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Cross Browser Device Testing

Cross Browser Device Testing - All You Need to Know

November 25, 2021
 by 
Sharon ChuSharon Chu
Sharon Chu

Cross browser testing is the process of ensuring that the websites and web apps you develop are compatible with a diverse number of web browsers. As a web developer, it is vital that you ensure your projects work for all web users regardless of browser, device, or additional assistive tools they use to ensure you don’t miss potential users.

Here’s our advice for building successful web applications that work across multiple browsers.

What is Cross Device Testing and What Are Its Benefits

Introduction to Cross Device Testing

Cross device testing is a crucial aspect of modern software and website development. As the name suggests, it involves testing applications or websites across different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, to ensure consistent functionality and user experience. With the vast array of devices and operating systems available in the market today, cross device testing has become indispensable to ensure that your product reaches and performs optimally for all users.

The Importance of Cross Device Testing

Cross device testing is vital to guarantee the compatibility and responsiveness of your digital product across diverse platforms. As users increasingly access websites and applications on various devices, it's imperative to deliver a seamless experience, regardless of the device they are using. By conducting thorough cross device testing, developers can identify and rectify any issues that might arise on specific devices, browsers, or screen sizes, thus maximizing user satisfaction and retention.

Benefits of Cross Device Testing

a. Enhanced User Experience

One of the primary benefits of cross device testing is the ability to provide an enhanced user experience. By ensuring that your website or application functions optimally on all devices, you create a positive impression and increase the likelihood of users engaging with your product.

b. Increased Customer Reach

With cross device testing, you can expand your customer reach and target a broader audience. When your website or application is accessible and performs well on various devices, you tap into different user segments, leading to increased traffic and potential conversions.

c. Improved Brand Reputation

A consistent and seamless experience across devices enhances your brand's reputation. Users are more likely to trust and recommend a brand that delivers a uniform experience regardless of the device they use, fostering brand loyalty.

d. Better Conversion Rates

Cross device testing helps in identifying and resolving any obstacles that could hinder the user's journey towards conversion. By optimizing the user experience on different devices, you can increase the conversion rates and, consequently, the overall success of your business.

e. Cost Efficiency

While conducting cross device testing may involve some initial investment, it proves to be cost-efficient in the long run. Detecting and fixing issues early in the development process saves resources that would otherwise be spent on resolving post-launch problems and potential loss of customers.

f. Stay Competitive

In today's highly competitive digital landscape, cross device testing is a strategic advantage. By ensuring your product works flawlessly on all devices, you stay ahead of competitors who might overlook this crucial aspect, gaining a competitive edge.

g. Future-Proof Your Product

Investing in cross device testing helps future-proof your product. As new devices and technologies emerge, your thoroughly tested product will be better equipped to adapt and remain relevant in the dynamic market.

Cross device testing is an essential practice that ensures your website or application functions seamlessly on all devices, providing an excellent user experience. By embracing cross device testing, you can expand your customer reach, enhance brand reputation, improve conversion rates, and stay competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Install Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer

You will need to prioritize the most relevant parts of your websites/web apps like content, CTC because it is hard to test your web app on every potential browser-device configuration. The sheer amount of browsers and versions obtainable is one of the major cross browser testing concerns. Not all businesses have the financial means to operate and manage all browsers, editions, and gadgets by themselves.

Keeping yourself informed and ensuring that your web app functions flawlessly on each browser is even more challenging. For example, if your application is built for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox, it may work on all four major browsers — which at first seems to be relatively simple and manageable — but not all of your visitors may be running the most updated version of each browser.

Test your website on all of these browsers to ensure compatibility

Cross browser device testing may sound time-consuming and intimidating, but it does not have to be. You need to plan ahead of time and make sure you do enough tests in the right places to avoid unexpected issues. 

If you are working on a complex project, test it regularly to ensure that new features are usable by your target audience. You should also ensure that the new code additions do not break existing features. If you wait until the end of a project to start cross browser device testing, any bugs you find will be much more expensive and time-consuming to fix than if you find them and fix them as you go.

Cross browser testing results in excellent compatibility enabling:

  • Happier users
  • Fewer support tickets
  • More time to improve your product

Use a tool like HeadSpin to test across multiple browsers from Multiple locations

Developers can test websites and applications across multiple browsers with HeadSpin, a global testing platform with quality experience management and performance measurement tools.

HeadSpin’s data science platform features offer the ability to instantly test and debug websites, mobile apps, audio and video apps, and more.

  • Websites
  • Mobile Apps 
  • Audio
  • Video apps 

HeadSpin performs this testing across lots of real devices linked to network infrastructure throughout the world. Developers can use HeadSpin’s holistic approach to execute and manage tasks in parallel and to test across multiple browsers from multiple locations. The HeadSpin Platform enables developers to test websites and apps throughout the development phase, making changes and modifications to the product before and even after sending it to the specified user.

Add browser information to your site’s Meta tags so that the site displays correctly in different browsers

Page-level meta tags are an excellent way for website owners to provide search engines with information about their sites efficiently and effectively. The <head> section of your HTML is where you place the meta tags. 

Google usually recognizes that the facts of a page are not in the language that the user is most likely to want to read. Consequently, it includes links to a translation in the search engine results. In general, this allows you to reach a much larger audience with your unique and compelling content. 

The meta tags you place also inform Google that it does not need to translate the page.

Remove any deprecated code or plugins that may cause issues with other browsers

Browsers occasionally remove those APIs from the Web Platforms that have outlived their usefulness to keep the platform healthy.  Only a handful of sites are affected by some of these changes. Browsers try to give developers advance notice of issues, so they can make the necessary changes to keep their sites up and running. 

Developers use a CSS reset stylesheet to ensure that different browsers render web pages with the same set of rules. As a result, you must include both the prefixed and non-prefixed versions to ensure that all browsers pick it up.

If you find any deprecated code or plugins that cause issues with other browsers, try removing it as soon as possible. Thus, you can ensure that the code runs smoothly in a variety of browsers.

Recommended Post: Tips To Enhance Cross Browser Testing

Keep track of each browser you have tested and when you last updated them

Keep track of each browser you have tried and when you last updated it so you can quickly update if the manufacturer releases a new version. For each product release cycle, it is highly advisable to perform cross browser testing.

We have reached the point where no major web browser is static software due to short release cycles and automatic updates. Every 10-12 weeks, a new browser version for different users is released. The majority of them will be completely unaware that their browser is undergoing an update. 

Updates to browsers bring new features, quirks, and bugs. It is also worth noting that browser vendors have different seeding schedules for their updates. If you target multiple browsers, you will need to update and perform cross browser device testing every 10-12 weeks.

How to Perform Cross Device Testing

1. Understand Your Audience

Before diving into testing, it's crucial to understand who your users are and the devices they commonly use. Analytic tools can provide insights into the most popular devices among your users. This data informs which devices are critical in your testing phase.

2. Establish a Device Lab

Create a device lab with hardware, operating systems, and screen sizes that reflect your audience's preferences. This can range from physical devices to emulators and simulators, each serving different aspects of the testing process—physical devices offer real-world testing scenarios, while emulators and simulators are great for quick checks and automated tests.

3. Use Cloud-Based Testing Platforms

Leverage cloud-based platforms like BrowserStack or Sauce Labs to access a broader array of devices and browsers. These platforms allow you to perform tests on real devices remotely, saving time and resources while providing scalability.

4. Implement Automated Testing

Automate repetitive tasks to ensure consistency in testing. Frameworks like Selenium or Appium can simultaneously automate testing across multiple devices and browsers, increasing efficiency and coverage.

5. Perform Manual Testing

While automated tests can catch many issues, manual testing is essential for understanding the user experience. Manual device testing helps identify usability issues that automated tests might not catch.

6. Prioritize Accessibility

Ensure your tests cover accessibility requirements. Testing for accessibility on various devices ensures inclusiveness and compliance with legal standards.

How to Choose What Devices to Test On

1. Analyze Usage Data

Start by examining user data from your analytics platform to identify the most commonly used devices among your audience. Focus on these devices to ensure your application performs where it matters most.

2. Consider Market Trends

Keep an eye on industry trends and device releases. Testing on popular and emerging devices ensures your app remains relevant and functional on new technology.

3. Account for Device Diversity

Include various devices, considering different manufacturers, screen sizes, operating systems, and hardware capabilities. This diversity ensures broader compatibility.

4. Prioritize Based on Criticality

Rank devices based on their importance to your user base and business objectives. Focus your resources on testing devices that will most likely impact your revenue and brand reputation.

5. Update Regularly

Regularly update your device selection criteria to reflect changes in user behavior and new entries in the device market. This ongoing revision keeps your testing efforts aligned with current market conditions.

Final Thoughts

While Chrome is one of the most popular browsers across regions, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t test other browsers such as Firefox or Safari. Test your projects on as many browsers as possible, or at least on those most used by your target audiences. Tools such as HeadSpin which offer additional features such as automated testing and performance analysis and monitoring can help you start your cross browser device testing journey too.

Cross Browser Device Testing - All You Need to Know

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