What is Cross Browser Testing?

Testsigma's introduction to cross browser testing

Cross Browser Testing checks the compatibility of a web application or website on different browsers, operating systems, and devices. Through Cross Browser Testing we ensure that the web application or website works in a uniform and smooth fashion on the browsers and devices that your customers may use -

  • Browsers - Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Edge, UC Browser, Opera, etc.

  • Operating systems - Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, etc.

  • Devices - Mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, smart TV, etc.

A user might be using any of the devices with any combination of browser or OS. Hence, it is required to check the compatibility, performance, and UI of the application on all these combinations.

When thoroughly tested across all combinations - cross-browser testing helps to provide a consistent and high-quality user experience across all the devices and browsers that your customers use.

Why is Cross Browser Testing needed?

Testsigma discusses why perform cross browser testing

Any website or application consists of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS components. We do not know over which browser our user might see our application. We know that each browser has its technology, capabilities, and limitations. Because each browser interprets an application in its own way, this results in different outputs for different users.

We need to be sure that when rendered on different browsers the final output should be the same for all users.

Hence, by cross-browser testing, we ensure consistency of two things across multiple -

  • The website’s display on different browser and OS combinations.

  • The website’s functionality on different browser and OS combinations.

Who Performs Cross Browser Testing?

The decision of what combination of platforms, browser (their versions), OS, devices is to be included in cross-browser testing is made by stakeholders( client, business analysts, and marketing specialists) together. Sometimes, the developers and testers may also have a say in this decision.

The testing part is taken care of by:

  • Development team : The design or development team, which is coding the web application may do a part of testing. They check the design and UI features like- images, font, alignment, etc. on different browsers and make quick changes accordingly.

  • Quality Assurance(QA) team : The testing team has a bigger responsibility for cross-browser testing activities. They execute the same test cases on different platforms and browser combinations to make sure the functionality is not broken. They check the compatibility of the application across different browsers. In case of discrepancies, the QA team raises defects and the development team makes the fixes.


What are the effective strategies to be followed while performing cross-browser testing?

Cross browser testing strategies

To perform effective cross-browser testing we may follow the below strategies:

  • Choose important scenarios: It is wise to choose the most critical scenarios to test first and then we can test the rest. Depending upon the business criticality of functionality and UI usage we can select the test cases.

  • Choose the environments and compare: The testing team has a bigger responsibility for cross-browser testing activities. They execute the same test cases on different platforms and browser combinations to make sure the functionality is not broken. They check the compatibility of the application across different browsers. In case of discrepancies, the QA team raises defects and the development team makes the fixes.

    Operating System: We need to know our users will mostly use which operating systems from Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, etc.

    Device: We need to check on which platform our user will be accessing our application- desktop, mobile, tablet, smart TV, laptop, etc.

    Browser(mobile and desktop): We need to decide on which browsers we will carry out the cross-browser testing. So we will pick the most preferred ones by using analytics, which the users would use mostly.

    We cannot test an application on all possible combinations of browsers, OS, and platforms. But if we use a tool that allows us to test on and that too in parallel we can complete the otherwise time taking work in a short period of time.

One such tool is Testsigma, an AI-enabled automation testing tool that takes care of parallel testing effortlessly.

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  • Decide on emulators/ simulators and devices: We should have a clear understanding of what emulators, simulators, and real devices we would need for cross-browser testing. Accordingly, we can choose the cross-browser automation testing tool.

  • Decide on cross-browser testing automation tools:

    Cross-browser automation tools are necessary because-

  1. We require access to a wide range of environments for testing.
  2. For parallel execution of test cases which reduces the overall testing time.
  3. For executing the maximum number of required test cases, which in the case of manual testing is not possible. Hence provides a wider coverage of test scenarios.
  4. The same test case can be run multiple times just after changing the environment. This results in the reusability of test cases.

Hence, we should choose the most suitable cross-browser testing tool according to our requirements and budget. Here’s a read on requirements for cross browser testing tools.

  • Test early: Start the unit testing as soon as one page is developed. This will help the development team in fixing the defects early. Once the application is ready proper functional and visual testing should be carried out.


Cross Browser Testing Checklist

Pre-conditions for Cross Browser testing:

We would want to ensure the below conditions are met before starting cross-browser testing :

  • Define the scope of testing- How much testing will be carried out, the deadline for testing, how much functionality will be covered?

  • Create a cross-browser testing strategy- Which browsers(and their versions) will be used, which OS and devices will be used. What all combinations will be tested?

  • Choose the right tool- Choose the perfect automation cross-browser testing tool from the available ones. While selecting we may ask questions like-

  1. Does it perform functional and visual testing both?
  2. How many browsers and operating systems the automation tools support?
  3. Does it integrate with third-party tools?
  4. Does it support parallel testing?
  5. Does the tool provide good technical support?
  6. Does it’s pricing meet the budget?

Testsigma is such a tool that provides AI-enabled cross-browser testing and provides all the features mentioned above.

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The readiness of devices

Have mobile devices or simulators/emulators or cloud-based testing tools ready before the commencement of testing.

After the prerequisites are met we can follow the below checklist across different browsers:

  1. Validate SSL, CSS and HTML
  2. Alignment and spacing of web elements(checkboxes, buttons, dropdowns, text fields, etc.)
  3. Validate the page layout in different resolution devices
  4. Design, effects, and styles are consistent on all pages
  5. Navigation of pages is proper
  6. URL links are correctly redirected
  7. Search and help are properly working
  8. Scroll- (vertical and horizontal) is working
  9. Fonts visibility(color and size)
  10. Text alignment
  11. Tool-tips and mouse hovering is fine
  12. Media (audio, videos, and images) are properly displayed and work
  13. Forms are working fine- save, submit, cancel, import, export, etc.
  14. File (upload and download)
  15. API connectivity is uninterrupted
  16. Sessions and cookies prompt is displayed
  17. Date format is consistent
  18. Verify zoom in and zoom out functionality
  19. Verify the pop-ups are working consistently
  20. Animation is working

Cross-Browser Testing Best Practices

Cross browser testing best practices

To perform Cross-browser testing we may follow below best practices:

  • Handle the older and rarely used browsers Although it may seem that no one uses IE 8 now, some users still use IE. We need to test and handle this scenario also. The site may not function on older browsers hence it is wise of the development team to write a separate stylesheet for IE.

    For the browsers which are rarely used - redirect the user or create a basic version of the application to run on these browsers.

  • Handle bugs that are not dependent on browsers Some bugs are not dependent on browsers(CSS-related), on every browser they behave similarly. Therefore, it is not required to test them on every browser otherwise it will waste time. Techniques to test such style-related bugs are-

  1. Resize the browser
  2. Test with CSS off
  3. Test with JavaScript off
  4. Test with CSS and JavaScript both off
  5. Zoom in and out
  • Prioritize the browsers Check the usage of browsers by users and rate them based on risk:

  • Low: They are the top 4-5 browsers which are mostly used by users and cause minimum risk to the application. E.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.

  • Medium: They are the medium-risk browsers which are neither extensively used, nor rarely used.

  • High: They are the browsers that are rarely used and may cause greater risk because they are no longer maintained and upgraded.

Test the browsers-

  1. First test the high-risk browsers by changing the resolution, screen size, etc.
  2. Then test the low-risk browsers by changing the resolution, screen size, and additionally on different devices.
  3. Finally, test a few of the medium-risk browsers.

Whatever bugs are encountered during these 3 steps fix them. Now repeat these 3 steps until you do not find any more issues.

  • Future expansion The testing strategy should take care of the expansion that may follow after months. The increase in user base should be taken care of in the current testing. E.g. Mobile users may increase in the coming years so this needs to be taken care of during current cross-browser testing activities.


How to Perform Cross Browser Testing?

Cross-browser testing can be performed in two ways:

Manual Cross Browser Testing: To manually test a website we need to install individual browsers and Operating Systems on different machines and mobiles. Then manually we need to run the same test cases in all the decided environments. This is time-consuming and tiring for testers. Due to this, the overall testing time is also huge. Also, it is not a practical option to test manually in so many combinations of environments. Therefore, automation of cross-browser testing is required for quick completion of testing activities.

Automated Cross-Browser Testing: Manual cross-browser testing is not possible in today’s scenario with multiple browsers, OS, and devices in the market. It is practically impossible to cover such a huge combination manually.

Therefore, automating cross browser testing becomes essential for almost all organizations that want their application to perform uniformly on all devices they support. And thus, automation tools for cross-browser testing come into the picture. Using these automation tools Cross-Browser testing can be completed in no time.

Some of the features of cross-browser testing automation tools are-

  1. Thousands of real test environments are accessible for testing.
  2. Testing can be performed on devices with different resolutions, configurations, and browsers in real-time.
  3. These tools support visual testing, functional testing, regression testing, etc.
  4. Test cases can be run in parallel so that testing gets completed in less time.
  5. These tools provide CI/CD integration.
  6. Screenshots and logs are provided in test reports. Some tools provide a video recording of the testing, these recordings can be referred to when required.

Examples of such tools are- Testsigma, SmartBear CrossBrowserTesting, BrowserStack, etc.


Cross Browser Testing: Manual vs Automated Cross Browser Testing

Manual Cross Browser Testing Automated Cross Browser Testing
More time consuming Less time consuming(test run)
Sequential testing Parallel testing
Prone to error Accurate
Different test cases for different browser Reusable- one test case for all browsers
Less test coverage Better test coverage

Here’s a blog that discusses Manual vs Automated Cross Browser Testing

Read Blog

Top Cross Browser Testing Challenges and How to Overcome them via Automation

Browsers, devices, OS combinations are too many to test

For cross-browser testing, we need to consider the below combinations and run the same test case so many times.

Browser * devices * OS * browser versions

This results in a huge number of test cases, which are very difficult to perform manually.

Solution: Parallel Testing via cross-browser automation tool, where multiple environments are tested in parallel. And hence the testing is completed in less time.

Different screen resolutions may break the page layout

When rendered on devices of different resolutions, the page layout is likely to break. Manual testing on all devices with different resolutions is difficult to achieve.

Solution: An automation tool like Testsigma which easily lets you automate your test cases and then execute them in parallel on unlimited devices of different resolutions, in parallel to save on your precious time.

Frequent updates to browsers

Browsers receive frequent updates and different versions are released pretty quickly. To cover every newly released version, the web application should be tested again.

Solution: Use a cloud-based cross-browser testing tool where we can just add the new browser version and the testing will take place automatically.

One such tool which supports parallel testing and cloud-based combinations of environments is Testsigma.

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How to Choose the Best Cross Browser Testing Tool

To choose the best suited cross-browser testing tool we may consider the below points:

  • How many browsers, OS, device combinations it supports: Testing positives The tool should support various combinations possible. If a new browser version is released the tool should be able to accommodate that too.

  • Third-party integration: Integration with existing Selenium code, Jenkins, Nightwatch, etc. should be supported.

  • Provision of simulator/emulator: The tool should provide support for simulators, emulators, and real devices.

  • Parallel testing support via cloud: To test a huge number of environment combinations, the tool should support parallel testing. This feature is available in cloud-based cross-browser testing tools like Testsigma.

  • Technical Support: When required, the technical support team should extend their prompt support to the testing team.

8 essential elements of automated cross browser testing tools

Automating Cross Browser Testing with Testsigma

Testsigma is a Saas enabled, AI-driven, code-less, cloud-based cross-browser testing tool. It provides access to thousands of environments, OS, real devices, and browsers immediately. No coding skills are required as test cases are written in plain English. Below are the benefits of Testsigma:

  • Immediate access to thousands of environments: Testsigma frees us from the installation and license hassles of software and OS etc. All the environments are available on the cloud and can be accessed immediately.

  • Coding in plain English: The automation scripts can be written in plain English hence, prior knowledge of coding is not required. It is really easy for everyone to code and run the automation tests. We can immediately start running our test cases on the tool.

  • Parallel testing: We can just add the multiple environments to our testing and easily run parallel testing to save time and effort.

  • Supports continuous integration: Provides integration with CI/CD tools like Jenkins etc. to support continuous integration.

  • Third-party integration: It provides integration with JIRA, Github, Slack, etc.

  • Test on local machines using Testsigma cloud: You can test locally hosted web applications on local machines using the Testsigma cloud.

  • Real devices: Access to thousands of real devices is available to aid testing, you just need to select them.

  • Highly scalable: You don’t have to bother about scaling up or down your testing infrastructure according to testing needs. Testsigma does that automatically for you. Also, as a new version of browser or OS is released in the market, it is added by the Testsigma to the available environments.

  • Functional and visual testing: Testsigma supports functional testing as well as visual testing of User Interface(UI). It checks the latest image of the application to the baselined image and then reports the differences.

  • Reporting: The reporting is customizable as per the user’s requirements. Provides screenshots, logs, video recordings, detailed reports as part of reporting.

  • Support Team: Prompt and expert support team to help and provide you with the best solutions.

Check this blog to know about the 6 steps to automate your cross browser testing for continuous deliver.


Cloud-based Cross Browser Testing

For cross-browser testing, we require a combination of different OS, browsers, and devices which can be huge in number. To manually test these combinations is impossible, and a locally set test tool may not provide the required scalability and flexibility. Maintenance and setup of the infrastructure will also require time and resources. The solution for this is to use cloud-based cross-browser testing.

The features of cloud-based cross-browser testing are:

  • They provide environments that are ready to use. We just need to select the environment and run test cases.

  • Immediate test runs possible because the required infrastructure is already available.

  • We can pay for an environment and use it immediately.

  • They can be accessed from anywhere so helpful for remote teams.

The benefits are:

  • No setup required for infrastructure

  • Availability of real devices

  • Online 24*7 access

  • Scalable

  • Parallel testing

  • Accessible from anywhere

  • Stability of testing environment

Read the details on advantages of cloud-based cross browser testing tools.


Cross-browser compatibility means the application functions in an identical and standard manner across browsers. In case the application is not supported by the browser then the application should degrade gracefully- it should get redirected or should be visible and functional in the most basic way possible.

To perform tasks that are not possible in manual testing. It helps us-

  • To access thousands of environments.

  • To perform parallel testing.

  • To achieve scalability.

  • To escape the hassles of setting the infrastructure.