The Benefits of Automating Cross-Browser Testing

Oct 20, 2022 | Test Automation Insights

Nowadays, web visitors don’t only consider the usefulness of a website but base their decision to stay or leave the site on the layout, design, and functionality. A significant portion of visitors abandon a website with poor functionality or confusing navigation, making functionality and user experience top priorities for website designers. 

The importance of top-notch user experiences has mandated cross-browser testing to ensure that a website renders and functions well on different browsers and different versions of the same browsers.

In the past, cross-browser testing was a tedious and time-consuming process conducted manually. It is no longer the case with the advent of automation tools that make it possible to test websites on different browsers with just a few clicks.

Here’s an overview of cross-browser testing and the benefits of automating the process. Keep reading to learn how to integrate automation into your current browser testing workflow.

What Is Cross-Browser Testing?

Cross-browser testing evaluates how a website or web application functions across different browsers. Doing this is essential because each browser interprets and renders HTML, CSS, and JavaScript differently, so what works in one might not work in another.

Cross-browser testing helps ensure that your site or app will work as intended for all users, regardless of the browser they use to access it. In addition, it lets you check the functionality of your website when visitors access it through different tools and combinations, as below:

  • Browser-OS Combination: Since different browsers are running on various operating systems (OS), it’s essential to test how your site or app works across all the primary combinations, such as Chrome on Windows 11 and Safari on macOS.
  • Browser Versions: Just because a website looks and works fine in the latest browser version doesn’t mean it will do the same in an older version. Cross-browser testing lets you check if your website works efficiently in different browser versions, such as Internet Explorer 11, Edge 18, etc.
  • Different Devices: In addition to various browsers and operating systems, people also access the internet from many devices, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Assistive Tools: A cross-browser test lets you determine if your website is compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies for differently-abled individuals.

Cross-browser checking or testing is crucial because even a tiny inconsistency can impact the user experience. Therefore, identifying and fixing such issues is essential before making your website or web application live.

Suppose you visit a website using your mobile device. You notice that the pictures are not loading, the text is not aligned correctly, and the buttons are not working. You think to yourself, “This website is terrible.”

Now, imagine the same thing happening to someone who visits your website.

They land on your page, only to find that it’s not loading correctly. They see errors everywhere and eventually give up and leave. On the one hand, it lowers your website’s retention rate. On the other hand, it pushes you further down in search engine results because of the high bounce rate.

5 Benefits of Automated Cross-Browser Tests

Automation is becoming common in almost every industry and niche as it can save time and improve efficiency. The same applies to cross-browser checking too.

But should you automate testing your web applications’ functionality on different browser versions, devices, and operating systems? Let these benefits help you decide.

Tests Functionality of Popular Browsers

Google Chrome, Safari, and Edge are common browsers. Since most people use these browsers, it is essential to test the functionality of your web application on them. Automated cross-browser tests can help you do that quickly and efficiently.

You would need different machines or devices for manually testing your web application on various browsers. Even if you have access to the required hardware, it will take more time, energy, and effort.

Instead, if you automate the process, you can focus your energies on other tasks, such as improving the shortcomings in your website or web app.

Reduces the Cost of Manual Testing

Let’s say you want to test how your web app works on Chrome, Safari, Edge, or Firefox. Then, you’ll want to assess how it works on different browser versions.

All of this can eat up a lot of time for development teams. At the same time, it would cost a lot of money since you need different devices and machines to test your web app on a multitude of browsers.

With automated cross-browser testing, you wouldn’t need different devices or machines. All you need is a single computer with the right software and configuration. Thus, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Increases Accuracy of the Testing Process

If you manually test cross-browser compatibility or functionality, there’s always room for human error. For instance, you may forget to check a particular browser or device.

Automated testing allows you to ensure all the browsers and devices included in your test suite are free of relevant issues. In addition, using the best practices for automated browser testing increases the accuracy of your testing process and helps you ensure that no browser or device is left out.

Reduces the Workload and Manual Tests Done by Your Testing Team

The amount of work required already overburdens development teams. They must work on the code, fix bugs, and ensure that new features don’t break the existing functionality. The time required to perform checks manually and the propensity for inaccuracies when using a manual process will further bog down the already overburdened team.

So, reducing the quantity of manual testing they have to do will free up their time to work on other tasks. That’s where automated cross-browser testing comes in handy.

Automating the process can help reduce the workload for your development teams. One, it gives them enough time to focus on other things, such as fixing bugs. Two, it reduces the risk of human error since they’re not overworked. Three, it increases productivity by not bogging them down with manual tasks.

Offers You a Competitive Advantage

When you have to check different operating systems, browser combinations, compatibility with assistive technologies, and functionality of your web app on various devices, the process can quickly become overwhelming. You may be able to do it manually the first time, but what if there’s a new update?

By automating the process, you can quickly test your web app on different browsers and devices without having to do it manually each time. Automated testing will give you a competitive advantage over those who don’t automate their cross-browser testing processes.

It saves time, reduces resource consumption, rids your development teams of menial tasks, eliminates the risk of human error, and increases accuracy. What else could you need to ensure your target audience has a remarkable digital experience?

How You Can Implement Automated Testing Into Your Current Workflow

So you no longer want to spend excessive time and money on manual cross-browser testing. How do you automate the process for a consistent experience for your users?

The first step is to choose the best tool for the job. There are a few paid and open source cross-browser testing tools to consider. When choosing a testing tool, look for the following:

  • Support for Major Browsers: How many real browsers can the tool test? It would be best if you opted for a tool that can test almost all major browsers, especially those that generate most of your traffic.
  • Third-Party Integration: Does the tool integrate with Jenkins, Nightwatch, and other existing systems? Continuous integration is a must-have to ensure you can use the results and insights from the testing tool to make changes to the web application.
  • Technical Support: The tool should also come with technical support. If you get stuck, you should be able to reach out for help.
  • Reporting: Does the tool generate detailed reports of the test results that are easy to understand? You’ll need these to determine the fixes your web app requires.
  • Parallel Testing: To test many environment combinations, you must choose a tool with parallel testing capability. You’ll find this feature in most cloud-based tools.

Since you have a current workflow, you’ll probably also have a strategy highlighting the browser combinations, operating systems, and devices you want to test. Replace your manual practices with the cross-browser testing tool, and you’re ready.

Streamline Your Testing With an Automation Tool

Whether you want to check your website for compatibility with assistive technologies or need to check its functionality on different browser combinations, automating the testing process is the best way to save time and money while getting accurate results. 

Ranorex is a comprehensive solution that offers automated cross-browser testing for various browsers and devices. With the Ranorex tool, you can test web applications on any desktop or mobile browser, whether a popular browser or obscure.

The tool provides continuous integration with TestRail, Jenkins, and other DevOps tools to speed up your release cycles and automate bug tracking. Get in touch with our team to learn how Ranorex can automate cross-browser testing for your web applications.

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