Web designers has been facing an increase in challenges in recent years. As internet technology and devices evolve, these improvements can also create more obstacles when it comes to designing a website that is compatible with a multitude of different viewing devices (such as laptops, smartphones and tablets), as well as different operating systems and web browsers.
Websites have to display correctly on every device, as well as displaying and functioning the way they’ve been designed in a multitude of different browsers. More people are using mobile devices than computers to access the internet, but there are still multiple millions of people using both desktop and laptop computers to access the power of the web.
Let’s look at the importance of browser compatibility for websites, and eCommerce sites in particular.
Why Is Browser Compatibility So Vital?
When it comes to web browsers, every single browser has its own specific requirements built into it. Therefore, a modern website needs to incorporate technology to be compliant with a number of different browsers, as the designer and the website owner has no idea which browser people will use to access their website.
eCommerce websites can prove to be extra tricky, as often many products will be displayed on these websites and it’s important that the images and product descriptions display correctly on all devices and all browsers to avoid confusion or an ugly, disjointed display on the chosen device. For eCommerce sites to achieve the goal of attracting customers who make a purchase, it’s imperative that products display the way the webmaster and website owner intended.
If browser compatibility hasn’t been factored into website design, or your site hasn’t been tested for compatibility with a variety of popular browsers, the result could be the loss of potential customers and business income. This is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve as the owner of an eCommerce website.
“Fragmentation” between devices is when a website displays perfectly well on one operating system, browser and device, but the site does not display correctly on a different operating system, browser or device. For optimum results, websites need to display correctly on all devices, browsers and operating systems. Then there is the subject of screen resolution, as a variety of screen resolutions are used on different devices, and this can also play a role in whether a website displays correctly or not.
This can be a real challenge when designing a website. You want it to look it’s best on every browser, operating system and every conceivable device that your site may be viewed on.
Which Browser Has the Highest Market Share?
There are a number of popular web browsers on the market today. Some are dedicated to work with a particular operating system. For example, if you’re running Windows 10, the recommended browser will be Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. For web surfers using Mac products, one of the most popular browsers is Safari.
Let’s take a look at he current market share regarding different web browsers at the time of this writing:
- Google Chrome = 63.59%
- Safari = 19.14%
- Firefox = 3.76%
- Microsoft Edge = 3.41%
- Samsung Internet = 3.31%
- Opera = 2.19%
As you can see from the list above, Chrome claims the lion’s share of the browser market (as of February 2021). This is a global market share that encompasses all operating systems and devices.
Okay, so now we can see what the current market share is for web browsers, but what about the current top 5 operating systems?
Let’s take a look:
- Windows 10 = 24.07%
- Android 10 = 16.05%
- iOS 14 = 12.55%
- Android 9 = 7.76%
- Mac OS X = 7.46%
Here’s another quick and interesting stat to look at: What devices people use the most to access the internet:
- Mobile = 54.46%
- Desktop/Laptop = 42.63%
- Tablet = 2.91%
As the above stats illustrate, more people now use mobile devices to access the internet than they use computers.
What is the Importance Of Cross Device / Cross Browser Testing?
We’ve established that it’s important to design a website that deals with fragmentation across different web browsers and devices, and therefore it’s a vital part of the web design process to perform some cross device and cross browsers testing before making a new website live and searchable.
Every web browser has its own rendering engine. This is a browser’s unique method of displaying the details of a given web page, whether it be images, text or video. Because every browser likes to differentiate itself by being different, these rendering processes also differ. Not only do they differ from browser to browser, but also from device to device. This is to ensure the browser displays web content correctly on a variety of different devices.
For example, Chrome will have it’s own way of rendering web pages, and Chrome will also have different rendering options depending on the device being used.
When it comes to online stores (eCommerce websites), browser compatibility testing is even more vital. People use eCommerce sites to shop. They view product listings, add items to their shopping cart and then proceed through a checkout process. As an eCommerce site owner, you want this entire process to be as easy and seamless as possible, without any time lags, errors or glitches of any kind. If there are problems, consumers will lose confidence in your site and you’ll lose business.
What’s Recommended For eCommerce Website Browser Testing?
Fortunately, there are a number of platforms online where you can test the compatibility of your website for different browsers, operating systems and devices.
Let’s list a few that you can try out:
- Turbo Browser Sandbox
The above list features just 7 out of quite a few options; some free and some paid compatibility testing tools.
Consult With An Expert
If you have little idea about compatibility testing, consult with an expert in the field before launching your website and going live on the internet.