Mastering Cross Browser Testing: Tips and Best Practices

Testing

In the current scenario of digitalization, a website is the front card for any organization or company. Users must visit a company website to check what it’s all about and its services. So, your website must be more and more user-friendly, providing a smooth and hassle-free experience. If not, the users get shifted to others similar for their needs. 

So, a website should be easily compatible with all kinds of web browsers and their versions because you can not restrict the crowd to using only a specific web browser. To meet this requirement, cross-browser testing is done. Cross browser testing is a type of testing to verify if an application works across different browsers as expected and degrades effectively. 

In this article, you will see what cross-browser testing is, why we need it, its prerequisites, and best practices for cross-browser testing, which will help you master it.

What is Cross Browser Testing?

Cross Browser testing is a type of non-functional testing that allows the QA team and developers to make a website compatible with different types of web browsers and their versions. It is also known as browser testing. Cross-browser testing ensures the compatibility of the website, and it should be accessed through:

  • Various browser and operating system combinations.
  • Different types of devices such as mobile, tablets, desktops, etc.
  • Assistive Tools such as screen readers for individuals who are differently abled.

Cross-browser testing can be performed using both physical and cloud-based tools like LambdaTest. Performing on the cloud has many advantages, such as saving time, costs less, less human effort, etc.

LambdaTest is a cutting-edge platform that utilizes AI to execute and coordinate tests. It empowers developers and testers to effortlessly perform automation testing on a wide range of real browsers and operating system combinations, totaling over 3000+.

It is a robust cloud testing platform designed to streamline and enhance the automation testing process for developers and testers. One of its key strengths lies in its ability to automate complex and uncertain scenarios, providing a reliable solution for addressing various testing requirements.

What sets LambdaTest apart is its ability to go beyond the ordinary, making it an invaluable tool for tackling intricate testing scenarios. With its user-friendly interface and advanced features, teams can seamlessly automate tests, ensuring efficient and effective testing across different browsers and operating systems. In essence, LambdaTest is a versatile and powerful ally for anyone looking to optimize their automation testing processes.

Prerequisites for Cross-Browser Testing

Cross-browser testing is critical in the whole software application development process. Some pointers must be taken care of before starting the cross-browser testing process. Let us see them one by one briefly.

  • Choose Critical Scenario

Choosing the critical test scenario involves selecting all the important and high-priority test scenarios. Then, we can test the rest of the test scenarios. You can choose the test cases based on various factors such as business requirements, functionality priority, UI usage, etc.

  • Selecting the Environment

As we know, the testing team is more responsible for cross-browser testing activities. Their task also includes executing the same test cases on many platforms and browser combinations. It helps them to ensure the browser functionalities and features are working well. They check the compatibility of the application across other browsers. If any error or malfunction is found, the QA team raises defects, and the development team fixes them.

  • Operating System

Before starting cross-browser testing, you must make sure what the different types of operating systems are on which your users are going to use a specific software application. This helps to make an efficient and more compatible software application. They may use various operating systems such as Windows, Android, macOS, etc.

  • Device

Before starting the cross-browser testing, the testing also needs to check which platform our user will access our application- desktop, mobile, tablet, smart TV, laptop, etc.

Manual vs Automated Cross-Browser Testing

Website browser or cross-browser testing can be performed using two different methods. The first one is manual, which involves more human efforts to execute the testing process, and the second one is automated cross-browser testing, which involves more automated tools and technologies to execute the cross-browser testing. Let us see them in the below section and learn how they differ.

Manual Cross-Browser Testing

As the name suggests, manual cross-browser testing is testing websites or software applications against various types of web browsers and their versions using more human effort and very few or no automated tools. Small enterprises and organizations prefer manual cross-browser testing, but still, the sheer amount of human interaction required to test every aspect as precisely as nearly 100% is beyond one’s means.

In manual cross-browser testing, the testing team manually looks for defects in the website or software application by following a written test plan consisting of various test cases. To get the best testing output in manual cross-browser testing, one needs a QA tester with an eye for detail and a proactive approach. Manual testing can deliver high performance when the testing team members have a deeper understanding of technical and business use case aspects of the website & app. 

To perform manual cross-browser testing, you must install some browsers and operating systems on many systems and mobile devices. After that, you need to manually execute the same test cases in each environment to get the testing result and see if the website is cross-browser compatible.

Automated Cross-Browser Testing

When you perform cross-browser testing, your website must be tested against many web browsers and their versions. It’s like a huge task to perform them one by one manually. So, here comes the use of Automated cross-browser testing. Automated cross-browser testing is testing websites or software applications against various types of web browsers and their versions using more automated tools and technologies rather than manual efforts, which is a very time-consuming task.

For a big organization, automated cross-browser testing is the only option left. Because they need to perform rigorous browser testing for their website to ensure its features and functionalities are compatible with most web browsers that people use these days. The automated tool helps to perform cross-browser testing easily with much less effort and reduces the task of repeatedly writing test cases.

Automated cross-browser testing tools help to execute testing on real-time devices with different resolutions, configurations, and browsers. These automated tools also support visual testing, functional testing, regression testing, etc. They allow CI/CD integration and parallel testing. All these advanced and automated cross-browser testing features help execute the testing efficiently in less time and cost.

Getting Started with Cross-Browser Testing

Let us go through a comprehensive list for starting the cross-browser testing.

Optimize the Older and Rarely Used Browsers

Browser compatibility should be evaluated for both new and older versions of web browsers and for the popular browsers that users have not updated and do not support JS or CSS features. For example, Internet Explorer (IE) is not used much now, but some users may use this web browser. This case should also be handled. 

Test at Early Stage

You should be concerned about cross-browser testing at the early stage of the development process. You can use Unit testing early when you create a single website page. This will help the QA team in fixing the errors and bugs at an early stage. Once the application is ready, proper functional and visual testing should occur.

Browser Priority

You can check the browser priority and their usage and make a list of that. The QA team can sort them based on risks and usage. For example, there are top 4-5 browsers that have minimum risks to the application, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. Perform cross-browser testing for most risky browsers, then medium, and later for least risk browsers by changing the screen size, resolutions, etc. Fix whatever bugs you encounter during these three steps. Now, repeat these three steps until you do not find any more issues.

Future Scope

The testing technique should handle the expansion that may occur in the future. Also, the number of users will increase and should be taken care of during the browser testing only to reduce future risks. For example, mobile users are expected to rise dramatically in the upcoming years. Therefore, this must be taken into account when you perform cross-browser testing.

Best Practices for Cross-Browser Testing

Given below are the best practices for mastering cross-browser testing.

Making a Browser Matrix

Making a browser matrix is making a list of various web browsers and their versions for which we will test our project. Because not all your applications may be compatible with all web browsers and their versions. Many functions and CSS properties are not supported in all the older browser versions. So, building a browser matrix helps to make a pre-plan for executing your cross-browser testing.

Emulators and Virtual Machines

Many cloud-based software testing tools provide different emulators and virtual machines that help developers test their websites like real web browsers. These virtual machines provide an environment that is different from your existing system. Using emulators and virtual machines provides these features to test the website at a low cost and with much efficiency. 

Automation and Parallel Testing

Automating Selenium tests is essential for cross-browser testing to reduce test execution time. Executing parallel testing makes cross-browser testing full and effective, along with those other factors. For instance, if you were to run a test case that takes 10 minutes to complete in parallel, it would only take 10 minutes to test a combination of 10 distinct browsers and devices. 

Test Before Going Live

Always thoroughly check your web application and website before making them live for the public. It is very important to check your website at the local level. You can use the local server to host your website and test your application. This practice helps to get the user experience at the local level, and you can make changes based on the feedback before making your website live publicly.

Conclusion

The QA team uses cross-browser testing to ensure a website works across browsers and versions. In this article, you have seen what website testing is, how to perform it, and its various aspects. I hope you can get a brief idea about mastering cross-browser testing after reading this article. 

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