How to Perform Mobile Website Testing
By Jash Unadkat, Community Contributor - December 3, 2022
Mobile website testing is testing websites or web applications across numerous mobile browsers. It essentially helps verify the performance and appearance of a web app across different mobile browsers like Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.
This guidepost aims to explain why businesses must perform mobile web testing. Subsequently, it will illustrate three different methods for conducting mobile web testing.
Why Mobile Website Testing Matters for Businesses?
Let’s begin by going through some key statistics:
- Individuals tend to check their phones an average of 58 times a day.
- Smartphone users worldwide are expected to hit more than 7.5 billion by 2027.
- Smartphone users spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones.
- Millennials spend more than 5.7 hours on their smartphones per day.
The numbers above clearly reveal how smartphones have become an inseparable part of human life. An increase in mobile usage has also led to heightened user expectations as they expect everything to be easily accessible through their smartphones.
For individuals and businesses (of any size) seeking to establish their digital presence, this means having well-optimized websites for smartphones of widely different make and models. In simple terms, for a website to reach a broader audience, it needs to undergo mobile web testing to deliver a flawless mobile experience.
Benefits of Mobile Website Testing
Mobile web testing also endows development teams with the following benefits:
- Enables teams to test and optimize their websites for multiple mobile browsers like Chrome, Safari, Samsung Internet, etc.
- Allows developers to evaluate how a website renders on mobile browsers installed on unique operating systems like Android and iOS. This helps in ensuring that there are no compatibility issues for the target device-browser-OS combination.
- Optimizing websites for mobile devices increases the overall user-friendliness of a website. Additionally, it helps achieve higher rankings on search engines as Google considers mobile-friendliness a ranking factor. This results in better visibility of web pages.
At a high level, mobile web testing helps create faster and more mobile-responsive websites. These websites deliver enriched user experiences across a wide range of mobile devices.
How to Perform Mobile Website Testing
Now let’s study three intuitive methods to perform mobile web testing.
Method 1: Using Mobile Emulation in Chrome
One can view or test the mobile version of websites using DevTools for mobile emulation. To view the mobile version of a website on Chrome, follow the steps below:
- Launch Chrome and navigate to the website to be tested on mobile.
- Open the Developer Tools available in Settings -> More Tools -> Developer Tools. macOS users can use the shortcut fn + f12. Windows users can use Control + Shift + J.
- Select the Device Toggle Bar.
- Select the device emulated from the available Android and iOS devices list.
- Once done, it will display the mobile version of that website on the selected device. One can also inspect specific web elements in the mobile view using the Inspect feature besides the Device Toggle bar. Refer to the image below for clarity:
Note: This method only simulates standard viewports in the Chrome browser. However, it is not the most accurate way to test the mobile version of a website, as it is just a device simulation. It cannot simulate all aspects of a real mobile device.
Also Read: How to Debug on iPhone Safari for Windows
Method 2: Using a Real Device Cloud for Mobile Website Testing
The most effective and accurate way of running mobile web tests is to test them on real devices. This helps developers and testers evaluate how a website behaves in mobile browsers installed on actual Android or iOS smartphones.
With 3000+ real devices and browsers, BrowserStack’s real device cloud provides QA teams with the ideal testing infrastructure for comprehensive mobile web testing.
The real device cloud offers:
- Latest and legacy versions of real Android smartphones from vendors like Samsung, OnePlus, Google, Vivo, Oppo etc.
- Latest and legacy handsets by Apple, like iPhone X, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 14 Plus, etc.
- Access the latest OS versions, such as Android 12 & 13, and iOS 15 and 16.
- Support multiple versions of popular mobile browsers like Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc.
- DevTools for Chrome and Safari for accurate inspection of web elements.
To get started with live web testing on real mobile devices, follow the steps below:
- Signup for a free trial on BrowserStack Live.
- Once done, choose the OS (Android, iOS) and the desired handset. The image below represents the Live Dashboard, where one can select the desired OS and device-browser combination.
The image above represents a Live mobile website testing session on Chrome running on Samsung S20+.
Developers and QA also get access to many valuable features. Listed below are a few:
- Instant access to DevTools for inspection of target web elements.
- Network throttling to simulate the performance of web pages in poor network conditions.
- One can verify whether the website delivers location-specific results using Geo-location Testing.
- Integrations with popular bug reporting tools like Jira, Slack, etc., and CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Maven, etc.
This method of mobile web testing is the most accessible and most convenient, as team members get instant access to a wide range of real devices directly from their browsers without any complex setup. Additionally, the device cloud is updated at regular intervals, which makes the latest gadgets available 24×7 for on-demand testing.
Method 3: Using BrowserStack’s Responsive Checker Tool
The web is highly fragmented into thousands of device types and browser versions. Consequently, having a responsive website is mandatory for any business in 2021 and beyond. This is why responsive web design is of utmost importance for businesses to grow in the digital world.
BrowserStack’s Responsive Checker is a free tool that allows individuals and teams to test how their website renders across various devices, including popular ones like iPhone X, Galaxy Note 10, iPad Pro, etc. This helps identify any rendering bugs or inconsistencies across devices’ viewing experience.
The tool is highly intuitive to use. One needs to enter the URL of the target website and then click on the Check button. Once done, the website is loaded across various devices with unique screen resolutions, and users can click on the desired device to verify if the web page renders correctly.
Few Best Practices to Consider for Mobile Web Testing
- Always test websites on real mobile browsers to get accurate test results.
- Test the mobile website in different network conditions to optimize its performance for every user using different bandwidths.
- Perform Geo-location testing for the website to ensure it delivers accurate results when accessed from different locations on mobile devices
- Check for the most commonly appearing UI bugs and fix them to the earliest, if any.
- Test the website across the devices with the most popular screen sizes.
- Test the website for your target audience’s most commonly used browsers (like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, etc.).
As mentioned earlier, the proliferation of mobile devices will continue. Businesses have no choice but to optimize their websites for mobile platforms to cater to the largest possible audience.
The methods highlighted above will make it convenient for developers and QAs to identify bugs in their websites’ mobile versions. It will keep mobile websites bug-free, implement positive user experiences and retain a competitive edge in a constantly shifting domain.