Not all web browsers are created equal. Some are exclusively compatible with certain operating systems, while some boast features they claim others lack, like privacy mode and auto-updating. Some browsers even restrict certain features to a specific operating system. For example, Safari’s text-to-speech feature works exclusively with Mac operating systems. There are web browsers that were once praised as the frontier leaders in web exploration and the pioneers of internet navigation that are now nearly extinct- so old and under-used that the younger generation of web users often have never even heard of them. With so many variables on the surface, there are even more differences underneath, that impact the way websites and web applications display and behave across different browsers. Due to this reason, when a web application or software is in the process of being completed, it is a good practice to conduct cross-browser testing.
Cross-browser testing is a technique of testing web applications across multiple browsers. It tests whether the application is working perfectly across all the browsers as expected and degrades gracefully.
But why do different browsers respond differently in the first place?
Each browser has a different rendering engine, which means that they have different rules on how the browser should work, making them read and display content differently. Pair that with different devices and systems, and there is an infinite number of ways to experience the web. This gets more difficult because, most of the time, developers only work on a single machine, which means they are only seeing the end result in one configuration.
Why is it Important?
Cross-browser testing has become more important than ever before. The process that was once used only by the most complex projects has now become mainstream. As more and more people create websites, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to have a really professional website. But, what if the end-user is using Internet Explorer? You don’t want to leave them out. Even more, with the rise of responsive web design, having a responsive website that works is all browsers has become incredibly hard.
There are many browsers currently operating in the market, each with multiple versions. With every new version of the browser, it becomes difficult to check if your site is supported by that version. Cross-browser testing tools make it easy to test your site on multiple browsers and their multiple versions. Some of the widely used browsers include-
- Android Default Browser
- UC Browser
The percentage of usage and market share may differ based on the region. An organization should make sure that most of these browsers are supported.
Features Analyzed in a Cross-browser Test
You can categorize the features that will undergo testing like this:
- Base Functionality – It ensures that the basic functionality works on most of the browser-OS combinations
- Design – This ensures that the websites appearance- fonts, images, and layout matches the specifications shared by the design team
- Accessibility – accounts for compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to enable differently-abled users to access the website
- Responsiveness – Verifies that design is fluid and fits different screen sizes/orientations
With the help of Cross-browser testing a company can provide the best experience possible to all the customers. While it’s often one of the biggest pain points for development and QA teams, it is worth spending the time to make sure you’re covering all major browsers you support. Even if the majority of your users are accessing your site on one browser, make sure all major features and components are functional on less popular browsers. If you say you support a browser, make sure you actually do proper testing on that browser to avoid any surprises.
If your website application or software needs cross-browser testing, then we at 99tests would be more than happy to help you with it. Click here to sign up as a client and explore more about cross-browser testing or mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org or for any other queries, you can start a live chat with us.