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12 Cross-Browser Testing Tools To Improve User Experience & Increase Conversion.

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Why Cross-Browser Solutions?

Webpages can look very different in each browser they are viewed in because a browser understands some code slightly different than other browsers. This can often be the cause of your conversion rate being significantly lower for some of your supported browsers.

With over 1,000 combinations of browsers, operating systems and plugins it is practically impossible to check every single page to ensure it renders correctly for all users. Even if you only focus on checking the most common browsers, OS, device and plug-ins it is still a very time consuming and complex process.

For most organisations it is likely to be more efficient and better use of your scare resource to get a company that specialises in this task. They can quickly check and come back to you with screen shots from multiple browsers, operating systems, devices etc. You can then concentrate on the analysis and fixing problems identified.

1. Browsera:  Browsera locates cross-browser layout problems automatically by comparing each browser’s output and reporting on JavaScript errors. The site crawling feature allows for easy testing of all the pages on your site. It can also test pages behind login and does not require any installation as the service works entirely in the cloud. The Free plan offers limited browsers, deferred processing, public pages and low resolution screenshots. However, the Free plan does include problem detection, site crawling and JavaScript errors.

2. BrowseEmAll: Live testing, automated screenshots and compatibility reporting all from your own PC. BrowserEmAll operates from your local machine to find cross-browser problems, optimize for mobile devices using simulators for iOS and Android, test local pages and allows you to run different browsers side-by-side.

BrowserEmAll is great for testing websites protected by firewalls because it is on your own machine and you can run up to four different browsers side-by-side and instantly see how a change affects the page rendering in your selected browsers. Free trial licence key available on request.

3. Browsererling: Offers a limited Free live interactive cross-browser testing that is powered by HTML 5 canvas and JavaScript so no need for Flash, Applets or anything to install. Simply enter your URL and when your test is ready you have 3 minutes to review it. The paid plan unlocks ‘premium’ browsers such as Internet Explorer 6 to 11, and provides Secure Shell Tunnels (SSH), resolution changes and premium support.

4. BrowserShots: Is a Free (though there is a charge for priority processing) open-source online web application that takes screenshots of your web pages in different operating systems and browsers.  It uses a number of distributed computers to open your website in their browser. It will then take screenshots and upload them to a central  dedicated server for you to view.

5. BrowserStack: Provides easy access to all desktop and mobile browsers using live, web-based testing. You can test internal servers or local HTML designs, via remote browsers through a secure local testing setup. Free trial offer gives access to over 700 desktop and mobile browsers.

6. Cross Browser Testing: Covers over 1,000 combinations of browsers, operating systems and plugins.  Just enter your URL, select your browsers and get automated screenshots of how your website renders. Check Ajax, HTML forms, JavaScript and Flash  in most browsers and operating systems in your own browser or through a remote VNC connection. Also checks most major mobile devices.

The comparison feature allows you to choose a ‘base’ browser as a benchmark and provides a summary of rendering differences, plus screenshots of images side-by-side to identify layout issues. Allows you to test locally, even behind firewalls and secure login. You can also change the browser, cache, cookie settings and turn JavaScript off if required. Free trial and demo available.

7. Ghostlab: Provides synchronized testing of web and mobile for scrolls, clicks, reloads, and form input. This allows you to test the whole customer experience and identify problems connected with the DOM programming interface or JavaScript output.

Using their development tool you can inspect the DOM on connected devices remotely and make live changes to the DOM. Changes are synced to all connected devices, providing instant feedback on how it will affect your site on other devices. The remote JavaScript debugging feature allows you to debug JavaScript code on any client that is connected to Ghostlab. Free full-featured 7 day demo.

8. IE NetRenderer: A Free service that allows you to check how webpages render in Internet Explorer 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 or 5.5, as seen from a high speed data centre located in Germany. Type in your URL into the field and it comes back with your page almost immediately.

9. Litmus: Provides cross-browser testing as an additional feature to its email preview service. The latter shows previews across more than 30 email clients and devices, with images of how your message looks in the preview pane, and with images on and off. For cross-browser testing simply enter the URL and Litmus will show you how it looks in most popular browsers.

Further, Litmus offers link validation by providing a screenshot of each web page that a link in an email takes a recipient to and it certifies that the URLs you are linking to are not blacklisted. It also confirms that you click-throughs are being tracked correctly.

Offers unlimited and enterprise plans that allow you to use only the features you need, add as many users as you need, organize your account and re-sell Litmus without an integration. 7 day Free trial available.

10. SauceLabs: An automated cross-browser checking service for desktop and mobile. Covers over 450 browser and platform configurations. Enables access to live breakpoints during testing which allows you to investigate problems manually during the process. Free 14-day trial available for all sizes of organisation.

11. Spoon: This is a browser sandbox which currently covers Chrome, Firefox, IE, Opera, Safari, Firefox mobile, Opera mobile and Opera mini. Spoon offers manual and automated browser testing. The browsers run within isolated virtual containers, eliminating the need for installs and allowing legacy browsers such as Internet Explorer 6 to run on Windows 7 and 8. Just click Run for any browser to launch it instantly.

Containerised browsers behave the same as installed browsers, and because they run locally, you can test web applications hosted on your own development machine or on internal servers. Spoon browsers also support standard browser components like Java applets and ActiveX controls, as well as common plugin like Firebug, JE Developer Toolbar, and CSS and JavaScript debugging consoles.

Spoon browsers support standard browser components like Java applets and ActiveX controls as well as popular browser plugins like Firebug, IE Developer Toolbar, and CSS and JavaScript debugging consoles.

Browser Studio is Spoon’s three-step tool for creating custom browser containers. Choose your browser, and version, pick the run times and plugins you need and Spoon will create your custom test environment in minutes. This for instance allows you to test a web application with a Java dependency or see if Flash breaks your website.

12. TestingBot: Provides either automated or manual cross-browser testing with Selenium in the cloud. You can operate tests in 198 browser/OS combinations and every test runs on a virtual machine. Manual testing allows you to control browsers interactively from your own machine or you can run automated tests by choosing which browsers to test. You decide when automated tests should run and over what time frame.

Advanced reporting for each test includes multiple screenshots, video of your test and detailed statistics about the test. Their secure testing environment allows you to run tests on your local computer, on a LAN, or on a server via VPN. Offers a two week Free trial.

All the subscription services offer some kind of free trial and so you have nothing to lose by giving one or more a try out.

Thank you for reading my post and I hope you found it useful.  If you did find my post of value please click on the social media icons at the bottom of the page to show your appreciation.

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  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

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