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Cross-Device Testing: Strategies and Tools

Before a decade ago, people only accessed the Internet via desktop browsers, and the options available on the Internet were limited. But the current scenario is different. We can shop for items across the globe or pay bills just by sitting at home. You can even customize a car and buy it online.

With this technological advancement, we must ensure that websites provide a smooth experience across different devices. Hence, cross-device testing becomes a crucial part of testing. We will discuss cross-device testing and the strategies and tools used.

What is Cross-Device Testing?

In cross-device testing, we test an application across different devices. We ensure the application provides a smooth user experience and functions well on other devices like mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. So, no matter what device the user has, the application should behave consistently. Given the wide variety of devices and operating systems on the market, testing across multiple devices is crucial to guarantee that your product functions well and is accessible to everyone. In Cross-device testing, we consider various factors like variations in screen size, types of operating systems and their versions, screen resolutions, and browser types. The critical aspects of cross-device testing are:

  • Different Screen Resolutions: Currently, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops have varying screen sizes and resolutions. So, we need to ensure that the application layout fits strictly for each device. The design should match the resolution of the device.
  • Difference in Performance: Also, the device processor, memory, and network connectivity vary across devices. So, we must ensure the application performance is optimized based on the device.
  • Different OS and Browsers: Many OSes are available on the market, such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, etc. So, the application should work fine in each OS environment. There shouldn’t be any application crashes. Also, every device can have multiple browsers, too. So, the application should also be optimized to work in different browser versions.

Importance of Cross-Device Testing

Here are the factors that mark the importance of cross-device testing:

Enhanced User Experience

The primary importance of cross device testing is having an enhanced user experience. Ensuring the product provides a consistent user experience across all devices is crucial. This helps in maintaining the quality and integrity of the application.

Example: A travel booking website conducts cross-device testing to ensure its site works smoothly both on desktop browsers and mobile devices. This consistent experience means that a user planning a trip can start searching for flights on their phone and later switch to a laptop to complete the booking without any hiccups or layout issues.

Increased Reach and Accessibility

Once the company verifies that the application works seamlessly on different screen resolutions and devices, it can market it to a larger audience. This helps increase user engagement and customer satisfaction.

Example: An online retail store implements cross-device testing to make sure their e-commerce platform is accessible on various devices including tablets, smartphones, and desktops. This broad compatibility significantly expands their market reach and ensures that customers can shop comfortably on their preferred device, leading to higher engagement and satisfaction.

Identifying and Fixing Bugs

When the application supports various devices with different screen resolutions and operating systems, there is a high chance of getting bugs unique to the platforms. So cross-device testing helps identify these issues early and fix them, thereby helping to improve the overall stability and performance of the application. Read: Minimizing Risks: The Impact of Late Bug Detection.

Example: During cross-device testing, a gaming app developer discovers that their game crashes on certain Android devices but runs perfectly on iOS. This early detection allows them to fix the issue before launch, ensuring a smooth gaming experience for all users across different platforms.

Optimizing Performance

The application performance depends on the device’s hardware. So when we can perform cross-device testing, including devices with high and low hardware specifications, we can also optimize the application to run smoothly on low-specification devices. We can guarantee a smooth application for users with low-end spec devices.

Example: A video streaming service performs cross-device testing on various devices with different hardware specifications. They notice buffering issues on older smartphones and optimize their video playback algorithm to ensure smooth streaming even on low-specification devices, enhancing user satisfaction.

Supporting Device and OS Updates

It’s common for us to get frequent OS updates and browser version updates for the devices. So, with the help of cross-device testing, we can ensure the application works fine with the latest OS and browser versions.

Example: A productivity app regularly conducts cross-device testing to ensure compatibility with the latest OS updates. When a new version of Android is released, they quickly test and update their app to support new features and security improvements, maintaining functionality and user trust.

Compliance and Security

It’s crucial to ensure that the application meets all security and regulatory compliance standards across all platforms and OS. With the help of cross-device testing, we can verify that the security measures work effectively on all supported devices, safeguarding user data and maintaining trust.

Example: A healthcare app conducting cross-device testing ensures that it complies with health data protection regulations across all platforms. This testing confirms that patient data is securely encrypted and that privacy controls are effective, regardless of the device or operating system used, ensuring regulatory compliance and building user trust.

Read about Healthcare Software Testing.

Cross-Device Testing Strategies

To effectively perform cross-device testing, we need to have effective strategies. Let’s see how few effective strategies we can use for cross-device testing.

Planning and Analysis

  • Identify Target Devices and Environments: You can research your target audience to understand what devices, operating systems, and browsers the applications are used. To ensure device coverage, you can mix old and new models based on those details.
  • Prioritize Based on Usage Data: We can also get analytics about the devices, OS, and browsers where the app is commonly used. As these devices become the major usage percentage, we can prioritize cross-device testing, including all these devices.
  • Create Device Matrices: With the help of analyzed data, we can create a matrix combining the devices, the OS, and the browsers. This matrix can be used while performing cross-device testing. Also, for executing any test suite, we can utilize this matrix.

Responsive and Adaptive Design Testing

  • Use Responsive Design Principles: You need to ensure the application from the design phase should be responsive. That means we can use fluid grids, flexible images, and CSS media queries to create layouts that help adjust the application to different screen sizes and orientations.
  • Test Adaptive Features: While testing adaptive features, you must ensure that the features, like different navigation elements for mobile and desktop, work correctly across the devices we test.

Visual and Interface Testing

  • Layout and Display: With visual testing, we can ensure that the layouts, images, texts, and UI elements are displayed correctly across all devices we test.
  • Interface Usability: UI testing helps to evaluate how the interface loads on different devices. The major concern will be for devices with smaller screens, as the elements can become out of view or too lengthy to scroll. Read UI Testing: What You Need to Know to Get Started.

Functional Testing Across Devices

  • Cross-Platform Consistency: Functional testing helps check that all functionality works consistently across different platforms. This includes user inputs, data processing, and feature accessibility.
  • Event Handling: Using functional testing, we can test how the application handles various user interactions like clicks, swipes, and multi-touch gestures across different devices. Read How to perform mouse actions and clicks using testRigor?

Performance Testing

  • Load Times and Responsiveness: As mentioned earlier, we need to ensure the application performance is not affected by low-configuration devices. So, performance testing is a must when doing cross-device testing. We can measure how long it takes for the application to load and become interactive on different devices.
  • Resource Utilization: While performing cross-device testing, we can monitor CPU, memory, and battery usage on various devices to ensure that the app doesn’t overly strain device resources.

Security Testing Across Platforms

  • Data Security: Ensure that personal data is securely transmitted and stored across all devices and platforms.
  • Authentication and Authorization: Test security protocols like login mechanisms and data access controls on various devices.

Automation in Testing

Use of Real Devices and Emulators

  • Real Device Testing: Although expensive, testing on real devices provides the most accurate insights into how an application behaves in real-world conditions. We can use online device clouds to perform these tests.
  • Emulators and Simulators: As we know, it’s difficult to procure all the physical devices for testing, so we can also perform testing in emulators. With emulators, we can perform early-stage testing for scenarios that are difficult to replicate with real devices (like low battery and different network speeds). Know about The 9 Leading Android Emulators for PCs in 2024.

Beta Testing and User Feedback

  • User Testing Sessions: Conduct user testing sessions to get feedback on usability and functionality across different devices.
  • Beta Releases: Roll out the application to a small segment of users across different devices to identify any unforeseen issues before a full launch. Read this guide on Alpha vs. Beta Testing.

Tools for Cross-Device Testing

Let us review the different tools for cross-device testing:

Performance Testing

As we mentioned, performing testing plays a major role as it ensures the application loads without much delay and that there is no freezing or crashing of applications. JMeter is one of the most commonly used tools for performance testing.

JMeter

Apache JMeter is an open-source tool primarily used for performance testing and measuring the effectiveness of web applications across different environments, including cross-device scenarios. JMeter simulates multiple users accessing a website or application simultaneously, allowing testers to understand how the application behaves under various load conditions. This functionality is crucial for identifying potential bottlenecks and ensuring that applications can handle expected traffic volumes. In cross-device testing, JMeter helps verify that an application’s performance standards meet the requirements across different device types, from smartphones to desktops.

Functional Testing

Several tools are available for functional testing, but the most commonly used ones are Selenium and testRigor. Let’s look into more details about these tools.

Selenium

Selenium was one of the most commonly used tools during the early days of automation. Being an open-source automation tool, Selenium doesn’t have inbuilt integrations. Still, many third-party packages help integrate test management tools and CI/CD tools. Selenium supports scripting in different languages like Java, Python, Ruby, etc. Selenium uses the DOM attributes of elements to locate them.

However, Selenium has many disadvantages. We could instead say Selenium is like an assembly language for automation that uses many complex codes and methods. With Selenium, we need to spend much time debugging the scripts. As the automated test count increases, the scripts get complex, making debugging difficult. Many testers will update the same functions for their test cases, making them complex. Also, it’s tough to debug someone else’s written code. Enormous time is spent on test script maintenance.

Another major issue with Selenium is the locators; with any change in hierarchy, the element identifiers can fail, causing false-positive bugs, thereby losing trust in automation. So, Selenium won’t be suitable for end-to-end testing where the execution is fast, and automation relies more on execution results. If you are looking for an intelligent and advanced Selenium alternative, you can consider testRigor.

testRigor

Every organization wants a single automation tool that can take up different types of testing, as that holds lots of advantages in terms of time and effort for the team. That’s one of the reasons why testRigor stands out from others. testRigor enables you to test web, mobile (hybrid, native), API, and desktop apps with minimum effort, cost, and maintenance. Its AI-powered capabilities let everyone on your team create and execute plain English test cases and achieve excellent test coverage.

Let’s look at the valuable features of testRigor.

  • Cloud-hosted: testRigor eliminates the need for companies to invest in setting up and maintaining their own test automation infrastructure and device cloud. This translates to significant savings in time, effort, and cost. Once teams are signed in and subscribed, they can start testing immediately.
  • Free from programming languages: While using testRigor, we don’t have to worry about knowing programming languages. Yes, testRigor helps create test scripts in parsed plain English. This advantage helps manual testers immensely, which is why it is an automation testing tool for manual testers. They can create and execute test scripts three times faster than other tools. Also, any stakeholder can add or update natural language test scripts, which are easy to read and understand.
  • Stable Element Locators: Unlike traditional tools that rely on specific element identifiers, testRigor uses a unique approach for element locators. You simply describe elements by the text you see on the screen, leveraging the power of AI to find them automatically. This means your tests adapt to changes in the application’s UI, eliminating the need to update fragile selectors constantly. This helps the team focus more on creating new use cases than fixing the flaky XPaths. Here is an example of test steps in testRigor:
    click "cart"
    click on the button "Delete" below "Section Name"
  • Visual Testing: As we discussed earlier, visual validation or UI testing is one of the most critical cross-device tests, and we can do it easily with testRigor. With testRigor’s visual testing, we can ensure all the UI elements are loaded correctly on the page. Read this guide: How to do visual testing using testRigor?
  • One Tool For All Testing Types: testRigor performs more than just web automation. It can be used for:
    So, you don’t have to invest in and install different tools for different testing types. testRigor takes care of all your testing needs singlehandedly.
  • Device Cloud: testRigor has its device cloud, where we can execute test cases on physical devices connected to the cloud. We don’t need to depend on any third-party cloud providers.
  • Cross-device Testiing: testRigor supports the simultaneous execution of test scripts in multiple browsers and devices for different sessions. Know about Cross-platform Testing: Web and Mobile in One Test.
  • Integrations: testRigor offers built-in integrations with popular CI/CD tools like Jenkins and CircleCI, test management systems like Zephyr and TestRail, defect tracking solutions like Jira and Pivotal Tracker, infrastructure providers like AWS and Azure, and communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Let’s review a sample test script in testRigor, which gives more clarity about the simplicity of the test cases:
login as customer
click "Accounts"
click "Manage Accounts."
click "Enable International Transactions"
enter stored value "daily limit value" into "Daily Limit"
click "Save"
click "Account Balance" roughly to the left of "Debit Cards"
check the page contains "Account Balance"

As you can see, no complicated XPath/CSS locator is mentioned, and no complex loops or scripts are required. Here are the top features of testRigor.

Conclusion

Effective cross-device testing requires a strategic approach, selecting tools like testRigor, and continuously adapting to new technologies and market trends. As the variety of devices and operating systems evolves, so must the methodologies and tools for testing. By implementing thorough cross-device testing strategies, developers can ensure that their products deliver a high-quality, seamless, and secure experience to all users, regardless of their device choice. This enhances user satisfaction and strengthens the product’s reputation in a competitive market.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can testRigor handle captcha and QR codes in automation?

testRigor can handle captcha and QR codes using OCR and machine-learning-based image classification. You can read more about how we can handle Captcha and QR codes.

When should cross-device testing be performed?

Cross-device testing should be integrated early in the development process and continue throughout. It is particularly crucial after significant changes or updates to the application, before release, and regularly as new devices and updates to operating systems and browsers are introduced.

Join the next wave of functional testing now.
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