One of the most common questions that clients ask us is whether it is necessary to test on a multitude of browser configurations. It’s easy to drown in the choices that are available, making cross-browser testing a difficult process to handle internally. Since the ultimate goal of test planning is to minimise the risk of high impact, high risk bugs interrupting your website or app’s performance, the easiest place to start is with your product itself and how end users interact with it. Considering the following factors will help you to make an informed decision on which browsers are worth your valuable time. Since this is a subject that should be discussed in detail, this post will be split into two sections. In part 1, we’ll be discussing market share and geography and user preference.
The importance of market share
Knowing how your users access your site or app is important as it helps you to optimise your product for success in your target market. Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool here, as it allows you to see where the largest proportion of your traffic is coming from. It tracks information about your users’ browsers, operating systems, screen resolutions, screen colours, flash versions and Java support, as well as the specific devices your customers use to view your site. Arm yourself with this knowledge, and the browser combinations you choose to test on can be specific to your site visitors’ needs.
Analytics data also comes in handy when working with an external testing partner, as they can properly advise you on what combinations it would be useful to test. That way, you can get the best test coverage your budget will allow. We advise clients that testing on combinations with less than 5% market share is of little value if time and money is tight. However, reviewing edge cases is always advised.
Geography and user preference
This is where geography and user preference become relevant. Although Google Chrome currently holds the largest global market share (54% in June 2017 according to statcounter.com), users in different geographical regions may prefer different browsers. For example, while Chrome dominated in both Russia and Asia, Yandex Browser and UC Browser appear to come in second at 17% and 11% market share respectively. Therefore, if you are targeting these geographical locations, you need to ensure your site functions equally well on these browsers, as your target market may use them regularly. Don’t do this, and you risk decreasing your conversion rate through low test coverage.
Next week, you can find out more about different browser functionalities and testing on difference types of devices.