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Introduction to cross browser testing: Why is it important?

When creating online content, web developers need to consider a massive number of variables. One of the most important variables is making sure that the content they’re creating is compatible with all, or at least most, web browsers. This process is called cross browser testing.

Introduction to cross browser testing: Why is it important?

What is cross browser testing?

Cross browser testing is a form of non-functional testing that allows you to see if a website is working when accessed via the following methods:

  • Various devices: Websites might load differently depending on the device being used, so it can be useful to test your site on desktops, tablets, laptops, and smartphones.
  • Various browser-OS combinations: Combining browsers like Chrome or Safari with operating systems like macOS or Windows can highlight problems and ensure that a site is accessible to all users.
  • Various assistive tools: Is the website you’re testing compatible with assistive technologies that make pages more accessible? Examples of these tools are screen readers or browser add-ons that change font size and color to improve readability.

What features are analyzed in a browser test?

Cross browser testing can be a long and arduous process where developers have to test every possible combination of keys and variables. Web developers don’t have to deliver the same experience across all browsers and platforms–it just needs to be similar. For example, on up-to-date software, the content could show an animation when hovered over with a mouse. On older browsers, the content could just be an unmoving graphic of the same animation.

When testing cross browser compatibility, here are some of the main aspects that developers need to keep in mind.

  • Accessibility for everyone. The website or content shown needs to stay within Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG. These guidelines were set in place by the World Wide Web Consortium, which set the standard for internet organization. The content created needs to be accessible to those who may not be able to use a mouse or are confined to using only a keyboard.
  • Design. Web developers are provided direction from creative and design teams. Is the font used uniform across all browsers and devices? Will the branding be lost when looking at the content from different platforms? Do the colors correspond correctly to the company symbolism?
  • Functionality. Every single clickable detail needs to be tested across all browsers. When it comes to smartphones and devices with touch screens, the touch input options need to match the same ability as someone with a mouse at a computer. How does the website handle cookies? Users will return more frequently to a site that remembers their preferences.

How are browsers chosen for testing?

Due to the mass of different browsers that are found online, it would be a long and difficult task of testing every browser/platform/operating system combination. Therefore, it’s up to the web developer to cast the widest net possible and test browsers that the majority of people use.

If a more personable approach is required from the design and creative teams, the web developers need to consult analytics to zero in on a target audience better. For example, a website that specializes in Android apps doesn’t need much compatibility with those on iOS or other Apple devices. The analytics could also show most people access the site through their mobile devices, so obviously more attention would be given to creating a seamless mobile UI experience. Security also needs to be taken into consideration. Do the browsers have good privacy options?

How is cross browser testing done?

The first step of testing websites and content across browsers is to set up baseline results that developers need all browsers to achieve. Google Chrome is typically used in this stage. Most developers will either use LambdaTest or Brownserling as their software of choice when initiating cross browser testing. Next, a test specification needs to be established. Can someone access this part of the website from all intended browsers and operating systems?

When it comes to the browser test, it can be manual but is mostly automated. By inputting a string of coding and script, developers can automate several of the same tests across multiple browsers at once. Depending on the size of the website that needs to be tested, this process can last anywhere from a handful of hours to several weeks, especially if done manually.

When is cross browser testing done?

A cross browser test is normally done during the development stages of a website’s creation. Sometimes, depending on the workflow of a company, each new addition to a website will be thoroughly tested before it goes into full production.

Otherwise, cross browser testing can also be achieved during the pre-release stage of development. Members of a quality assurance team will scour the site and its features for any bugs missed by the developers.

Cross browser testing is a necessary procedure for creating an effective website. It helps test functionality across all different browsers, and even tests security capabilities. When it comes to security, there’s no better companion than NordVPN. With your Nord account, you can access several different cybersecurity options, including the new Threat Protection Pro feature.

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