Imagine yourself as a web developer. You’re the jack of all trades and have produced multiple magnum opus projects. Now, being a responsible developer, it is your responsibility to check the functionality of all projects, not just from your end but from client-end as well. And, you should be considerate regardless of the device being used at client end, be it Macbook, Nexus, iPhone, Samsung etc. It is because viewing the same from the user’s perspective is essential. Hence, it needs to be tested.
The practice of testing an application or mobile website design, on different platforms, is called cross browser testing. The sole purpose of cross browser testing is to determine the functionality of an app or website on another platform and identify lacunae. Owing to the presence of loopholes, the app/website will often be debugged. The prime reason behind it is the susceptibility of technology. All in all, testing is a must for assuring the smooth operations. To know why it is essential, you got to read on ahead and find out.
Cross Browser Issues- The Key Reasons
There can be multiple reasons behind cross border issues. However, the prime reason is the compatibility with the browser. There are different configurations for every browser. When they aren’t met aptly, it gives birth to troubleshoot. Here’re some common reasons that advocate for this.
- Browsers often have bugs, or they execute features accordingly. This condition is much less bad than it used to be; back when IE4 and Netscape 4 were battling to be the dominant browser in the 1990s, browser companies deliberately arrange things differently to each other in an attempt to gain competitive advantage, making job harder for developers. Browsers are a lot better at living up to expectations these days, but variations and bugs still sneak through occasionally.
- Some platforms may have different types of support for the features of technology than others. This is inevitable when dealing with cutting edge features that browsers are now getting over onto integrating, or when you need to support quite old browsers that are no longer being developed, that might have been frozen (i.e. no further new work done on them a long time before a newer version has even been developed.
- Some devices can have restrictions that cause a website to function slowly, or to appear horribly. For instance, if a site was designed to look great on a desktop PC, it might look strange and be difficult to read on a smart phone. If your site has a number of large animations that might be ok on a high-spec tablet, but it might be sluggish or weak on a low-end phone.
The Workflow Funnel for Cross Browser Testing
They say that you accomplish a goal with the right set of strategies. If there are no strategies, accomplishing the goal will either be procrastinated or become hard to achieve. The same is with cross browser testing. It can be a time-consuming task if you do not perform adequate testing. Leaving with inadequate work will increase the unwanted workload and to avoid it, you should not cheat on your duties. Finding bugs will help in fixing technical lacunae and make the project successful in the market.
There are four stages through which the project cross browser testing passes. These stages are initial planning, development, testing/discovery, and iteration. Here’s an overview of every stage.
- Initial planning
In the initial development process, you are likely to have larger review meeting with the site owner/client (this could be your employer or someone from an external organization who you’ve been creating a website) wherein you discuss exactly what the website should be—what content and functionality it should have, how it should look like, etc. At this point, you’re also going to discover how much time you’ve got to build the site— what’s their deadline?, as well as how much they’re planning to spend for your work?
You could divide the various facets of the development into components, e.g. you might split the various areas of the web up—home page, product page, shopping cart, payment workflow, etc. You can further subdivide these—implement common site header and footer, ensuring effective page information view, enforce permanent shopping cart widget, etc. Also, applying some general strategies is also essential.
- Accept the fact that there will be some susceptibilities. Hence, keep an alternate solution for future bugs
- Closely observe the functionality of the browser. Using a polyfill mimic code for filling the lacuna can be of great help in fixing a majority of technological glitches
- Stay assured that your website/app might not work on some platforms. It is totally fine, so, do not stress on it
It is an essential phase that determines smooth functionality of the desktop or mobile website design. You cannot ignore this phase because it helps in identifying prospect loopholes like incomplete codes that might become a hurdle in operations. Hence, always test it on a permanent browser for identifying lacunae, use a site via a screen reader for measuring navigation smoothness, and finally, test it on an android/iOS platform. Once you are through with this phase, identifying issues and weeding will become a cakewalk.
The whole first step that needs to be done is to help determine where the bug happens as much as possible. Get as much detail as you can from the bug reporter—what platform(s), device(s), browser version(s), etc. Try utilizing common indicators used to track (e.g. the same version of the browser on various desktop platforms, or a few different versions of the same browser on the same platform) to see how commonly the bug exists.
If you’re reading this line, we applaud your precious time for perusing the write-up. Now onwards, you’ve acquired the knowledge of the key steps for performing a flawless cross browser testing. Cross-browser research is not just about ensuring websites are mobile friendly. In the end, what we’re looking to do here is get the guessing out of web design. There may be over a dozen browsers and hundreds of browser/device setups, but automated cross-browser testing will make it a lot easier to evaluate all of the other alternatives and identify bugs.