As the web is exploding, cross-browser testing has become an essential part of web development process. People now use hundreds of different devices and browsers. For example, if we look only at mobile browsers, then there are 5 different versions of iPads, 7 different versions of iPhones, and more than a 100 versions of Androids by various manufacturers. Each of these devices has a different browser. iPhone 4s browser (Safari 4) is very different from iPhone 7 browser (Safari 10). A website that works in Safari 10 is almost guaranteed not to work in Safari 4. But if we look at usage statistics, more than 10% of people still use Safari 4 on their old iPhones. If your website doesn’t work on this older device, you automatically lose 10% of visitors. If you run a business that can result in 10% less conversions, which is huge.
In this article we present 5 tips that you should follow when cross-browser testing. Here they are.
Focus only on last 5 versions of Chrome
Google has invented something called rolling binary update algorithm. This algorithm updates Chrome browser almost instantly as new updates come out. The update process takes less than a megabyte of data transfer as it’s a rolling update from old version to a new version. Rather than downloading entire new version, Chrome downloads just the changes. If a new version only added 1 feature, then only this new feature gets transferred. As a result of this genius algorithm almost everyone in the world gets Google Chrome updated to the new version in less than a month. Based on Google’s statistics the last 5 versions of Chome cover 99.9% of Chrome usage, so it’s useless to test in older Chrome versions.
Ignore IE6, IE7, and IE8
Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 is officially dead. You no longer need to test your websites in these browsers. Microsoft has officially ended support for Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8. The only versions now supported are IE9, IE10, IE11 and the new browser Edge, which is just IE11 in disguise and a new name. Internet Explorer takes more than 20% of market share so it’s important not to ignore IE9 to 11. There are many useful and free tools for Internet Explorer testing. They include Browserling, BrowserShots and IETester. All of them work great.
Don’t cross-browser test in Safari on Windows
Ignore Safari by Apple for Windows platforms. Safari for Windows is no longer supported by Apple, and the market share of Safari on Windows has dropped to less than 0.2%. Apple now only focuses on Safari for iOS, OSX and macOS. Windows is dead in Apple’s eyes and there is no point for you to waste your time and test your websites on Safari.
Don’t use latest web design trends right away
You’ve seen the latest design trends, right? Things like large background media, background videos, and hamburger menus? Don’t use these trends right away. Older browsers have no support for such rich media and animations. They will crawl to their knees from trying to render the page elements and your web page will be unusable. Older browsers make up to 60% of all browsers and you certainly don’t want to lose 60% of your visitors. It would be a ridiculous move.
Keep up to date with latest browser news
New browsers get released all the time. New operating systems get released all the time. New mobile phones get released all the time. New tablets get released all the time. I could go on here forever. What is important is that you keep up with the latest browser news and their market share. You can Google for news but that is not time effective. There is an online cross-browser testing widget that displays this information.Use it, or write your own.
I hope you found these 5 cross-browser testing tips helpful. They should save you many hours as now you’ll know dos and don’ts of web testing. There are many cross-browser testing solutions, such as Browserling, BrowseEmAll, BrowserShots, IETester, and many more. Choose the one you like best and good luck building your next killer website!