3 Easy Ways to Make Cross Browser Compatible Websites
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - March 11, 2020
Before understanding how to make websites that are cross browser compatible, let’s discuss why doing so is necessary in the first place.
Why is it necessary to have a cross browser compatible website?
The use of websites has increased exponentially in the past couple of decades. With over 1.5 billion websites already in use worldwide, the growth of websites shows no sign of slowing down. And due to ever-increasing rates of device fragmentation, people view this content from thousands of web-enabled devices operating on unique browsers.
Every browser comes with mobile and desktop versions. Naturally, every browser has its own way of rendering HTML content.
Here’s where the major concern arises from a business owner’s perspective –
Are the users (visiting a website from thousands of device browser combinations) able to access the website in the best possible way? Are all the website features accessible on popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge,etc.?
Having a web page that works flawlessly across multiple device-browser combinations is an absolute necessity. Not only does it establish brand credibility, but it also ensures that business owners leave no stones unturned to cater to potential customers and boost revenue.
How to make a website compatible with all browsers?
Before initiating tests on random browsers impulsively, it’s important for teams to answer two important questions:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the current browser market share among the target audience?
Teams should consider testing their websites on browsers that cover maximum market share. For example, considering the current browser market share worldwide, it would make more sense for teams to test their websites on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari on priority.
This is because the market share of these three browsers counts to 86% of the total browser market share. This doesn’t mean one should completely avoid testing on remaining browsers like Edge, UC browser, etc. For a truly inclusive experience, it is best to optimize the website for all browsers. Teams just need to prioritize which ones to test on first and most extensively.
Following are three ways using which teams can make websites compatible with popular browsers:
- Using mobile/desktop browser emulators for each browser
- Setting-up on-premise device labs
- Using a cloud-based platform that enables you to perform cross browser testing on browsers installed on real devices
Browser emulators help you verify how your website looks and works on different browsers. However, manually downloading desktop and mobile browser emulators and testing web-pages on each is both time and effort-intensive. Doing this may lead to missed deadlines and delayed releases.
On the other hand, teams can also set up on-premise device labs and update it at regular intervals as per market trends. However, this option usually tends to be expensive for small organizations as it involves significant, ongoing investments.
The best alternative is to opt for cloud-based platforms like BrowserStack that provide teams with a real device cloud for cross browser testing. BrowserStack provides 2000+ real devices and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.) to test on.
QAs get instant access to browsers installed on real android and iOS mobile devices as well as desktop devices. They can perform live manual testing of their websites on browsers running on real mobile and desktop devices. This allows teams to test websites in real user conditions. Besides teams can also leverage a Cloud Selenium Grid to perform automated cross browser tests on desired browser-device combinations.
One simply needs to select the desired platform (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac) and browser version to test on. Refer to the image below to get a better understanding of BrowserStack’s Live dashboard.
Also, let’s have a look at a sample Firefox session running on a real Samsung S10.
QAs can also get to test features like IP-geolocation, pinch to zoom, device rotation thus providing an interactive and intuitive test experience. It also provides integrations with popular bug reporting tools like Jira and Slack.
Having a browser-friendly website is of utmost importance for businesses seeking to gain online success. In a digitally-driven world, robust websites are integral to building brand equity. Having said this, teams can conclude how important it is to verify the cross browser compatibility of websites and also to have enough skills and resources to perform such tests.