Browser Testing Used to be Simple

In the early 2000s, in order to test their work on different browser versions, developers would have to use different computers. With the rise in popularity of mobile smart phones and tablets came the need for websites to be adaptable to a much larger variety of screens. By 2012, responsive web design was in full swing. Developers started buying new and collecting old mobile devices so that they could test the site on a wide range of browser versions. But as more and more mobile devices hit the market it started becoming impossible to test their websites on every version possible.

You Can’t Keep Up

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For a while there, it was like trying to eat the whole elephant in one bite. I found myself only testing on the latest version of the browsers on my machine, and then asking my co-workers to look at the website on their various devices. It's true, we started collecting quite the amalgamation of mobile devices at the office, too. While this seemed like a good idea, I quickly realized that we were missing very large gaps in our browser testing, and inevitably the website would be viewed by a browser/OS/platform combination that we didn't test for. We had no way of seeing the problem unless they sent us screenshots, and then we were simply shooting in the dark on how to fix the problem. I tried browser emulators and got more frustrated with how unreliable the results were.

CrossBrowserTesting


Then I found CrossBrowserTesting through CodePen, and they had real devices that I could have remote access to! I signed up and started using CrossBrowserTesting and integrating it with our various QA processes. Here we are, three years later, and I don’t know what I would do without CrossBrowserTesting! There are a few other companies now that have real device testing, but from the few that I have tested, CBT still has the largest range of browsers, browser versions, operating systems, and platforms choose from. There are no gimmicky layouts or settings, and the support team is really helpful when you run into a jam. Want to know more about why we choose CrossBrowserTesting? Check it out below!

Screenshots

The first thing we do is run the site through "Screenshots." CrossBrowserTesting allows you to select from the long list of browsers and run the site through its robust automated system. This process will take screenshots of the site and compare the screenshots between each other - and the coolest part about this feature is that it will actually LIST OUT the differences between the screenshots and how the website (or app) is rendering. This makes it extremely easy to spot layout issues in certain browsers. From there, you can view the site on that browser, retake the screenshot, or share the screenshot with your team or client. Usually after we run the site through Screenshots we can catch and fix about 75-100% of all of the bugs. After you fix a bug for one you can retake the screenshot for that browser and confirm the but is fixed, but we suggest running the site through all of your browsers again if you make any changes - one browser could be fixed while another could have a new issue.

Live Testing

Sometimes we need to dive a little deeper and test on particular devices running a certain browser version (this would happen if we see in Google Analytics that a certain browser/OS combination has the majority share of page views). When this comes up, we will use Live Testing which allows you to select from 1500+ browsers and actually port into that OS. You can do everything from Live Testing that you could as if you are viewing the site on your computer or mobile device! There have been times when a clients notices a bug which we can’t reproduce. After asking them the OS version and browser version we can pull up the same browser environment and fix the bug with ease.


That Sums it Up

Browser testing is one of those items that SO many companies overlook. Investing in a sweet tool like CrossBrowserTesting will not only streamline your entire quality assurance process, but it will help you end up with a website or app that functions and renders beautifully in all of the important browsers (while offering great fall-back solutions for "failing gracefully" in older, outdated, un-supported browsers). 

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