question comes to my mind is how to test the website on all configurations.

Browser-OS combinations number more than 2,000 and testing manually on each configuration is very painful and repetitive. Automated web app testing acts as an aid to this problem. It is very easy to perform and it saves a lot of time. With automated testing, you can run your testing scripts and test your website across different browser and OS combinations. There are many online automated testing tools available, which offer browsers, OSes, and mobile devices

Test Before Going Live

It is a best practice to perform cross-browser testing before going live. Always perform testing of your web application when it is hosted on your local server. This is very helpful for keeping a good user experience and saves you from unexpected blunders when you make your website live.

Take Care of Accessibility

Is your website accessible to everyone? This is a very interesting thing to discuss; your users can be different types of people. It can be a man who is not able to hear, a boy not able to see, a person with color blindness, people using screen readers to access your text, or people with motor impairments who use non-mouse methods like keyboards and shortcuts to use the web. It’s necessary to make your website accessible to everyone with accessibility testing.

Use the Appropriate Tool for Testing

To perform testing, one must use the best tool. However, figuring it out is a tough decision. There are many testing platforms available on the market, and selecting one for your business is a crucial decision. It also depends on your requirements.

Cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility testing of websites is becoming a principal factor for great user experience and satisfaction. In this era of cutting-edge technologies, user experience is what helps an internet business take off.

I hope these tips are helpful for you while cross-browser testing.

Do you have any tips that we missed? We would love to add them to our list! Let us know in the comments below. Until then, happy testing!

Author: Saif Sadiq`

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