Developing a website requires a lot of resources such as time and money. Once your website is complete you want everyone to be able to visit and enjoy your hard work, but what happens to your site when opened in a different browser than it was created in? Are your images cut off the screen? Or does the text animation you spent days working on not work? How could you possibly know what your user’s experience will be on your site? Cross-Browser testing allows you to test your site across varying browsers and operating systems to ensure your website works as expected no matter where your users are viewing it.
When should you use cross-browser testing?
Testing your site before launch will ensure your users have the best experience once your site becomes live. It can also be helpful to test your website after any new themes or designs are added to an existing site, to make sure the new changes behave as you expect.
How to do cross-browser testing.
With so many operating systems and browsers how do you know which ones to test? Testing them all individually is possible but would take too much time. This is where statistics from Google Analytics can be extremely useful, as they can tell you which operating systems and browsers your visitors frequently use. As shown in the example below most users view our site with Windows and Internet Explorer respectively.
Once you determine which browsers and operating systems you should test the next step is to run tests using a cross-browser testing tool. There are multiple tools out there for this purpose, including free and paid versions. A cross-browser testing tool will take a snapshot of what your website looks like using specific OS and browser. So you may see your site through your user’s eyes. For the remainder of this example, we are going to use Browserling as the cross-browser testing tool of choice.
Testing is as simple as entering your URL, selecting your operating system and browser then clicking the Test now button. When using the free version of most testing tools you will be entered into a queue and it may take a while.
Review your results:
Once your results are collected review them for any errors or inconsistencies. If you are running WordPress with a responsive WordPress Theme, chances are most of your screenshots will look similar. In cases where there are differences between browsers check to see if it impacts the user’s experience and adjust the content accordingly. Most inconsistencies between browsers relate back to your WordPress theme’s CSS. This may be challenging for the novice designer and you may want to consider hiring a developer to fix them. Digital Web Leprechauns are here to help. Don’t forget to test your site again if you made any changes.
Browser testing may take time, but it is time well spent and your users will thank you by returning again and again.