Cross Browser Compatibility Testing – what browsers you should test?

Cross Browser Compatibility Testing – what browsers you should test?

| December 28, 2020

In recent years, cross browser compatibility testing has gained a lot of traction as it helps ensure that no customers are left behind after updates. The pace of technological advancement has increased exponentially, leading to faster upgrades and changes.

However, not all people evolve as rapidly as they are resistant to change, leading to outdated technology such as which consist of minor options, specifications and less compatible ones. Such applications might slow down the entire system and cause customers to feel dissatisfied with their experience.

Cross browser compatibility testing helps ensure that no customer has to suffer the consequences of a forgotten update. Let us now take a closer look at the benefits of cross browser compatibility testing and how the process works.

What is cross browser compatibility testing?

Cross browser compatibility testing serves as a non-functional method of testing that focuses on ensuring your website enjoys reasonable functionality on different devices, tools and browser-OS combinations. Since not all browsers work on the same settings and configuration, a difference in the versions can cause several problems. This is one of the biggest reasons why consumers face adaptivity problems when using various OSs and devices.

However, as a service provider, you would never want a part of your target audience not to have access to certain features. This is where cross browser compatibility testing comes into the pictures. By testing and debugging the website across several browsers and platforms, developers can ensure that such issues do not impact your business severely. 

Why is cross browser compatibility testing necessary?

This testing essentially helps ensure that a particular website or application works efficiently across several browsers and devices. Slightly older versions of a browser or a different or less popular browser might throw up errors while running a software. As a developer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your website or application works for as many people as possible.

Running Cross Browser Compatibility Testing helps you ensure this by testing devices with different capabilities and limitations. The various circumstances where Cross Browser Compatibility Testing comes in handy are as follows;

1. Compatibility of older browsers which users have not updated

2. Browsers which do not support the latest JavaScript or CSS features

3. Less popular browsers that do not offer much support or features

4. Different devices including tablets and older smartphones

5. Devices with different capabilities and uses, such as assistive technology-enabled devices for people with disabilities

Which browsers must you carry out cross browser testing on?

There are countless different combinations of browsers and devices, and testing all of them is impossible. Hence, companies have to shortlist the most vital combinations and ensure they are tested for compatibility issues. Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers out there, holding over 65% of the market share.

Firefox comes second with an estimated market share of around 10%, followed by Explorer, Safari and Edge. As the volumes make clear, Chrome and Firefox are critical for businesses, and hence require ardent testing. However, that does not mean that other browsers, such as Safari, Explorer and Edge have to be avoided. 

How to decide which browsers to test on?

Deciding what browsers to test on based on search volume alone is not a viable option. Hence, all businesses have to make sure they consider their target market before making such a decision. For instance, a lot of people still swear by older versions of the Windows OS. Such people still rely on the Internet Explorer, and if your target audience involves Windows users, you need to ensure that you test for IE compatibility. 

Other important factors that businesses need to consider before deciding which browsers to test on are as follows:

1. Business indicators

2. Value addition

3. Nature of the web application

For instance, most people who use the Safari browser do it through an Apple product. Since these products are more expensive, such users typically represent those with higher spending or purchase power. Hence, Safari is important when it comes to cross browser compatibility testing despite the lower volume of users. 

Are less popular browsers relevant for cross browser compatibility testing?

Despite lower user volumes, these browsers are still significant when it comes to cross browser compatibility testing, and here’s a look at why.

1. As mentioned earlier, users who browse through Safari tend to have higher purchasing power and a penchant for luxury products. As a result, luxury brands and marketers of expensive products will have to ensure that their website runs smoothly on Safari.

2. Both the Internet Explorer and Edge run as stock browsers for Microsoft, which still enjoys high user density. Therefore, businesses that want to sell items related to this OS will have to ensure IE and Edge compatibility.

3. While the Edge is a newer and better browser, a lot of users still use the previous versions than the new ones. Hence, such people still rely on Internet Explorer and so businesses will have to ensure that they remain Explorer compatible. 

4. Another important factor that businesses need to consider is the influence that such browsers have on specific markets, such as the EU, US and Asia-Pacific. For instance, Chrome is the most popular browser in Germany, followed closely by Safari rather than Firebox. Another interesting fact being that Samsung IB holds the fifth place having a higher user volume than Edge. Hence, businesses which have a presence in Germany will have to tailor their cross-browser compatibility tests as per these trends.

5. When it comes to the UK, Chrome leads the race followed by Safari and Explorer, leaving Firefox behind. Moving to the US, Chrome, Firefox and Safari all have a noteworthy presence, and in the Asian region, UC Browser has been gaining a lot of the market share. As a result, it is clear to see that following a global trend of testing and popularity will hurt businesses that have a presence in specific markets.

It is clear to see that indulging only the Chrome and Firefox browser in cross compatibility tests is no longer a viable plan. There are several other factors that businesses have to consider, meaning that when looking at things through a region-specific angle, even less popular browsers such as Safari, Edge, and Explorer become vital.

Also, only private organisations have the liberty to pick out the most suitable browsers. Government authorities need to ensure compatibility so that the public has access to all their services, no matter what browser they use. 

How to find the right balance

Picking the right combination of browsers, devices and operating systems to test on is vital to businesses. Hence, finding the right balance depends heavily on the financial resources the business can spare, and their specific needs. The right balance includes testing on the bare minimum combinations to ensure maximum usage and best user experience.

Once you decide what browsers you wish to test on, all that remains is choosing the right automation tool to help you with your testing. This is where Testsigma comes into the picture. 

Signup for a free trial of Testsigma to know more

How Testsigma Can Help

Testsigma allows businesses to run Cross Browser Compatibility Testing on thousands of browsers through a single portal. Hence, it helps simplify and fast track the process of testing by managing different environments efficiently. Additionally, Testsigma also features the required cloud infrastructure that enables businesses to run parallel sessions on different platforms and devices.

Businesses also get to automate their test flows across different versions, devices, browsers and operating systems offering the most comprehensive environment for Cross Browser Compatibility Testing. So, what are you waiting for? Go beyond merely testing on Chrome and Firefox with the help of Testsigma. Sign up for a free trial today and improve your website’s or application’s overall effectiveness and reach!

References:

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/Tools_and_testing/Cross_browser_testing/Introduction

https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/how-is-cross-browser-testing-performed