Cross Browser Testing: What it is and why it’s important

Mar 13th, 2023 | Vijay Gurnani

Any successful software development project must have a rigorous QA procedure, and cross browser testing is one of its key elements. In order to give users the greatest experience possible, it is your role as a QA engineer to make sure that your software runs without a hitch on all browsers. In this article, we'll explore the importance of cross browser testing and why it's an essential tool in a QA engineer's toolbox.

What is Cross Browser Testing

Cross browser testing is the process of verifying that a website or web application is functional and displays correctly across different web browsers and their versions.

Different web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Internet Explorer, may interpret HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code differently, leading to variations in the appearance and functionality of a website or web application. Cross browser testing ensures that the website or web application works correctly and consistently across all targeted browsers and their versions, providing a better user experience for all users.

Cross browser testing can be performed manually or using automated testing tools. Testing can involve checking for compatibility issues related to layout, fonts, images, links, forms, scripts, and other web elements. It can also involve verifying the functionality of advanced features, such as AJAX, drag-and-drop, multimedia, and responsive design.

Types of Cross Browser Testing

The main purpose of cross browser testing is to ensure that users have a consistent and positive experience regardless of which browser or device they use. Here are some types of cross browser testing:

  • Functional Testing: This type of testing is focused on testing the functionality of the website or application on different web browsers and devices.
  • Visual Testing: This entails visually contrasting the website or application on several web browsers to make sure that the design and layout are consistent.
  • Compatibility Testing: This type of testing is focused on ensuring that the website or application works correctly on different operating systems and devices.
  • Performance Testing: The purpose of performance testing is to assess the speed and responsiveness of a website or application on various web browsers and devices.
  • Regression Testing: Regression testing is focused on testing the website or application on various web browsers after making changes or updates to make sure the changes do not affect the functionality.

Process of Cross Browser Testing

Cross browser testing, whether manual or automated, has a plethora of options to help you save time, reduce costs, and improve the overall quality of your site or application. Here is the standard process of cross browser testing:

  • Determine which browsers and devices to test: Knowing which browsers and devices your target audience is using to access your website is crucial. You can use analytics tools to identify the most popular browsers and devices that your audience is using.
  • Develop a test plan: Create a plan that outlines what you'll be testing, which browsers and devices you'll use, and the criteria you'll use to evaluate the results.
  • Set up your testing environment: Create virtual machines, use cloud-based testing platforms, or set up a physical lab of devices to use for testing. Ensure that each environment is configured properly.
  • Test the website or application: Use the selected browsers and devices to browse the website or application, checking for functionality, performance, and visual consistency.
  • Log issues and document results: Keep track of any issues you encounter during testing and document the results. Be sure to include the browser and device used, a description of the issue, and the steps to reproduce the issue.
  • Prioritize and fix issues: Prioritize the issues you've identified and work to fix them. Test again after each fix to ensure that the changes have resolved the issue.
  • Retest: Repeat the testing process as necessary, ensuring that the website or application functions as expected on all targeted browsers and devices.
  • Release: Once testing is complete and all issues have been resolved, release the website or application to production.

By following the above steps, you can help ensure that your website or application functions as expected across all targeted browsers, devices, and operating systems.

Best Practices for Cross Browser Testing

Now that we know the types of cross browser testing and its process, let's check out some best practices:

  • Determine the scope of testing: Choose the browsers and devices you wish to test before you begin with cross browser testing. When choosing which browsers and devices to test, you can give the most widely used ones priority or take your target market into account.
  • Use automated testing tools: You may test your website across several browsers and devices at once using automated testing tools like BrowserStack, CrossBrowserTesting, or Sauce Labs. With the help of these tools, you can spot problems quickly and more easily than doing so manually.
  • Test on actual devices: Emulators and simulators are only capable of simulating browser and hardware behavior. It's crucial to test on actual devices to make sure your website displays and functions properly on different devices.
  • Test different versions of browsers: Different versions of browsers can display web pages differently. Test your website on different versions of popular browsers to ensure compatibility.
  • Test for performance: Run tests to see how well your website works in various browsers and on various devices. Ensure that your website loads swiftly and functions properly on all devices.
  • Create a testing checklist: List all the browsers, devices, and functionalities you want to test. This will make sure you don't overlook any crucial test cases.
  • Test frequently: Cross browser testing is an ongoing process, so it's important to test frequently, especially when you make changes to your website.
  • Document and track issues: Document and track all issues and bugs you find during testing. This will help you identify trends and patterns and prioritize issues for fixing.
  • Collaborate with your team: Cross browser testing requires teamwork, make sure that everyone on your team is informed of the testing process and results by working together. This will help you identify and fix issues quickly.

Why should you consider Cross Browser Testing?

Previously, there were only a few browsers available, and they were mostly found on desktops. Today's users, however, use a variety of devices - from desktop and laptop to smartphones and tablets - and there are currently too many browsers and browser versions to count. Furthermore, to keep up with the surge of mobile and desktop internet consumption, design and development have adopted agile methodology. As a result, cross browser testing has become an essential process in web development to ensure that your website or web application works properly across different browsers and devices. The following are some reasons why you should consider cross browser testing:

  • User experience: Different browsers have different rendering engines, which can cause variations in how a website or web application looks and behaves. Cross browser testing helps ensure that users have a consistent and optimal experience, regardless of the browser they are using.
  • Market share: Different browsers have different market shares, meaning that a website or web application that works perfectly on one browser may not work as well on another. Cross browser testing helps ensure that your website or web application is accessible to the largest possible audience.
  • Detect bugs and errors: Because different browsers read HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in different ways, there may be bugs and errors that are specific to a particular browser. Cross browser testing helps identify and fix these issues before they become major problems.
  • Brand reputation: A website or web application that performs erratically in some browsers might hurt your brand reputation and drive away potential customers. Cross browser testing helps ensure that your website or web application is professional and reliable.

Overall, cross browser testing is crucial for providing a top-notch user experience, reaching the widest possible audience, detecting bugs and errors quickly, and upholding a strong brand reputation.

Final Thoughts

A great user experience is essential given the range of devices and operating systems accessible today. No matter what device, operating system, or browser your users use, cross browser testing may help them have a consistent experience with your website or web app. By performing Cross Browser testing, you can improve customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty. At Initialyze, we have extensive experience in implementing effective Quality Testing processes. We have helped several large enterprises in successfully implementing quality testing using various technologies. Are you seeking support or guidance with Cross Browser testing? Get in touch with our QA experts today to find out how we can enhance your testing processes!