Each change of design, interface, navigation or any other feature of your WordPress website might potentially cause some problems in performance. This is not a reason to decline any changes, rather to make them wisely and test the results before publishing them live. One of the most important challenge your changes should face is the cross browser testing.
You probably know that there are more than one popular browsers in the world. Although Google Chrome is the popularity leader among other browsers, it covers only 65% of desktop users and 57% of mobile platform users. Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, and Safari are still strong and preferred by many people around the world. It means that you need to consider not only the most popular browser users but also other part of your potential audience. You would not decline of at least 35% op your visitors in a moment, would you?
Fortunately, WordPress platform can provide you with ample opportunities to test and optimize your website design, content and features throughout all of the popular browsers. Special plugins and services allow you to bring cross browser testing even without knowledge and skills in web development or design. In this article we will observe and analyze the main features and opportunities that some dedicated services can give to your WordPress project.
Basic Information about Cross Browser Testing
For those who wonder what cross browser testing is all about, we need to determine its basic concepts. Modern browsers are nearly identical at their perception of your WordPress website or blog. However, this affinity does not ensure the actual identity of your website performance throughout all browser platforms. The slight differences might cause lots of errors, some of which are minor and could be hidden both from you and your website visitors, but some can bring critical issues.
It could also cause hours and days of unsuccessful searches for the problem source, even for experienced WordPress developers. There is however a better way than a manually search — special services that provide cross browser testing and inform you about the compatibility of each website element in different browsers.
Before you start to test your WordPress website on the subject of different browsers` compatibility, you need to observe the share of each browser for your project individually. This check can be easily performed via Google Analytics tool. Go to Audience category and choose Technology subcategory to see the actual info about your users` preferences. Do not forget to perform this check from time to time, because the data can differ significantly in a distance of a few months.
Tools for Cross Browser Testing
Now let us proceed to the most popular and efficient tools which can help you to perform a cross browser testing for your WordPress project.
Browsershots is a free-to-use service that provides the simplest way to perform your cross browsing testing. The tool only needs an URL of your website and provides you with the screenshots of your project within all possible browsers. You can also choose the number of browsers and their versions for each check performed by Browsershots.
Despite of main advantages (free of use and simplest interface) the service has one big disadvantage — provided screenshots can not show the live work of your website. For these purpose you need to use advanced (and mostly paid) services. For the beginners in the field of WordPress administration, this tool can be the real find.Explore Browsershots
CrossBrowserTesting is a premium tool with advanced and automation features for your WordPress project. CrossBrowserTesting allow you to take screenshots of your WordPress website within different browsers and compare them in a convenient interface of special admin dashboard. Live cross browser testing is also available for each and any type of browser.
CrossBrowserTesting provides awesome opportunities to automatize your testing process and expand its features. For example, you can set up automated screenshots for a certain time and periodicity. Test reporting can also be set up as an automated report which will appear at your dashboard and email on demand.
CrossBrowserTesting also possesses its own debugging tool, which allows web developers to quickly fix any problem appearing during the cross browsing testing process. The integration with convenient sharing tools (like Slack, HipChat and JIRA) can advance the debugging process to a team level of performance.
CrossBrowserTesting gives an opportunity to test its features live within your WordPress projects via the free trial. The free trial is provided for 100 minutes to each registered user. You can also use this trial to estimate the need of cross browser testing for your website by exploring the main issues of the existing design or content. The further monthly fee for the service starts from $29 per month, which is not high for a large project but can be a significant loss for beginners.Explore CrossBrowserTesting
BrowserStack is also a premium advanced tool for testing your WordPress project throughout different browsers and platforms (desktop and mobile). The service can provide you with screenshots of your website within different browsers and also a live visualization of your project for each platform or browsers. The last option seems pretty exciting to observe but has a major downside — you can not compare different version of your website with it, only look at them separately. In this context screenshots work even better.
BrowserStack also gives you an opportunity for free trial but limited by only 30 minutes. This time is enough to observe the main live features of the service but is not even close for a good analytics of your project within different browsers (even just once, as within CrossBrowserTesting tool). Further use of the service costs $29 per month on the annual basis.Explore BrowserStack
Lots of opportunities to perform cross browser testing do exist even for the beginners in the field of WordPress administration. The main example is Browsershots free service which you can take as long as you need a simple and convenient tool for comparing your website appearance in different browsers without opening each of them by yourself.
Advance level tools are also available for WordPress admins with coding and developing experience and further demands on the tool`s features. CrossBrowserTesting and BrowserStack are good examples of such services with a premium fee.