Compatibility testing is non-functional testing conducted to evaluate a software's compatibility with different operating systems, hardware platforms, web browsers, and devices.
What is compatibility testing? It helps achieve complete customer satisfaction because it involves checking how the application behaves across multiple platforms that may be used in combination by future users.
In today’s market, the most in-demand requirement by users is that the software works anywhere and on any device. User-centric design and ease of use are the primary considerations when beginning any development. There has never been a more challenging time for IT engineers because the expectation is for comprehensively portable solutions.
The number of online users, along with time spent on their digital products, increases daily. The internet has transformed everything. People now spend a considerable amount of time daily using various software. Thus, striving for application compatibility across all types of devices, browsers, operating systems, and network conditions is highly pertinent.
Different types of Compatibility Testing
There are many different categories where compatibility testing can be applied:
- Hardware: Testing involves examining the different hardware configurations to ensure the hardware does not impact the application’s behavior. Testing on different screen sizes with different resolutions helps determine issues like correct image and text rendering.
- Operating Systems (OS): Different operating systems such as Windows or macOS are tested to isolate any OS-specific problems.
- Browser Compatibility: Different browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox can be checked for compatibility. For more information, read an introduction to cross browser testing.
- Devices: Discover if the built application will work well with other devices such as printers or scanners.
- Networks: Networks are integral to conveying data, so applications are tested across different network conditions such as WiFi, 3G, 4G, and now 5G. Different bandwidths and speeds are tested to make sure the application remains responsive in unexpected conditions. Network testing also helps identify an error condition and improve error messaging by implementing more user-friendly messages for network-related errors.
- Mobile Devices: Compatibility Testing involves testing responsiveness on various mobile devices with iOS, Android, or Windows operating systems.
- Software: Testing to assess the compatibility of one software to work with another is vital. Sometimes the output of one software is fed as input to another. For example, if a program uses MS Excel to export data, testing will check that the data exports and renders without any issue. This way, software compatibility testing can determine if both software can work together.
- Version Compatibility Testing: This involves testing the compatibility between different versions of browsers, OS, or built apps.
Main Considerations for Compatibility Testing
The objectives of compatibility testing align with regular testing because both identify and resolve issues that help create a quality product. Compatibility testing is a cumbersome process. The types of devices and platforms to test are selected before planning, coordination, and testing begins.
Define the Prerequisites
The range of a built application can be as simple as a basic web application to a highly complex setup expected to run on several platforms and used by millions worldwide. Set out compatibility testing requirements as early in the process as possible. Determining the prerequisites ahead helps with effective testing and ultimately delivering the software without extra demands.
Set up a fully equipped Test Environment
Compatibility Testing is conducted over different platforms, so testers need to have a fully equipped lab set up before beginning. The devices or platforms determine the initial environment set up the application is likely to be paired with. The next step involves setting up a simulation environment with a range of end-users, mobiles, servers, browsers, etc. Maximizing device coverage helps in uncovering the most pertinent bugs.
Checklist for testing the User Interface
The most critical area to compatibility test is the user interface or UI, which will cover testing the software’s look and feel on different platforms.
- Ensure pages render well on different platforms.
- Verify the ability to scroll and view the entire content.
- Ensure images display correctly on the screen with differing resolutions.
- Check how the text, styling, alignment, and font display.
- Check the quality of tables and frame rendering.
- Establish that hyperlinks display in their entirety and redirect appropriately.
- Ensure that media, such as audio and camera, function correctly.
- Check for the ability to close popups on mobile devices.
- Examine the ability for captcha rendering
- Check orientation and ability to print in both landscape and portrait on different devices.
Compatibility testing helps ensure the developed application will work across platforms and devices without any problems. Making sure the different elements work together without friction creates a better user experience and greater access to the application through a wider range of platforms. Testing from this perspective is advantageous because it can help identify any bugs in the software while the product is still in development, which improves the overall software development process.
Compatibility testing can be quite costly but should not be ignored because it brings significant benefits. Compatibility testing offers excellent advantages such as end-user satisfaction, greater financial gain, and a better satisfaction rating for your product.