Compatibility Testing: A Full Guide

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Compatibility testing

What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility testing is the process by which we, as software compatibility testing professionals, ensure that our products are fully operable across different environments. As part of that process, a better understanding of which mobile compatibility testing types are best for your own unique testing needs is helpful to have. We’ll discuss these below.

Hardware Testing

Hardware testing ensures that the software is compatible with different hardware configurations, verifying its performance across various devices.

Operating Systems Testing

To check the compatibility of software with different operating systems – like Windows, Unix, and Mac OS – operating systems testing ensures smooth operation across diverse platforms.

Software Testing

Understanding iOS and Android app testing doesn’t have to be difficult, and software testing verifies the compatibility of the developed software with other software applications. When done correctly, it results in seamless integration and functionality. Both iOS and Android app testing can be easily managed with help from specialized engineers at Kobiton.

Network Testing

Network testing evaluates the performance of the system in different network environments with varying parameters — such as bandwidth, operating speed, and capacity.

Browser Testing

To determine the compatibility of websites or applications with different browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer, browser testing can help developers understand a consistent user experience across platforms.

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How Compatibility Testing Works

There are a number of factors to consider when testing mobile app compatibility. These include:

  • Device compatibility
  • Performance
  • User experience

Real device testing is often considered a substantial advantage for thorough compatibility testing.

Here are the steps you’ll take during compatibility testing:

  1. Define the set of environments or platforms the application is expected to work on.
  2. Set up the testing environment with different platforms, devices, and networks.
  3. Test the application in real environments to ensure it runs well under various configurations.
  4. Report bugs, fix defects, re-test for confirmation.

Navigating Challenges in Compatibility Testing

During compatibility testing, it’s important to identify common challenges — and know how to overcome them.

Regression Risks

Regression testing is necessary to ensure any coding changes implemented don’t affect the existing coding features. When we mitigate regression risks, we’re addressing the risk of introducing new compatibility issues while fixing existing ones, necessitating thorough regression testing to maintain compatibility across software releases.

Localization Complexity

Compatibility testing becomes complex when dealing with software intended for a global audience due to language differences, date formats, currency symbols, and cultural nuances. Localization helps to address this issue.

Diverse Environments

The most challenging part of compatibility testing is accessing all the required browsers, devices, operating systems, network conditions, and other elements needed to replicate actual production environments within the testing ecosystem. Real device testing can help solve this issue by allowing tests in the same environments in which customers would use the applications. 

Device Fragmentation

Coping with the proliferation of mobile devices with diverse screen sizes, resolutions, hardware specifications, and operating system versions is part of managing device fragmentation. Again, real device testing shines here as it overcomes the shortcomings of emulators and simulators. 

Why You Should Perform Mobile Compatibility Testing

There are a number of benefits related to conducting thorough compatibility testing. Those benefits include improved user experience and increased customer satisfaction.

What are some of the benefits of compatibility testing? They include:

  • Providing Seamless User Experience
  • Early Issue Detection
  • Improved Overall Quality
  • Lowering Support Costs
  • Successful Product Launch

For deeper context, we recommend Kobiton’s “Ultimate Guide to Mobile Testing” for further reading. 

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How to Analyze Results in Mobile Compatibility Testing

Software development teams can effectively measure and analyze the results of compatibility testing to ensure that applications function seamlessly across diverse environments and platforms. Here are some of the most valuable ways.

Create Test Cases

Begin by creating test cases that imitate the user’s hardware and software configurations, such as operating systems, browsers, and processors. These test cases can be created using real or virtual devices to ensure accurate outcomes.

Perform Compatibility Tests

Perform compatibility tests on various platforms and devices to identify bugs and issues within the software. Record these issues and report them to the dedicated team for resolution.

Analyze Defects

During compatibility testing, possible defects like changes in font size, user interface alterations, scroll bar issues, content alignment problems, and overlap issues may be identified.

Retest After Fixes

After fixing the identified errors, conduct retesting to ensure that all defects have been successfully resolved. If any issues persist, it’s important to report them to the development team for further action.

Best Practices for Mobile Compatibility Testing

Best practices for effective compatibility testing include test automation, cross-browser testing, and device cloud solutions.

Implement Regression Testing

Regression testing as part of compatibility testing, can ensure that new updates or fixes do not introduce compatibility issues.

Conduct Cross-Browser Testing

Web application success across multiple browsers to ensure consistent functionality and user experience is important, and it’s all part of comprehensive cross-browser testing.

Integrate CI/CD Pipelines

Integration of compatibility testing into CI/CD pipelines can ensure rapid and consistent delivery of compatible software releases. Check out our recent post, “How Continuous Testing in Devops Leads to an Improved Mobile Experience,” for more information.

Manage Device Fragmentation

A complete device coverage strategy includes a representative selection of devices based on factors such as market share, device capabilities, and user demographics to address device fragmentation challenges.

Automate Compatibility Tests

Automation in compatibility testing, and the selection or implementation of automation tools and frameworks, is an important step. Be sure to consider continuous testing strategies recommended by Kobiton.

Looking Ahead: Future Trends in Mobile Compatibility Testing

Emerging technologies and trends continue to shape the future of mobile compatibility testing — such as IoT, AI, and AR/VR. We expect these types of mobile compatibility testing to become more popular this year and beyond. 

Forward Compatibility Testing

Forward compatibility testing focuses on checking if the application is compatible with future or new versions of software or hardware.

IoT Compatibility Testing

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, compatibility testing will evolve to include testing for interconnected devices and IoT platforms to ensure seamless integration and interoperability. AI-augmented testing is a big part of that.

Testing Platforms With Flexible Deployment Options

It’s important to utilize cloud-based testing platforms to access a diverse range of devices, browsers, and operating systems, enabling efficient and scalable compatibility testing across different environments. Additionally, some organizations require access to mobile devices to test on anywhere in the world but need that access to be meticulously managed in-house for security reasons. 

Kobiton, Your Map  to Seamless Mobile Compatibility 

Compatibility testing stands as a cornerstone in ensuring your mobile applications seamlessly function across the myriad of devices and platforms your users engage with daily. Embracing this form of testing not only elevates user experience but also significantly boosts overall product quality and market success.

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