When you open a website, which browser do you use? Chrome? Firefox? Microsoft Edge? No matter which browser it is, you expect the website to load and perform properly. But not all browsers work the same way, meaning that the same website may look and work differently depending on the browser you use. As such, cross-browser compatibility is crucial for developers and designers creating their own websites.
Here, we break down what cross-browser compatibility is and why it’s so important for your website.
What is cross-browser compatibility?
Put simply, cross-browser compatibility is the ability for a website or app to function properly across various browsers. It allows your website to perform on Google Chrome just as well as it does on Firefox. But performance isn’t the only factor with cross-browser compatibility; appearances are also vital. Your website may appear differently on Chrome than it does on Firefox, but cross-browser compatibility ensures that it is still aesthetically pleasing and usable.
Why does this happen?
So, why does the website look and perform differently depending on the browser? It mainly has to do with how each browser is built. A website is simply a set of instructions on how your page should look and function; the browser reads those instructions (or codes) and produces what you see on your computer screen. However, each browser may read and interpret those instructions differently, all depending on how that browser was built and its defining features.
Which browsers do you need to consider?
There are a wide variety of browsers out there, but depending on your time and resources, you may not be able to focus on all of them. Thankfully, the majority of internet users rely on four different browsers: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. If you target these four, then you’ll cover the vast majority of users.
Why is cross-browser compatibility important?
Since different browsers read websites in different ways, it is entirely possible that your website could perform perfectly on Chrome but horribly on Firefox. Ensuring cross-browser compatibility, then, is vital for the success of your website and business. Here are a few reasons why:
User experience is crucial if you want to generate business with your website. A poorly designed website will drive users away, and they will never come back. Additionally, most users stick with just one browser, so they won’t try other browsers to see if your website works properly. The first three seconds a user spends on your website are the most important. If, in those three seconds, users deem your website as unusable, they will leave and find another website that functions better on their browser.
Grow your audience
If you restrict yourself to just one or two browsers, you are limiting your potential customer base. Even if you target the most popular browser (Google Chrome), you could still be losing out on the thousands of potential customers who use Firefox, Safari, and/or Microsoft Edge. As stated previously, you should provide cross-browser compatibility with the top four most popular browsers to ensure you’re targeting as many potential customers as possible.
What can you do?
How can you ensure cross-browser compatibility? The easiest way is by performing compatibility tests on your website.
Here at Beta Breakers, we offer compatibility testing to ensure your website meets the criteria for cross-browser compatibility. To learn more, contact us today!