Responsive Web Design and Cross-Browser Testing: Best Practices

Responsive Web Design and Cross-Browser Testing: Best Practices

Web designers no longer develop sites that target only a few desktop browsers. The technologies behind the web were in their infancy and browser behavior rarely changed. Various other browsers have entered into the market in the last decade creating a tough competition among each other. Moreover, today’s end-users browse through numerous mobile devices apart from just traditional PCs. This has made responsive design testing and cross browser testing as key factors in the web and application development phases.

What is Cross Browser Testing?

Cross browser testing checks how your web application works in several browsers working on different devices. Cross-browser testing includes accessibility tests which helps in checking the compatibility of the site with assistance software, for example, the “screen-reader”. The main purpose of cross browser testing is to give the user an uninterrupted browsing session regardless of the media and browser the person uses.

Cross browser testing entails checking out whether various functioning elements on your webpage appear as they should across different browsers. Furthermore, it should be ensured that no elements superimpose each other, and the output navigation must be convenient and intuitive.

What is Responsive Design Testing?

With the increasing capabilities of front-end programming languages for the web, the manner in which different web browsers interpret the same code has undergone various transformations. In 2010, Ethan Marcotte introduced the concept of responsive web design, which offered forward-thinking principles for web developers to ensure their web applications are accessible across diverse devices and browsers. Although responsive web design has evolved over time, its fundamental philosophy of making web content adaptable to any device has remained consistent.

Responsive design entails the creation of a unified set of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code that can present content effectively on any device used by the end user. It involves establishing a viewport and utilizing CSS media queries to adjust the formatting of text, images, and navigation based on the specific device on which the web application is being accessed.

While integrating responsive design into an existing project can be a formidable undertaking, it is advisable to incorporate responsive design principles from the project’s inception. The process of testing responsive design typically represents the final phase of adhering to responsive web design. The same tools employed for cross-browser testing can also be utilized for responsive design testing.

The common Goal of Cross Browser Testing and Responsive Testing

Both Cross Browser Testing and Responsive Testing share a common objective of ensuring a seamless user experience. Responsive web testing is a fundamental component of the broader cross browser testing process. pCloudy is a cloud-based platform for cross browser testing, offering both manual and automated testing options. It grants access to a vast array of real devices and browsers, enabling testers to monitor website performance in real-time and address any cross-browser compatibility issues that may arise. This platform facilitates live testing on virtual machines, each mimicking different browser-OS-device combinations.

Automation testing, a key feature, supports the execution of parallel tests and provides capabilities like network logging, capturing screenshots, and recording videos. Additionally, it aids in generating detailed test reports to maintain a comprehensive record of all test case executions. It is advisable for organizations to curate a well-balanced selection of browsers that are pertinent to their business, ensuring comprehensive cross-browser compatibility testing across various device-browser-OS combinations for their website.

Challenges in Cross-Browser and Responsive Testing

While both cross-browser testing and responsive testing are essential elements of the web development process, they present a few set of challenges:

  • Numerous Browser/Device Combinations: The sheer number of browser versions and the ever-expanding array of devices make it impractical to test every possible combination individually. Automation testing tools can mitigate this complexity by conducting simultaneous testing across various combinations.
  • Staying Current with New Releases: Browser vendors frequently introduce new versions, and the market continually welcomes new devices with varying screen sizes. It is imperative to keep your mobile app testing tool and practices up-to-date to accommodate these new releases effectively.
  • Varied User Preferences:Users frequently customize their browser settings to align with their preferences, introducing an additional layer of complexity to testing. A deep understanding of your user base and comprehensive testing of user scenarios can help cater to this diversity.
  • Adapting to Diverse Network Conditions: Network speed and stability can significantly influence a website’s performance. Testing should encompass various network conditions to ensure optimal site performance under all circumstances.

Best Practices to Perform Responsive Web Designing and Cross-Browser Testing

Here are some best practices to overcome various challenges and get the best outcome during mobile or web development:

  • Harnessing Cloud-Based Testing Platforms: Cloud-based testing platforms grant access to a wide array of browsers, devices, and operating systems, effectively managing the complexity of testing across a diverse set of devices and browsers.
  • Emphasizing User Analytics-Based Prioritization: Analytical data offers valuable insights into the devices, browsers, and operating systems most commonly utilized by your user base. Prioritizing testing on these combinations ensures the best experience for a majority of the users.
  • Maintaining Testing Tools with Regular Updates: In a landscape where browsers undergo regular updates and new devices continuously enter the market, it is crucial to consistently update your testing tools. Automated testing tools often incorporate mechanisms for seamless updates to accommodate new browser versions and devices.
  • Simulating Varied Network Conditions: Utilize testing tools equipped to replicate diverse network conditions, guaranteeing optimal site performance even in less-than-ideal network environments.


Browsers undergo constant updates, and ensuring your website remains compatible with each of these updates is where cross-browser testing becomes indispensable. Responsive web design is an integral aspect of addressing cross-browser testing compatibility challenges. Both cross-browser testing and responsive design testing collectively contribute to delivering an exceptional user experience. Whenever a new project is initiated, the testing team should consistently adhere to responsive design principles when designing a website, thus ensuring its compatibility with various browser-device-OS combinations, and responsiveness is maintained.




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