Improve Your Cross Browser Testing With These 3 Tips
Today we access the internet using many different combinations of device, operating system and browser, whether it’s via smartphone, tablet or laptop, using Apple iOS or Google Android with Chrome, Firefox or Safari. This throws up a host of challenges to those who develop websites and web apps, as testing is required on the browsers your customers use, to ensure a consistently great user experience.
This is where cross-browser testing comes in. Cross-browser testing involves checking the compatibility of websites and applications across multiple web browsers on a wide range of mobile devices and desktops to ensure consistent quality and good user experience.
Image source – Demartek (March 2017)
Although it may sound straightforward, many companies fail to get cross-browser testing right and end up incurring unnecessary costs and wasting time that could be spent elsewhere. Utilising our extensive experience and knowledge, we’ve come up with 3 tips to help you improve your cross-browser testing process – check them out and let us know what you think:
1. Test on the Right Browsers (Don’t Forget Mobile)
Deciding the right number of combinations for cross-browser testing is essential, as there are virtually too many in use to test them all. We recommend limiting the browsers you test to three or four, which should include Chrome, Microsoft Edge (or Internet Explorer), Firefox and Safari. These should then be tested on the most recent versions and popular past iterations to get adequate coverage.
Additionally, you should not forget mobile. With the huge increase in mobile adoption over the past few years, for many businesses, the majority of traffic now actually comes from mobile devices. However, cross-browser testing on mobiles can be tricky, especially with different screen resolutions and regularly updated operating systems, not to mention the hundreds of possible device and browser combinations presented.
When it comes to mobile, we recommend you test browsers on the most widely used devices, screen sizes and operating systems by your target audience. If you don’t know what they use, use an analytics tool like Google Analytics to analyse your web or app traffic or alternatively test the most popular devices and browsers in your demographic.
2. Take Advantage of Automation
Using automation testing tools such as Selenium, Appium, Calabash or bespoke tools, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to carry out cross-browser testing by automating repetitive tasks. Our advice is to utilise automation when scripts written for one environment can be repeatedly used on others. This concept is perfect for testing across multiple device, browser and operating system combinations.
3. Utilise Virtual Machines and Emulators
Our final tip is to use an emulator which allows you to test your app or website on a variety of mobile devices, screen sizes and operating systems.
Test coverage across different browsers is one thing, but coverage across different versions of those browsers is another which poses a great challenge. Browsers are constantly updated, however, customers don’t always use the latest versions that causes the issue of needing to ensure quality across the older browsers too.
Emulators solve this issue, enabling you to emulate how your website or web app acts on older browser versions. However, use them with caution as they can’t always accurately mimic functionality, so it can be easy to miss problems. With that said, emulators are a great tool to check older versions and devices that you do not have access to, expanding your overall coverage, but we’d always recommend physical testing on the devices, browsers and operating systems that are vital to your business. If you need help with this contact us, we’d be happy to assist.