Closing is a make-or-break moment for anyone in sales. The entire experience can be thrilling and scary at the same time! Irrespective of the size or scale of the business, it is essential to generate enough leads so that the sales representatives can follow up and turn leads into sales.
Consider a scenario where the conversion rate is impacted due to a poorly designed Contact Us form on the website due to which prospective customers are unable to submit the form on certain web browsers or platforms. Turn the tables for a moment!
The sales representative has made a call to a potential customer who happens to use a browser on which the company website isn’t compatible. Boom, the demo crumbles like a pack of cards! The disastrous demo will also damage the credibility of the product and the organization. That is the reason websites (and web apps) should be designed in a manner that they are cross browser & cross platform compatible.
Introduction to Cross Browser Testing
It is important for a web product to function as per expectations on different combinations of browsers, devices, and operating systems. The process of testing against these different combinations is called cross browser testing (or cross browser compatibility testing).
Different browsers might render the same page differently and testing the web application across different browser combinations to provide a unified user-experience is called cross browser testing. Cross browser testing has now become an integral part of web development and testing.
Importance of Cross Browser Testing
The product development and test team in your organization might have thoroughly tested all the features in browsers like Chrome, Safari, etc. that command a significant browser market share.
Figure 2 Browser Market Share
Potential customers, existing customers, or anyone who happens to visit your website have their own set of preferences in terms of devices, web browsers, and platforms. As shown in the graphic depicting the browser market share, apart from prominent & popular browsers, there are legacy browsers like Internet Explorer (IE) that still hold 1.41 percent of the browser market. Considering the blazing speed at which internet is becoming prominent even in developing countries, this small number (i.e. 1.41) still equates to a large part of the internet population.
Cross browser testing is the ideal way in which your team can develop a winning web product as all the product features are tested against various combinations of browsers, devices, and operating systems.
Browser Engine: Cause of major browser compatibility issues
However, components on a web page (or web app) can behave differently across different web browsers according to their underlying rendering engines:
- Chrome uses Blink + V8
- Edge uses Blink
- Firefox uses Quantum/Gecko + SpiderMonkey
- Opera (versions 7-15) uses Presto Browser Rendering Engine
The majority of the engines render the same piece of code in a different manner. Hence, it becomes important to perform cross browser testing for consumer-facing web products (or platforms) so that its features work seamlessly irrespective of the (browser + device + platform).
For more information on browser engines and their impact on cross browser compatibility.
Essence of Cross Browser Testing for effective ‘Call to Action’
CTA (Call to Action) is an integral part of a web product that encourages the visitor to do something and aids the business convert a visitor into a lead for the sales team. If your website is not cross browser compatible, there are chances that the CTA may not function as expected on a select few browsers.
This will eventually result in loss of leads due to ‘cross browser compatibility’ problems. Have a look at a sample thread about CTA not working here.
Cross browser testing is essential as it helps in boosting your sales team conversion rate.
Let’s take a few practical examples of different industry verticals to demonstrate the impact that cross browser testing has on sales:
Suppose you the owner of a growing e-commerce business which is steadily on the rise due to the uniqueness of the products offered by your store. As the business grows with positive word of mouth, your customer facing website is likely to witness a surge in the traffic.
Every customer visiting your e-commerce site would want a smooth and seamless buying experience.
Apart from working on the design, scalability, and performance; it is essential to test the key areas of the website that are driving revenue for your organization. In case of e-commerce, functionalities related the shopping cart and checkout system should work without any glitches, irrespective of the browser or device used for accessing the site.
What if your prospective customers are using a browser on which the website’s core functionalities (i.e. shopping cart, payments, etc.) do not work properly? It would result in bad consumer experience eventually resulting in business loss, which could have been avoided if the front-end was tested for cross browser compatibility.
Cross browser testing in e-commerce helps in measuring design success, ensuring reliability & consistency of the website, identifying bugs in the system, and providing a uniform shopping experience across different browsers, platforms, and devices.
OTAs (Online Travel Agency) are online companies that help consumers book travel related services via the internet. Customers primarily use OTA for booking tickets (flight/rail/other modes supported by the OTA) and the first-experience is largely defined by the ‘search’ feature on their website.
Customers use the Date picker to select the appropriate ‘From & To’ dates according to their travel plans. Web developers use the date input type which is a form element that allows capturing the date from the user. However, the date picker & time picker renders differently on different browsers.
Date time input types which are a part of the new HTML5 form features have the poorest browser support.
The LambdaTest experiments section demonstrating the usage of Date and time support shows how different browsers render this input type in a different manner. The date and time input type is partially supported on Internet Explorer (IE) and Microsoft Edge, whereas, it is not supported on Safari.
Figure 4 Form Input Type – “Date” is not supported in Safari 12
Figure 5 Form Input Type -“Date” is not supported in Internet Explorer 11
Figure 6 Form input type – ‘Date’ rendered by different browsers
There are cross browser compatibility issues with other form input types and it is important that these issues are fixed by the developers of the OTA platform before the public release of the website.
From an end-consumer’s experience, issue with the date & time input type could result in the customer completely abandoning the ‘search’ on the platform. Consumers have many options at their disposal and your loss would result in competitor’s gain.
SAAS (Software As A Service) is a business model that is adopted by startups, as well as, leading organizations across the world. SAAS companies normally adopt a subscription-based model where the product is targeted either towards businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C) or both.
The freemium (Free + Premium) pricing model is popular in the SAAS marketplace as it enables existing (as well as prospective) customers to try the product features, before purchasing the product. If the pricing model is not rendered properly in different browsers & devices, your team might loose on leads.
Shown below is the screenshot of the pricing page of LambdaTest:
As seen in the pricing model, there is a flexibility to switch plans (Monthly, Annual) and the switching should work seamlessly across different browsers. Web browsers have default layout styling but at times, developers remove the default styling by applying ‘Resets’ so that their own styling can be applied.
If not programmed & designed properly, it may cause layout compatibility issues, which is one of the major reasons for cross browser compatibility issues.
The major reasons for layout in-compatibility could be due to an irresponsive design on mobile devices or due to difference (or lack of support) for layouts in certain browsers. Modern browsers support CSS Grids and Flexbox which are normally used by developers to avoid issues with layout compatibility.
There are numerous ways in which cross browser compatibility issues in HTML and CSS can be located & fixed, information about the same is available here.
The CSS Grid Layout is widely used in designing the page as it uses a grid concept o layout the content, enabling developers & designers to divide the available space for layout into different rows & columns using a couple of predictable sizing behaviors.
However, improper usage of CSS Grid Layout could lead to cross browser compatibility issues as browsers such as Internet Explorer (IE) provide partial support whereas Opera provides no support for CSS Grid Layout.
Here is the detailed information about browser support for CSS Grid Layout. As shown below, old versions of popular browsers do no support CSS Grid Layout and a fallback mechanism needs to be built in the design so that the page functionality does not falter.
For businesses based on SAAS model, it is important that the product pricing is displayed correctly, with a working CTA so that your sales people can schedule a demo with the interested clients. CTA would be meaningless if a user is not able to see or interact with the CTA button.
For seamless rendering of CTA, it is important that the testing of CTAs should pass the functional tests and visual tests across multiple browsers and operating system environments. Here are two examples of CTA on LambdaTest where the user clicks on ‘Get Started’ or ‘Start Free Testing’ button in case the user wants to explore LambdaTest.
Online Selenium Automation Grid offered by LambdaTest can be used to perform end to end testing of all the CTAs present on the web page. This ensures that your visitors get a chance to explore the product, eventually improving the overall conversion rate.
Irrespective of the line of business (i.e. edtech, fintech, SAAS, e-commerce, OTA, etc); it is important that the front-facing website works without any glitches so that it helps in creating an awesome first impression. The ‘Contact Us’ form or ‘Schedule a demo’ form should work seamlessly as it will generate leads for your sales team.
The input types in HTML5 also have compatibility issues on certain browsers and platforms; hence the functionalities should be thoroughly tested across different combinations of browsers, operating systems, and devices. As seen in the LambdaTest Experiement page, Internet Explorer (IE) and Microsoft Edge do not support form input types. The good news is that it is widely supported on prominent browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, amongst others.
This brings us to our next topic of discussion – Should cross browser testing be performed on legacy (or outdated) browsers such as Internet Explorer.
Should Cross Browser Testing be performed on Internet Explorer
In a blog titled The perils of using Internet Explorer as your default browser, Chris Jackson, executive from Microsoft, stated that:
Internet Explorer is a compatibility solution. We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days (Source)
However, there is still a significant percentage of worldwide internet population that still uses IE, even after the death of IE.
Shown below is the browser market share which indicates that even a browser like Internet Explorer (IE) holds a 1.4 percent market share as of April 2020.
Not addressing the segment that uses IE as the primary browser can be disastrous for your product as it loses on a market that still uses the browser.
Cross browser testing on IE is particularly important for government-owned web properties as their websites are accessed by citizens of different strata and varying digital literacy levels. There is a high probability that a good percentage of their users might be using IE, which makes it essential that their websites works without any glitches on ‘not so relevant, yet important’ browsers like Internet Explorer.
Cross Browser Testing on the Cloud
Now that it is pretty clear that a cross browser & cross platform compatible website is essential for lead generation and increasing the conversion ratio. How does your team proceed with cross browser testing? There are two options – a) Setting up in-house infrastructure for CBT b) Using cloud-based CBT platform like LambdaTest.
An in-house solution for performing cross browser testing lacks scalability and not suited for CBT. Just imagine, if such a massive testing infrastructure has to be setup in-house within your organization? It would result in a massive investment as powerful machines need to be procured & setup and resources have to be allocated for constant maintenance of the machines. With growing number of browsers and operating systems, scaling such an infrastructure is not feasible as your team won’t be able to witness ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!
It is recommended to use cloud-based cross browser testing platform like LambdaTest as it does not require any infrastructure investment. At the same time, your test and DevOps team can focus on other project-critical work rather than being worried about scaling up the test infrastructure.
Using LambdaTest, developers and testers can perform live interactive and automated cross browser testing on 2000+ real browsers and operating systems online.
The platform supports automated browser testing, real-time testing, smart testing, responsive testing, and screenshot testing. There are different pricing plans which makes is suited for wide range of businesses (startups, growth-stage, MNCs).
Be sure to check out LambdaTest!
Wrapping it Up
For converting potential leads into sales, it is important that the customer-facing website and the product (being pitched) works without any issues on different combinations of browsers, platforms, and devices. Cross browser compatibility is essential part of web design and should be taken up development & test team on priority so that their organization does not lose out on business.
Using LambdaTest (a cloud-based cross browser testing platform), organizations can perform cross browser testing on their scalable & reliable remote grid infrastructure. This helps in acceleration of the testing process, which may further help in winning the market through a cross browser compatible web product!