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All Web Browsers Are Not Created Equal – The Importance of Cross Browser Testing

  •  8-26-2015
Performance

Nothing is worse than building a website that looks and functions perfectly in one browser, only to find that it is non-functional in another browser. This is often the case for many web developers and designers.

Web browsers perform differently for various reasons. Some work for a specific operating system, some are not updated to keep up with the latest versions of HTML or CSS, and some lack features that are necessary for a good user experience.

With so many web browsers to choose from on so many platforms, web users could more than likely view an inoperable version of your website. This is what makes cross browser testing essential for all websites.

Why You Should Perform Cross Browser Testing

A website that works properly in one browser is bound to have issues in another browser. This is because many components that run in some web browsers such as JavaScript, Applets, AJAX, and more can produce different results based upon the browser they are operating in. Not only do desktop versions of browsers require testing, but you must also test browsers used on mobile and tablet devices. With more users browsing from their mobile devices, it is critical to ensure your website functions properly across multiple devices.

The Consequences of Not Testing Properly

If you only do cross-browser testing for web browsers you have immediate access to, you will run into various issues. One huge issue is a poor user experience. When web users land on your website and it isn’t functioning or displaying properly, they will click away and move on. This increases your website’s bounce rate and can affect how your website ranks in the search engines. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who land on your website and click away after visiting only one page. Some search engines take this into account when ranking a website.

Another major issue is the loss of potential new customers and sales. When users are viewing a broken version of your website, they are less likely to buy a product or sign-up to a subscription form. You never know what browser, operating system, or mobile device a user is using at any given moment. That is why it is so important to ensure your website functions properly across as many browsers and mobile/tablet devices as possible.

How to Perform Cross Browser Testing

The main way most people perform cross-browser testing is by having various web browsers installed on their local machine. Depending on the operating system you have installed on your local machine, you are only able to test browsers for that particular operating system. You would also need desktop computers that run other operating systems such as OS X and Linux. The most used operating systems are Windows and OS X (Mac). As you can see, browser testing is a hassle if you do not have immediate access to other operating systems.

The same goes for mobile and tablet devices. You would need access to various types of smartphones and tablets. Many people resort to only testing on the most common mobile phone operating systems such as Android and iOS. However, a website can still render differently across various devices.

A Better Way to Test

There is a much easier way to perform cross-browser testing with more accurate results. A cross-browser testing service allows you to perform live testing of your website across all of the latest (and older) versions of browsers on various operating systems, including mobile and tablet devices. You can receive screenshots that show you how your website displays on each browser and device. Best of all, it can all be done right from your local machine.

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