Compatibility Testing: Checklists and Crucial Things You Need to Know About It
Learn about crucial things about compatibility testing that you should know. Here are key points to remember about compatibility testing.
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Development and designing are crucial, yet equally significant is making sure that you have developed the software product as per the necessities. In QA and software testing world, a compatibility test is a kind of test performed to scrutinize whether the software or app is competent of running on multiple OSs, mobile devices, browsers, applications, network environments, and more. Put simply, the compatibility of the software is checked for distinct environments and platforms. This non-functional testing can be conducted either through automation tools or can be performed manually.
What Is the Compatibility Test?
A Compatibility test deals with delivering software so that it functions perfectly across distinct configurations, platforms, as well as versions based on user requirements. Compatibility is the Non-Functional Requirement (NFR) and hence concentrates on delivering superior-quality and consistent performance. In nutshell, Compatibility Test is a kind of Software test to confirm whether your software is competent enough of running on various Mobile devices, operating systems, hardware, applications, or network environments
Usually, Compatibility Tests Comprise the Following Testing:
• User Experience
• Network Compatibility
• Hardware Compatibility
• External Devices, Software
• Operating System / Database Compatibility
A compatibility test is providing consistent performance and experience across platforms and to (well, approximately) every single user.
Let’s Take a Glance at the Types of Compatibility Testing:
• Hardware: It confirms software to be compatible with various hardware configurations.
• Software: It scrutinizes and confirms whether your developed software/ app is compatible with other software. For instance, the MS Word app ought to be compatible with other software like MS Excel, MS Outlook, & VBA, etc.
• Operating Systems (OSs): It checks whether the software is compatible with diverse Operating Systems like UNIX, Mac OS, Windows, etc.
• Browser: It checks the website compatibility with various browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, IE (Internet Explorer), etc.
• Network: Assessment of a system’s performance in a network with diverse parameters such as Capacity, Operating speed, Bandwidth, etc. It also confirms the app in various networks with all parameters mentioned before.
• Mobile: Checking your product or software is compatible with diverse mobile platforms like iOS, Android, etc.
• Software Versions: It is verifying your software app is compatible with varied versions of the software. For example scrutinizing your Ms. Word to be compatible with Windows 7 SP1, Windows 7, Windows 7 SP3, or Windows 7 SP2,
• Devices: It confirms software compatibility with various devices like Printers and Scanners, USB port Devices, Blue tooth, and other media devices.
How to Do a Compatibility Test?
1. The preliminary step of compatibility testing is to describe the set of platforms or environments the application is likely to work on.
2. The QA experts must have adequate knowledge of the software/platforms/hardware to comprehend the expected app behavior under varied configurations.
3. The environment requires being set up for the test with varied devices, networks, and platforms to check whether your app performs well under various configurations.
4. Report the errors. Fix the imperfections. Re-testing to confirm flaws fixing.
What Do QA Testers Do?
Your app or site should be compatible with mobile and PC; testing specialists assist you to find those bugs before your clients do. Let us look at everything in brief:
• Testing on laptop or PC, on varied browsers such as Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox, etc.
• Testing on various mobile gadgets that have varied platforms such as Android, iOS, or Windows.
• Testing on networks such as 3G 4G, or wifi.
• Testing on various OSs such as Windows, Mac, and Linux.
The test does not stop there. Testing continues to scrutinize the product performance on old versions of the platforms (backward compatibility test) and even getting the product ready for the newest versions (forward compatibility test).
What Are the Defects Encountered During Compatibility Testing?
• Defects because of broken frames or tables
• Defects with scroll bar
• Problems after making modifications or variations in the UI (User Interface) i.e. concerning look and feel
• Alignment problems can affect the compatibility of the software
• Problems because of changes in style or color in CSS
• Variation or change of the font style and font size
Compatibility Testing Service Market "Key Segments Covered"– Industry Analysis By Apps, Types, & Regions:
Compatibility Test Service Market – Types Outlook (ROI, USD Million, 2017 – 2029)
• OSs (Operating Systems)
Compatibility Test Service Market – Apps Outlook (ROI, USD Million, 2017 – 2029)
• Big Enterprises
• SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises)
Checklists for Compatibility Tests
The method of testing a website and a mobile app for compatibility will differ because of the particularities of every digital product. However, there are a few things a compatibility test considers irrespective of what form of software is under testing.
For instance, when testing software functionality on varied gadgets, a tester will pay attention to a few things:
• PI connections.
• Validation of forms.
• Links and buttons across the app /website.
• File download/Data entry/ Upload functions.
• Availability of all traits, etc.
• Layout in varied browsers.
The list of prerequisites will be less or more the same: we should check a standard customer journey and business-centric features first.
Let’s Take a Glance at Five Things You Need to Recognize About Compatibility Tests Today:
1. A Compatibility Test Is Compulsory
A compatibility test essentially needs to be performed. You need to map for and execute the compatibility test. It reflects a better chance to appropriately assess whether your product functions flawlessly in its intended operating environs. Any project that requires a quality test has to go through the extra mile of the test, and then it can pass the test's criteria. In short, compatibility ensures that the product is perfectly tested against varied operating environments.
2. The Project Team Should Not Think About Compatibility as the Last Thing
Usually, several projects fail simply because they didn’t discuss compatibility in tandem with functional necessities. You need to consider upfront compatibility and the testing essential to confirm these user requirements have been met. Why? So that one can confirm the scope is tuned to delivering a product or software that functions with the intended networks, hardware, user’s peripheral systems, etc.
3. Compatibility Testing Can’t Be Performed Randomly
A compatibility test is a complicated procedure. One cannot tell which software product is used to test. Hence, depending on the software one intends to make use of, there is the involvement of setting up environs that are closely utilized to stimulate the end-users options like laptops, desktops, servers, tablets, or phones which keeps on changing.
4. Before Testing, You Must Determine the Necessities of the Compatibility Test Level
We all know there are huge types and numbers of apps used globally on regular basis. This app ranges from highly complicated desktop apps which may be used for individual purposes to other business or simple web apps developed for a mobile device. An app used by organization employees at their workplace has completely distinct compatibility for folks using the app globally. Hence, one requires forming a well-descriptive test plan to determine the significant problems faced by the app and ignoring the inappropriate ones.
5. You Can Build Compatibility Testing Into Sprints or Upstream Test Cycles– or Not
Agile or not, your project requirements to perform compatibility testing – how you prepare the testing is down to your understanding, your team’s priority for method, and other factors. If you are using scrum, it is great practice for building appropriate compatibility testing into the testing range for your sprints. It also means you require preparing ahead and setting up appropriate infrastructure essential to aid in-sprint compatibility test. To some extent, this functions.
That is for the reason that, how many compatibility tests you can cover up within sprints is straight influenced by your scrum scope. For example- If you are working on a project that will bring redesigned User Interface for your company’s site using the current infrastructure; your scope for compatibility test could be the following:
• Network and Hardware Compatibility – To make sure that the intended networks and hardware that the web pages will function on, could manage the processing required.
• OS Compatibility, Browser Compatibility, and User experience – To verify that the web pages are ‘responsive’, and run consistently and accurately across multiple browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox Safari, and Google Chrome– on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS).
• Peripheral Systems Compatibility – To check that the fresh pages can interact with current back-end infrastructure professionally and efficiently.
There may be other components, yet you get the point. Now let us imagine the possibility of a scrum group that is delivering the web pages. It is fairly possible that when the sprints start you can set up a test environment for your team that enables them to plan compatibility testing relevant to the scope of the sprint.
Yet again, you might not be able to protect your team from the complete test environment essential to carrying out all relevant compatibility testing within all sprints. On projects that are slightly more complicated than just re-designing web pages, it is quite often the latter. Therefore depending on the organization, project, cost, time, and other constraints, you can decide to build a compatibility test into a regular testing effort or make it a separate cycle, or both.
• Choosing the Method – Agile or Not
Compatibility test planning completely depends on the team’s comfort level and the kind of project. However, there can’t be a compromise in performing compatibility testing. While going with scrum, the apparent choice would be to perform the relevant tests as per the sprint cycle. It mainly requires preparation and setting up the suitable infrastructure to help out with the in-sprint test. The efficiency of this process relies on the scope of the scrum.
For instance, if there is a necessity to redesign the User Interface of your company’s website, then the scope of the compatibility test with the existing infrastructure is,
• User Experience (UX) – Scrutinize whether website pages follow the responsive design.
• Browser Compatibility – Make sure whether web pages render appropriately across web browsers (Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, etc).
• Hardware Compatibility – Confirm whether the hardware is capable of managing the processing requirements.
• OS Compatibility – Confirm if website pages perform well on mobile Operating System such as iOS and Android.
• Peripheral Systems Compatibility – Check if websites interact with the back-end systems flawlessly.
• Network Compatibility – Check if the network is competent of handling the bandwidth requirements.
When this similar scope situation is applied to a team of the scrum when delivering web pages, it is possible to set up the testing environment for the group pertinent to every sprint cycle. This is the better scenario and then assists in conducting all the required compatibility testing.
But, in many cases, it becomes arduous to protect the total testing environment for the team to execute all the relevant testing. This is chiefly true for projects that may be more complicated than redesigning the User Interface of web pages.
• Total Coverage Not Necessary
When redesigning the User Interface of your webpage, your users can be using old versions of the browser. Hence, it becomes vital to consider the way to deal with such outliers whilst executing compatibility testing. If a minority of users are using such older versions, one way to resolve this condition is to get this condition sorted through help desk support. This team can talk to the users and explain how to fix the issue.
An additional approach is to convey a dialog box with a call-to-action that advised the user to upgrade to the latest browser or use a varied browser. In a few cases, it may even be essential to block out users until they advance to the supported version. The key is to prepare a strategy so that you cover 95 percent – 98 percent of your users at all times. The remaining 2% – 5% of the users can be handled by the support of the helpdesk which is both a time-saving and cost-effective technique for dealing with such problems.
• Backward and Forward Compatibility
You wish to build for the upcoming future – yes, we all wish to build an operating system, site, software, or device that can go on and on for a decade without requiring a replacement or upgrade. Take mobile applications for example – there are many examples of apparently transcendent applications that felt their users would not tire of using them.
For instance, if you are still walking around with a mobile gadget from 5 years ago, you are going to find the modern generation of many mobile applications do not support the Operating System and device you are running. You are probably part of the 1 percent that still use a phone from the Stone Age (yes it is, in mobile phone terms). When you think about compatibility, plan to support the past & next 2 genres of your computing environment at most. Plus tune your test endeavors towards this goal. Good manufacturers are great with sign-posting while outdated gadgets and OSs are due to go out of support. For example, there is zero point in trying to assist the less than 5 percent of your users that are still using iOS 5, 6, or 7.
Best Cross-Browser Test Practices
• Specify the target environments- First and foremost, you need to decide on what browsers, platforms, and gadgets you want the software to execute. Then, you can continue to make a list of gadgets to use for testing.
• Specify the testing objects-You can ensure the whole site or just some web pages – it depends on functionality and deadlines in general.
• Use real devices- When it comes to emulators and simulators, smartphones are useful in the primary phases. But, to get exact outcomes, you require testing a product on actual devices. In addition, you may consider checking the traits once more after the software goes live, just in case.
• Verify the media content- If you make use of high-definition media on the site, whether those are audio, video, GIFs, or images, scrutinize whether all browsers are competent enough to display such content.
• Test both newest and oldest browsers- It would be better to have the relevant data on the usage of a web browser. In many cases, either a Team Lead or a client states the list in the test strategy document. If the old extensively-used browser versions are missing, ask if it’s right, just in case.
• Rely on analytics- Be reasonable about what sort of web browsers and how many older versions to take account of in your testing plan. There used to be loads of difficulties with the way site is displayed in IE but given the number of real users.
Tools for Testing
Here is a listing of some of the well-known standard test tools, which you should be aware of:
• Browser stack- This feature enables you for testing your mobile gadgets or site’s compatibility over various platforms or browsers. Under this set, you can test your web application in distinct mobile applications and browsers, counting iOS or android in all the mobile applications. The primary products of the tools count App Live, Automate, and Automate besides App Live. It also helps you to reduce cost and time besides maintenance overhead.
• Lambda test- It is a free or open-source browser test equipment tool accessible in the cloud. By using such a tool, you can test the web application on various desktop or mobile browsers. Besides, Lambda Test has a screenshot trait that enables you to take full web page screenshots. Under this trait, you can also test apps on various actual browsers, and you have varied desktop or mobile browser options for scrutinizing the browser’s compatibility with your application.
• Browser Email- This tool can run the app on several OSs, counting macOS, Windows, and Linux, besides its cross-browser test tool. It tests the application on various desktops and mobile browsers. You can employ it directly on the local machine in a similar local network. You can also perform visual or regression tests without any delays in the network.
• Testing bot- The tool chiefly assists you carry out the test on various browsers, counting Ms. Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, etc. under this, you can effortlessly compare several screenshots from various platforms and browsers. You can also ensure the responsive layout of any application. It will give you various browser versions for faster- automated testing.
Advantages of Compatibility Tests
Performing compatibility tests brings ample perks with it, like-
1. Building a quality product that functions exceptionally well across gadgets and platforms builds and enhances the company’s status.
2. Reduces the future help desk costs to address compatibility problems faced by the end-users or customers.
3. Enhances the overall software development procedure.
4. Validates optimum customer satisfaction and user experience.
5. Makes sure that the software or app meets the business necessities from the user’s point of view and the user’s point of view.
Software apps can’t be ignored since mobile phones and systems have become an essential part of our lives. Compatibility tests of application or software are significant as it is the better way to ensure your product and ensure it is efficiently functioning in its intended environments. The majority of companies ignore compatibility tests without realizing the advantages they reap. It is important to ensure that the product functions well without any compatibility glitches. It is a compulsory and key element of your project life cycle. The vital use of a compatibility test is to make sure whether developed software functions under diverse configurations. This kind of testing is compulsory to confirm whether the app is compatible with the user’s environment. Companies must execute compatibility testing early in their project. Compatibility testing can be challenging, tedious, and time-consuming as it involves testing on manifold networks, devices, browsers, platforms, etc., yet, this part of software test can’t be avoided at any cost.
What’s even the point of developing an application in the initial place if it is not checked for compatibility with the situation it is supposed to function in? And with a multitude of software or products out there, one cannot afford to leave even a minute problem in the software app. Encourage your Quality Assurance team to review compatibility test requirements early on in your projects, as well as to optimize the scope for such kind of test to avoid under or over-testing. In a nutshell, a compatibility test guarantees that your project needs are met in time and that the project quality is enhanced. By making sure that it is performed, you can rest assured that the system functions well in particular operating environments & several configurations. It is suggested that compatibility tests should be done early on in the project together with functional requirements, to reap maximum benefits and rewards from this procedure. By providing compatibility testing solutions, QA experts help to make sure that a product will be accessible to a wide range of users, and a device one uses wouldn’t determine their experience. Therefore, it is compulsory to run compatibility testing on actual devices as only physical smartphones allow software testers to understand how the software functions in real-life conditions.
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