SALES / SUPPORT : 844-261-1206 (Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00 EST)

Why Cross-Browser Testing Is Crucial For Ecommerce Websites?

By Eva Barnes , Nov 9 2016
Cross-Browser Testing

Featured Image: iStock/Topp_Yimgrimm

People use different browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc.), devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, desktops, etc.), and operating systems (Windows, UNIX, Linux, Mac, etc.) to access your ecommerce website. Each of these systems processes HTML and JavaScript differently, hence your site needs to render consistently across all these variables.

“Your design will be tested by users — your only choice is whether to run the test yourself before launch so that you can fix the inevitable problems while it’s cheap instead of playing expensive catch-up later.”

– Jakob Nielsen, Nielsen Norman Group

We will learn the importance of testing ecommerce websites for browser compatibility. Before we dive into the reasons, let’s learn which ecommerce functionality and pages you need to test.

What Website Features Should I Test?

Factor in design as well as ecommerce functionality during cross-browser compatibility tests. The specifics of testing depend on what features your ecommerce website has. However, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has a few testing standards that will help you create a testing plan template. The specific standard used for cross-browser testing is called 829 Standard for Software Test Documentation. Here are the basic functional features you need to check during cross-browser testing.

Ecommerce Website Functionality

Which Website Pages Should I Focus On?

It’s very time-consuming to run cross-compatibility tests on every single page, however important ecommerce pages such as your product pages, category pages, etc. need special attention if you want to ensure higher conversions. Check below for a complete list of ecommerce website pages you should pay special attention to when conducting cross-browser testing.

  • Homepage
  • All Forms
  • Landing Pages
  • Product Category Pages
  • Product Detail Pages

Which Browsers Should I Test Against?

Ecommerce websites have many integrated components that need to run together smoothly in order for the business to generate revenue. You should consider conducting cross browser tests against most recent versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. According to W3Schools’ statistics, here are the most popular browsers of 2016 ranked according to percentage of users.

Browser Statistics

Can I Automate Cross-Browser Testing Process?

Testing can be quite exhausting if you choose the manual route. Several browsers are easy to test against but once you factor in the number of pages, different browsers, and different browser versions, you are in a world of pain. Fortunately, some handy tools can help expedite (and often fully automate) the testing process. Tools such as sauceLABS, Browsera and BrowserStack can test hundreds of variables simultaneously. The results from these tools are easier to understand, and will save you tons of time.

Why Should I Conduct Cross-Browser Testing?

A good ecommerce website should be reliable, usable, maintainable, and secure. Testing the site before it goes live is the best way to ensure that your website meets the criteria for these qualities. Web testing is a way of narrowing down the list of things that can go wrong. Cross-browser testing falls under the category of web testing.

Cross-browser testing helps your ecommerce venture in the following ways:

    1. Measure Design Success

    A website designer always has an end goal in mind for any website he or she creates. Testing provides the means to measure whether original design targets were achieved or not and to what degree.

    2. Ensure Website Reliability

    Online customers want reliable, dependable, and seamless buying experience. A business owner cannot afford to let glitches in design chase away potential customers. Test out the whether your customers are getting what you promised them, regardless of what kind of browser they use to access your website.

    3. Optimize Functional Features

    Ecommerce website functionality is integral to selling your products and interacting with customers. Online shoppers often get frustrated and abandon a purchase due to slow websites. Test for speed across different browsers to make sure you hit the minimum page load speed mark.

    4. Generate Steady Revenue Stream

    A properly tested website helps move targets through the sales funnel. Getting the design and features right is half the battle, verify the performance if you want the website to generate sufficient revenue. Consistent website quality and performance will turn one-time buyers into loyal customers.

    5. Create a High Quality User Experience

    High quality user experience implies consistent appearance and performance, regardless of browser. A visitor that arrives at your website and doesn’t experience it the way you intended it will leave, driving down conversion rates and increasing bounce rates. Testing can help you maximize traffic and satisfy your customers.

    6. Ensure Website Consistency

    The way your website looks and functions can differ based on what browser (or even browser version) the visitor is using. These differences make is necessary to conduct cross-browser testing in order to make sure the website displays as the designer intended. Test your website against three or four most popular browsers to ensure that a majority of your customers receive a consistent user experience.

    7. Identify Bugs In Website Design

    Visual appearance often changes with change in browsers and platforms. The underlying technology principles are slightly different across browsers; hence, there is no way for a website to look identical in different browsers. If your website makes use of latest technology such as CSS3 or HTML5, you will have backward compatibility issues with same browser versions. Visual appearance will degrade on a lower version; there is no way to avoid it. The best solution is to identify the problem areas and tweak the code to allow for graceful degradation.

Cross-browser testing is an integral phase for any web development project. This is especially true in the case of ecommerce websites, where a bad user experience drives down sales. Website developers and designers need to recognize the importance of cross-browser testing.

About The Author

Eva is a marketing major with a keen interest in web design. She is also an explorer and loves to dig into web trends from mobile apps to visual communication and everything in between. Feel free to send her your web design queries or blog related feedback in the comments below.

Leave a Reply