The Importance of Mobile Responsive Testing and its Challenges
Smartphone usage has increased dramatically in recent years. Only 2/3rds of mobile users had a smartphone in 2014, and of those only 22% of those used it to browse the internet. The introduction of 4G internet was a game-changer. By the end of 2016, mobile web usage had overtaken desktop for the first time. Mobile devices now account for almost 79% of all online searches. In addition, non-mobile-friendly websites saw a drop in search engine results. For these reasons, investing in responsive web design is vital for businesses to be successful.
Mobile-friendly websites must provide consumers with the same experience as they would on a laptop or desktop. Hence testing of websites for mobile responsiveness in a variety of devices and browsers should be considered an essential activity.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design, or RWD design, is a modern web design method that allows websites and pages to render across all devices by automatically adjusting to the screen size, be it a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Cascading Style Sheets or CSS is used in responsive web design to provide different style attributes dependent on the user’s device’s screen size, orientation, resolution, color capability, and other factors.
Responsive Website Testing and its importance
Currently, all online businesses want to ensure that their products are accessible anytime, anywhere. To achieve this goal, their application should be platform agnostic (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.) and provide the same experience as it does on PCs. Responsive testing ensures that websites meet all functionality and UI requirements across all resolutions and environments.
The number of people who use their smartphones for shopping, information, entertainment, and social networking is increasing daily. Responsive design testing should be core to what businesses provide because today’s digitally-savvy consumer demands a compelling user experience and will abandon brands when they don’t receive it.
Rules and Guidelines for Responsive Design Testing
The following are some key rules and recommendations for conducting effective responsive design testing.
Text Alignment — Make sure the image and text are properly aligned.
Clickable Zones — Pay careful attention to these actionable areas.
Padding — Check for accurate padding across all boundaries.
Fonts — Make sure the font size, style, and color are consistent throughout the website.
Scrolling — Make sure that flexible scrolling is offered.
Navigation — Make internal web page navigation easier.
Boundaries — Make sure that all text, images, and frames are contained within the boundaries.
Indexing — Ensure that responsive apps are indexed by search engines.
Menus — Navigation menus must be built to work on a variety of platforms.
Checklist for Responsive Design Testing
- Development Compatibility
QA must ensure that all the features available to a user accessing a website via a desktop or laptop are available on the mobile version. Every effort should be taken to avoid compromising on the feature list. Depending on the resolution and size of the mobile device, all screens should be perfectly aligned.
2. Design Compatibility
Multiple mobile device manufacturers are currently supplying a variety of gadgets in the mobility market segment. While testing the responsive design on all available devices may not be practicable, a diverse range of devices, found through analytical data to be the most used ones by your customers, should be used for testing. Software testers should also make sure that no pictures, elements, or text content overlaps with the other.
3. Multiple Modes
All mobile devices, in general, have two modes: landscape and portrait. In each of these modes, the website should be accessible, and its design consistent. Designers/developers should ensure that the image/content adjusts automatically depending on the mode selected.
4. Web Simulation
Unlike users of PCs, mobile users may not always have access to high-speed internet. Web Page Load time is important in such situations. A website’s load time on a mobile device should be consistent at all times. Additionally, developers should ensure that the size of the images is smaller compared to those on the desktop version, as it improves load time.
5. Content Orientation
On a smaller mobile screen, the way content is shown changes dramatically. Check for any content misalignment or overlap with other elements on the webpage.
6. Challenges Encountered in Testing Responsive Websites
QA needs to be done on a variety of devices, operating systems, browsers, and versions in order to ensure the effectiveness of the responsive design.
7. Testing Environment
Because of the large number of operating systems, browsers, platforms, and mobile devices necessary to reproduce the end user’s experience, setting up the testing requirements are difficult in responsive website testing. It’s impossible to test the mobile website on all the available device/browser/OS combinations. Therefore, form a subset of the most used devices from each brand and ensure that your website works fine in those.
8. Misleading Design
Design methods and approaches can easily mislead the tester, especially if they are unfamiliar with what they are testing and how they plan to test it across several devices and size breakpoints. The nature of a responsive design is that it displays the screen differently for each screen size, resulting in several versions for the tester to test. Because humans interact with desktop and mobile devices differently, interactions that are conventional on a desktop computer may be useless on a mobile device, and vice versa. On a desktop, we navigate using mouse and keyboard shortcuts, but on mobile devices, we utilize touch and gestures. Unless the user has a touchscreen monitor, most touchscreen devices contain gestures that are not available with a desktop arrangement. The various behaviors and the difficulty of accommodating both standard and touch screens at the same time necessitate extensive testing. The testing technique and strategy are shaped by understanding the varied platforms’ interaction mechanisms. When applying test cases to several platforms, a multi-platform tester will learn to determine which test cases do not apply or need to be changed. Test cases can be selected incorrectly without this knowledge, resulting in inadequate coverage on some systems and erroneous test failures.
9. Dependency on Manual Testing
Android Emulators and iOS Simulators are only effective for high-level testing of a responsive website’s functionality, such as what works and how the components expand and vary with various screen sizes. Manually identifying different sets of verification points for different devices is required when you intend to perform extensive responsive testing.
Creating a Testing Strategy for Mobile Responsive Web Design
Device Selection, Parallel Testing, Frequent Reviews
- To fine-tune your responsive testing device coverage, utilize your own customer data along with mobile device market data. Examine your web traffic metrics to determine which devices and browser combinations are preferred. Those are the combinations you should be testing on.
- Performing side-by-side testing of the mobile and desktop websites is an important aspect of your responsive web design testing approach and it improves testing efficiency.
- Once a quarter, you should review your device, operating system, and browser combinations to ensure your testing is in line with consumer needs and market share data.
Visually Test Your Code
In responsive design, when displays expand or move, ensure that the viewports shift but the site information is never truncated. Identifying all DOM items on desktop and mobile web browsers is one way to do this. You should also include all essential user interface checkpoint validations in your automation script, which ensures that the visual presentation of the website is as expected when the screen size or orientation changes.
Check Site Navigation on Different Devices
When visiting a responsive site, customers usually start on a smartphone, then switch to tablet mode, and finally to desktop browser mode. These user pathways must be covered as part of navigation testing to ensure that nothing breaks along the journey. It’s also worth noting that some responsive testing will operate perfectly on larger screens but not on smaller ones, so the additional focus must be placed on smaller screen sizes.
User Condition Testing
A significant advantage of responsive websites is that they provide users with a consistent web experience regardless of device or location. However, the user is continually traveling between places with varying conditions that can interfere with the user’s experience. Factors such as network strength, activities that happen in the background, Ads, and other pop-ups that prevent users from accessing your website’s content and others. Therefore, testing teams should include real user condition testing in their responsive website test plan.
Create actionable test reports for responsive testing
Reporting and replicating device-specific issues is a pain in responsive website testing. The time it takes to reproduce and fix bugs is significantly reduced if the Test Report includes the following:
- The option to filter only the failed combinations
- Useful information from the failed test, including Screenshots, Debug logs for the platform, Network logs, and videos should be provided.
- With a robust, comprehensive report, developers will be able to swiftly troubleshoot the issues.
Different Approaches to Testing Responsive Websites
Changing Browser Dimensions
Changing the size of your desktop web browser allows you to quickly assess the compatibility mode. If you shrink the size of your browser screen, to the size of a smartphone, you’ll see that the web page has correctly changed to the device’s viewport size. This method is ideal for conducting a short visual responsiveness test.
Emulators are virtual mobiles or web-based simulators that simulate the environment of a mobile device. Using Emulators, we can test responsive websites on a variety of devices instead of purchasing them. It depicts how a website would appear and perform on a mobile device.
Some website builder tools provide alternatives for viewing your website design on various devices. GoDaddy’s website builder, Weebly, and WordPress include this feature.
Online Responsive Checker
These are websites where you can simply enter your website’s URL and check for responsiveness. They’re really simple to use, and you can obtain results in under a minute. Browserstack’s responsive test tool and Website Planet’s responsive checker are some examples.
Benefits of Building a Responsive Website
It’s a costly affair to develop separate sites for mobile and non-mobile users. You can save money by opting for responsive design. To appeal to all visitors and devices, you’ll have to invest in just one website design. It’s also cheaper to maintain one instead of two or more versions of the same website.
If your website is responsive, you can make changes to it faster. You don’t have to worry about keeping two web pages up to date.
Enhanced User Experience
User experience is extremely important. Your website should work well and be simple to use on any device. Your brand reputation would take a hit if someone visits your website on a mobile device and it takes forever to load or the images displayed don’t have high enough resolution. By using responsive design, content can be viewed faster because zooming and scrolling are no longer required, and visitors will have a much better overall impression.
According to statistics, mobile devices account for nearly 79% of global web traffic. This shows how crucial it is to have a website that works on mobile devices. Once you implement a responsive design, you will notice an increase in the traffic to your website as well as the number of time users spend on it.
Ease of Maintenance
Most businesses, particularly smaller ones, do not have a lot of time to update or renew their website’s appearance. Rather than hiring a designer to manage every part of your website, responsive design allows your frontend developers to make quick adjustments.
Impact on Google Ranking
Many businesses employ SEO to improve their search rankings on Google. The higher you are on the list, the more likely you are to be discovered by potential clients. Because Google favors mobile-friendly websites, responsive websites have a higher search engine ranking.
Mobile Responsive Websites vs. Mobile Apps — Which is better?
Mobile websites — Immediate Availability
Users can visit a mobile website via a browser across a range of devices right away. Apps, on the other hand, require the user to download and install them before using them.
Mobile Website Cross-Device Compatibility
Unlike native apps, which need the development of a separate version for each device type, a single mobile website may reach consumers on a range of mobile devices.
Mobile Website - Immediate Updates
In terms of flexibility to change content, a mobile website is far more dynamic than a mobile app. You just publish the change once, and they will be available immediately. On the other hand, upgrading an app necessitates pushing updates to users, who must then download the updates to upgrade the app on their devices.
Mobile Websites - Easy Search
Because their pages can be displayed in search results and included in industry-specific directories, mobile websites are much easier for people to find, making it easy for qualified visitors to find you. App visibility, on the other hand, is primarily limited to the app store.
Mobile Websites — Simple Exchange
Users can quickly exchange URLs for mobile websites by using a simple link. Sharing a mobile app in this manner is not possible.
Mobile Responsive Testing
A device farm, also known as a device cloud, is a testing environment that allows QAs to test their websites on a large number of real devices remotely.
Responsive Application Testing and AWS
Automated Testing: Users can either submit their test packages or use the AWS built-in script-free compatibility testing. Remote Access: You can use your web browser to submit your app and interact with a device in real-time.
Automation tools can help us save a lot of time, money, and effort. Not only that, but when we automate testing, it becomes more accurate. Especially in mobile responsive testing where there’s a lot of redundancy involved, automation is a true lifesaver. Cross-browser Cloud automation testing tools provide the tester the opportunity to pick the OS, browser, and device combination which enhances test coverage. LambdaTest, SmartBear’s CrossbrowserTesting, and Browserstack are some of the popular cross-browser/cross-device testing tools.
How can Payoda help?
To create purposeful relationships with users, our creative team blends strategy, research, and design into a single solution. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to product design that emphasizes branding, usability, functionality, and aesthetics. In today’s world, customer experience is a critical factor in determining a company’s success, and Payoda has a firm grasp on it.
Authored by: Vijayakumar Arunachalam