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Detailed Guide on Compatibility Testing

By Shormistha Chatterjee, Community Contributor -

Table of Contents

With the advancement of digitalization, our markets are now flooded with digital gadgets. Presently, the existing number of smartphone users globally hit by is 6.648 billion, meaning 83.32 percent of the global population owns a smartphone. This stat is up significantly from 2016 when there were just 3.668 billion users, 49.40 percent of that year’s worldwide population. 



Besides, there is also a noteworthy rise in the number of browsers and each browser has multiple version of its own.

market research report


Such statistics demand high-end compatibility testing of software applications which ensures that applications could work seamlessly across all the pioneer browsers, operating systems (OS), networks, mobile devices, and hardware. 

What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility testing is a part of non-functional testing. It is a method of examining and comparing application styles and functionality over multiple browser mobile devices, platforms, and OS (operating systems), to recognize any potential discrepancies. The compatibility of an application, system, or site is developed with a range of objects and factors, like operating systems, databases, hardware platforms, web browsers, mobile devices, users, networks, etc.

Importance of Compatibility Testing

  • A compatibility test is conducted to ensure that the concerned application can fulfill expectations concerned with various models and devices .
  • Check application compatibility with different networks, databases, browsers, hardware, devices, operating systems, etc.
  • The better way to analyze application behavior when placed in varied environments
  • Robust compatibility testing highlights workability and security features to enhance application performance
  • A convenient method to recognize bugs before the final product launch
  • Delivery of error-free software apps that can guarantee success for your business

Types of Compatibility Testing

There are two distinct kinds of compatibility testing – backward compatibility testing and forward compatibility testing.

  • Backwards Compatibility Testing 

This type of compatibility testing ensures that the latest versions of app works with older software or hardware. The backwards compatibility test is crucial to offer a constant user experience to those consumers who could be using traditional devices that may be older versions. 

  • Forward Compatibility Testing

This form of compatibility testing aims to set up the compatibility of the newest version of the software with previous or existing devices. Depending on the advancements of the feature, the app may become incompatible or inaccessible with traditional devices. Forward compatibility testing is predictable as the modifications managed in the older versions are better known.

Forward or backwards compatibility tests have quite a few sub-categories:

  1. Software tests: Software Testing ensures app compatibility with 3rd-party software that the app will interact with.
  2. Device testing: Device testing makes certain that the app functions consistently with each applicable device such as Bluetooth devices, scanners, printers, tablets, mobile devices, etc.
  3. Hardware tests: Hardware testing guarantees that the app remains compatible with all hardware.
  4. Network testing: Network testing confirms that the app can function with several forms of networks of varying bandwidths.
  5. Browser testing: Browser testing ensures that the app performs flawlessly across all famous browsers. 
  6. Version testing: Version testing confirms that the app remains compatible with earlier versions. 
  7. OS tests: OS testing ensures that the app is compatible with Linux, Mac, Windows, or other different OSs.
  8. Mobile testing: Testing makes sure that the app is compatible with all mobile gadgets belonging to iOS, Android, and other mobile OS.

Types of Bugs in Compatibility Testing 

These types of bugs are those that are happening in one platform, yet do not happen in another platform.

Usually, the compatibility bugs are UI (user interface) bugs like:

  • Alteration in UI ( look & feel)
  • Medication in a font size
  • Alignment-related problems
  • Change in color and CSS style 
  •  Scroll bar related problems
  • Content or label overlapping
  • Broken Frames or tables 

How to Perform Compatibility Testing?

The compatibility testing procedure comprises four steps:

  1. Design Test Cases & Configuration

In this phase, the QA team designs test cases and analyzes the environments, hardware, software, and platforms to discover the behavior of the software. Involving an expert team with skilled professionals could give a better understanding of compatibility testing as they will easily identify small variations in output.

1. Setting Up Environment

In this phase, the QA engineers set up the platform or the environment, where the app is expected to be validated and tested.

2. Testing Execution & Result Analysis

After setting up the platform or environment, the teams implement the test cases and scrutinize the results. The result of the test cases is examined and the bugs or the defects/discrepancies are noted to submit to the stakeholders

3. Validate and Retest

Once the outcome is generated and examined; the report is submitted to carry out the next level of scrutiny. Here, the recognized errors or defects are authenticated and resolved. Besides, the developed software application will be re-tested and re-examined to make sure that the software meets the quality with no glitches and bugs before moving it to real production.

How to perform Compatibility Testing Online Using Browserstack

Browserstack is an authentic and effective browser compatibility testing tool that smartly helps in testing the browser compatibility over 3000+ real devices and browsers.

Let us see how to run browser compatibility tests on  Windows 11 using BrowserStack.

BrowserStack provides a diverse range of real-time browsers (Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, etc counting their latest as well as legacy versions.) and real Windows Operating System versions for the specific purpose. For instance, you can test on Internet Explorer(v 6-11) straight through their web browsers irrespective of the OS you use (Windows 11, Windows 10, etc).

The complete test infrastructure is cloud-centric. This means just simply requires to:

  1. Sign up for free on BrowserStack
  2. Select the required browser-OS-version combination
  3. Begin testing.

Try BrowserStack now

Let us consider a sample scenario to perform browser compatibility test on Windows 11-Chrome. They simply require to:

1. Signup on BrowserStack Live.

2. Navigate to the Live dashboard.

3. Select the desired combination (Chrome v100 and Windows 11 in this case). Refer to the image below.

Step 3

4. The moment you choose the desired Operating System-browser combination, a new Live session is immediately generated in the browser window. 

5. Now, just enter the URL of the required website and commence the test on Windows 11 – Chrome 

Step 5

6. That’s how one can effortlessly execute browser compatibility tests on Windows 11 without any extra configurations or setup.

Run a Chrome Test on Windows 11 Now!

Additionally, testing experts also get access to numerous features accessible in the toolbar once a Live session starts:

  • Geolocation test to scrutinize a site’s performance when accessed from an exceptional geographical location.
  • Immediate bug reporting (via. Trello, Jira, Github, Slack,) from the Live dashboard.
  • Responsive test to test sites in different screen resolutions (such as 1820×1024, 1280×800, 1024×768, and so on).
  • Local Test to test and debug work-in-progress web apps at scale without hosting them in public staging surroundings

Furthermore, it empowers QA’s for testing and optimizing sites on real-time browsers rather than by means of an emulator for Windows OS. This confirms accurate outcomes every single time a QA plans to execute browser testing for Windows 11 or 10.

What are the Benefits of Compatibility Testing?

  • Improves Software Development Process: Compatibility test estimates the issues in the software in the SDLC (software development process) itself. But, it becomes easier to verify the app’s usability, scalability, and stability across various platforms and deliver feedback. Besides, the feedback received with this test procedure assists to examine bugs if any in the software development stage itself. Therefore, it assists in improving the software development procedure.
  • Detects Bugs before Production: A compatibility test is effective in the timely detection of bugs in web and mobile apps even in tricky areas. Since errors are recognized earlier before production, the testing technique gives sufficient time for the QA and developer teams to solve them at the earliest. Besides, this reduces time-consuming jobs such as fixing compatibility problems for various Operating Systems, browsers, or devices as bugs are identified early. 
  • Complete User Satisfaction:. By utilizing compatibility tests you be certain that every single portion of your product is up and performing as it should, across all software, browsers, and devices.
  • Successful Launches: One of the crucial advantages of compatibility test, in conjunction with other kinds of testing, is that it gives a completely successful product launch! A successful product launch isn’t just great for customers and clients, however, for your organization! It boosts confidence and adds vigor.  It reflects that the time used up for implementing testing was worth the effort – and it reveals what you are willing to do for your next attempt!
  • Complaints of any customer can be avoided in the future
  • Feedback in the test phase will enhance the development procedure
  • Apart from compatibility, usability,  stability, and scalability will be revealed
  • Ensure that all prerequisite is perfectly set and agreed upon by the QA engineer and the customer
  • The reputation and goodwill of the organization will improve
  • Ensures complete success in business

Performing compatibility testing online of applications or software that verifies that your product works efficiently in its intended environments. Once you have addressed this, you not only devise a suitable strategy but also save quite a lot of funds. An effective plan combined with savings is always a great way to boost your returns.

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