If the website is not compatible with a particular browser, users might experience functionality issues that could cause that user to leave the website or shift to a different one. That could be a negative impact on business and brand reputation. Also, sometimes it excludes users from getting access to the site.
This tutorial will dive deep into browser compatibility testing. It will help you understand what leads to cross browser compatibility issues, why businesses can’t afford to slack off on browser compatibility, and the right way of cross browser testing.
Digitalization has grown dramatically over the last two decades. In 1998 there were 2.4 million websites and 147 million active users, which shot up to 1.94 billion active websites on the internet and 5.07 billion active internet users, which is almost 63.1% of the global population.
And those active users use the internet or open web content from 3000+ browsers, OS, or devices. So the primary concern is whether users see your website exactly how you want.
Web development led to various technologies that were used to create different tools or browsers to render the content on the web. Unfortunately, these technologies are not compatible with each other sometimes. And that is the reason why the same website could run differently on different browsers. That's why terms called Cross browser compatibility came to exist.
One of the developer's tasks is to give the same user experience across all existing browsers. So each browser and its rendering engine interpret the same website differently. So the website has a cross browser compatibility if interpreted correspondingly through every web environment.
In 1994, Netscape launched the first version of its browser, dominating the whole market until its competitor, Internet Explorer, arrived. It was the first official browser war. After that, Opera and many other browsers launched, but IE dominated the market.
In 2003, Apple launched Safari; Now, Apple was offering its browser instead of Netscape, which they used earlier. In 2004 Mozilla launched an open-source browser named Firefox, and in 2008 Google launched Chrome; after that, Internet Explorer could not retain its market.
IE never followed W3C guidelines, so the website built in the IE era started showing problems while rendering in different browsers. This is what led to browser compatibility issues.
Every business wants to expand digitally. Cross browser compatibility is the means to ensure enterprises give a seamless experience to every consumer, irrespective of which device or browser they use to browse the web. Users can visit the website from any browser, browser version, device, or OS.
Browser usage is dependent on geolocation as well. For example, the most popular browsers worldwide are Chrome, Safari, and Edge. So you might think those are the only browser you need to take care of. However, that data could be misleading for your website, while launching in China.
As you can see in the data, the UC Browser has only 0.83% of the market share worldwide, but in China, it is significantly high, perhaps equal to Safari.
Also, if a specific web element is not working on some browsers, it could give users a bad experience that increases the ‘bounce rate’ of the website and affects the overall ranking on the browser.
To understand it better, you have to understand about browser and its workflow.
Browsers are software that allows users to interact with content stored on World Wide Web. So to understand browser compatibility issues, it's mandatory to know how browsers and rendering engines work.
There is a common workflow for any browser, as mentioned below:
For websites, hundreds of technologies work on the back end, like Python, Ruby, etc. However, any website comprises three significant languages, and those are:
And those languages are the reason each render engines render a website differently.
There is some issue you can take care of while making websites:
There are many linters exist online for HTML, CSS and Java such as Dirty Markup, CSS Lint, etc.
List of CSS elements that Google Chrome’s new versions do not support
Learn more about Cross browser compatibility issues.
Here are some points you can keep in mind to make the website browser compatible:
Here you can learn more about how to make your website Browser compatible.
You have learned about browsers, compatibility issues, and what can make your website browser compatible. But once a website is done, testing it for various browsers, devices, and OS is essential. That is known as cross browser testing.
Cross browser testing is essential. If a website is incompatible with any web environment, it could give a bad experience to users. And one study from Zendesk shows that 50% of customer shift to a different product due to negative user experiences.
A website can be tested manually and automatic also. A manual test is where the tester checks each web element manually, and in automation testing, For automation tester writes a test script and uses automation tools to execute tests.
The right tool and framework for browser compatibility testing make your test execution smoother and faster. There are various open-source testing frameworks like Selenium, Playwright, Cypress, etc. LambdaTest is the internet's best Cross browser testing tool for automation testing.
To perform cross browser testing, you have to research and plan for it. What is your TG? Which browsers are you using? cross browser testing aims to find bugs and check website sanity. Usually, the whole process of testing divides into three steps:
Usually, during browser testing, 80% of browsers contain 20% of bugs while 20% of the rest contain 80%, so prioritizing browsers is necessary. Here are two things to keep in mind while strategizing browsers:
If the bug is solved in a high-risk browser, it will automatically be solved in low or medium-risk browsers. After prioritizing the browsers, you must strategize your browser testing for different test scenarios.
Here is the strategy to make cross browser testing faster and easier:
Select browser and test scenario: Do the study about the browser as discussed above and for the test scenario, perform a test for the most critical scenario first. Consider factors like time requirement, test data analysis, and tools for executing a test. In critical scenarios, bug probability is higher, and the tester can hand it over to developers to resolve.
Virtual machines and emulators: It is a good idea to set up a virtual environment with different browser settings and its own version of the operating system. To mimic other browsers, you can use add-ons or browser extensions when testing websites across different browser and OS combinations; emulators and virtual machines are the best options for resolving cross-browser compatibility concerns.
Mobile first approach: Mobile usage is rising, So it's necessary to check website compatibility for mobile devices as well. Testing the website's compatibility on actual mobile devices is the optimum solution. The testing and development team frequently uses emulators from outside sources.
Automation and parallel test execution: Manual tests require lots of human effort and involve repetitive tasks and human errors. Instead, automation frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, and Playwright can help run the test automatically for all possible scenarios. Parallel testing helps to cut off test execution time by executing the test on multiple browsers and multiple devices at the same time.
Those were the steps to strategies browser smartly and effectively. That's how you can perform cross browser tests with high-impact and robust results.
You can leverage the speed of testing, and with LambdaTest cloud, which is the fastest and most efficient cross browser testing platform, where you can test browser compatibility across 3000+ browsers, OS, and combinations:
Digital world is constantly changing and updating; every year, new versions, devices, OS, and new technologies keep launching. In new versions, many elements could be deprecated, and many elements that were previously unsupported in the different browsers might become cross browser compatible. To ensure that cross browser testing is important.
Here you learned about browser compatibility, its importance, and some general issues and solutions. Further, you learned about cross browser testing and strategies to execute it effectively. We mentioned various blogs to learn about each topic in depth. We hope this tutorial gives a better understanding of browser compatibility, You can also learn about various automation testing, such as selenium, Cypress, and Appium, on the LambdaTest YouTube channel
The ability of a particular website to seem completely functioning on various browsers that are offered on the market is referred to as browser compatibility.This implies that the HTML coding of the website and any scripts on it must be compatible with browser functionality.
Your website's visitors will have the best experience when your web designer makes sure that it is browser compatible. Visitors will leave your page more quickly if the site is not functioning properly. Additionally, they might visit a website owned by a rival.
Browser compatibility means that your website can be effectively 'translated' via a specific browser or operating system, allowing it to be accessed and fully functional for a user. A website may work flawlessly in one browser but have issues and errors in others.
Developers can use feature detection support to test newer technologies and provide fallbacks for browsers that do not support those technologies. Modernizr is useful because it makes it simple to determine whether or not a new feature is compatible with the browser.
Outdated browsers generally create browser incompatibility issues, so updating your browser and updating your operating system can resolve some incompatibility issues. Clear cache and cookies and disable extensions and add-ons as well, sometimes they also can cause browser incompatibility.