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The Importance of Browser Compatibility Testing

Browser Compatibility Testing

The top five web browsers on the market (i.e. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari) are constantly vying for supremacy  in what has become known as the “Browser War”, which means that web designers have to really be at the top of their game. They need to ensure that the websites they have designed display well for all the most popular browsers.  They do this through Cross-Browser Compatibility testing, which shows them how the sites will look across all the most commonly-used browsers.  If the websites are not compatible with all of these, the site  in question may lose traffic from the use of a browser it doesn’t support.

Webpages are written in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). Each browser has its own unique way of interpreting HTML, which is why webpages look different when you view them through various browsers.  Webpages should be capable of correctly interpreting HTML to ensure that the viewing experience for all of the top browsers is uniform.  Cross-browser compatibility testing means that you will be able to incorporate all of the optimum properties within your webpages, guaranteeing the across-the-browser user experience is flawless.

Why is this so important?  You never know which browser a potential customer will use to access your site.  If the website is coded only with a particular one in mind (which could be Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or any of the others), the visual experience may not be at all satisfactory for prospective customers who are viewing the page with any other browser. The  effect of this is that you will eventually get fewer and fewer visitors to your site, since you are deterring quite a few prospects by making it browser-specific from the start.  If you make it cross-browser compatible, this problem is overcome.

It is easy to achieve this end, simply by following the right steps.  Start with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML validation. This will ensure that the HTML/CSS errors which cause inconsistencies in page layout and structure are eliminated.  These errors also prevent search engines from successfully crawling the pages. Additionally, if you follow World Wide Web Consortium's (WC3) stipulated web standards, this helps to significantly increase your website’s browser compatibility.  The standards for web validation can be found here.   Alternatively you can choose free online testing tools, which allow you to verify whether or not your HTML codes and page layouts are working as they should across the browser. 

Picture courtesy of www.speedyguide.net

 

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