13 Factors to Consider when Testing across Devices
When introducing a new website for one of our clients, we face the challenge of understanding which browsers and devices we use to prove that the website is accessible. It is critical that our clients’ customer base can use the website with their specific device and browser type.
As we know, there is a myriad of combinations that an end user could have when factoring browser types, browser versions, device types and operating systems and there is a risk that a set of end users may not be able to access or use the website as it is intended.
This blog discusses how we tackle the problem for our clients’ and how we minimise the risk of issues being found by end users when visiting our clients’ new digital property.
Target market / audience
When looking at which devices to test against, one must understand what devices the target market is expected to use. Different countries, types of people, including demographics (age brackets) etc will use different devices to get to your site. You must understand where the majority of risk is and look to mitigate that risk by testing on the most popular platforms.
Existing breakdown of data / device usage
If your site is already in existence, analytics software, such as Google Analytics, IBM Digital Analytics (formerly Coremetrics) or Adobe Analytics (formerly Omniture) can be utilised to understand what devices and software are used to access your site. This data can be quite revealing and will help you clarify the scope of your testing.
Different browsers across different devices
Although it is standard behaviour for the user to utilise the browser which is installed with the device, sometimes users will install different software to browse with. Let the previous two points drive your testing on this, but it may also be prudent to install different browsers on your devices and test using those. This can include considering internal company devices and browsers for customer support and administration – which can be locked down on a corporate basis.
Type of customer journey (reset password example), completing E2E process with different devices
When testing a customer journey, it can be useful to break up the flow and try to complete it using different devices. For example, for a reset password journey, you could trigger the password reset from a desktop device, but complete the password reset from a mobile phone.
Test against a ‘base browser’ (establish what this is)
As different browsers can produce different results when testing, we have found it useful to establish a ‘base browser’. This is then used as the source of truth when it comes to comparing behaviours of the system across different devices.
Browsers under Warranty (browsers, versions, operating systems)?
Consider what devices, operating systems and browsers are actually under warranty. Often digital companies will state which will be covered under a contracts warranty, which makes sense when there are so many browser types, devices and versions out in the marketplace. By only covering what is under warranty, you will not waste time and resource on testing combinations which are not going to be covered.
Functions of the device / browser
Often browsers can support different actions in different ways. For example, printing, page zooming, copy / paste, page resizing etc. It is worth testing some of these functions across the browsers to ensure the outcome is what is expected.
Error messages, pop ups, pop out pages, overlays
Often, during development of a website, error messages, pop ups and pop outs (where a new tab is created within the browser) are used. Development of these for different browsers and screen sizes can sometimes be missed and often bears fruit when testing.
Execute Bug Hunt & Regression Test cycles
At DeeperThanBlue, we use something called a Bug Hunt cycle. This is where, as a test team, we run through a number of user journeys across our available devices. We do this methodically, at the same time, to ensure that we can identify issues as we go. Normally, we would spend an agreed amount of time doing this, per sprint.
Execute tests on Hardware (where possible) and or software emulators
It sounds obvious but executing tests on the actual device is much more beneficial than using an emulator. However, where the device is not available, using third party tools can help get the coverage and build confidence that the solution is compatible with the device types required. There are a number of emulation solutions on the market to consider and here at DeeperThanBlue we have experience using a number of them.
Multiple session log in
Where a user can create an account, there is often a requirement for the user to be abe to / not be able to log onto different sessions. This is a good opportunity to test that your requirement is met across multiple devices and browsers.
Test when device is on different networks (3G, 4G, Wi-Fi)
Performance of different networks differs and security settings can differ. These can impact the user experience and there may be defects present when using a specific network. Does the application perform and meet the benchmark set for the application across the different channels, mobile, desktop, call-centre, store/ branch network as well as across device types.
Stay in touch with market trends (new browsers, new versions, usability stats)
The market moves quickly with many changes. It is worth researching planned releases from software and hardware providers to ensure that you’re minimising as much risk as possible when testing. New release of a browser or an update to an operating system have been known to break a site for a user. As you can see, there are many things to consider when testing across devices, but we believe that this approach will give you a great foundation to test and minimise the risk to your projects.
At DeeperThanBlue Unify, we believe that, we are in a unique position in that we have helped deliver Digital Systems of Engagement such as Ecommerce, Content Management Systems and Digital Experiences as well as enabling and integrating Systems of Record such as ERP from the likes of SAP, CRM, Finance, Warehouse Management, Buying and Merchandising Systems and connecting single view for Customer and Product Information to be part of the Digital revolution.
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