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
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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.
- Mobile Apps
- 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.
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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..
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.