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Testing for fragmentation: The ideal mobile cross-browser testing method


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Everyone who has worked with testing apps or web applications on mobile browsers is aware of the complications and difficulties that varied platforms and browsers can present. Present topography has drastically changed owing to digital advancements.

As a result of meeting the client, demands generated bulky apps with complex functionalities. Things that perform fine in one mobile browser and strangely fail in another. This is where cross-browser testing tools come into play. It allows cross-platform testing, i.e. checks if your app works across all concerned devices. Cross-browser testing online will enable you to run your application and find out the devices your application is compatible with. If you notice carefully, you will find numerous mobile devices, browsers, and operating systems to consider. Though Android is the most popular web browser version(36.04% of web browser market share), one cannot neglect others for testing.

Global market share held by leading web browsers

For the best cross-browser testing tools, you can consider companies like HeadSpin that deliver relevant products for all your testing requirements.


We want to know first which mobile devices and Android versions clients prefer. This data is generally extracted from your analytics data. For simplicity, I’ll use an example of a native Android app, but the approach should be similar for iOS or a web application.

Let’s begin with devices. We need to figure out what makes them unique.

You can consider screen size(resolution), but it isn’t a significant differentiating factor. As long as they all use the exact resolution, your app will look the same on a 5″, 5.5″, or 6″ screen (e.g. 1920×1080). Elements will only be slightly larger or smaller.

Hence, it is preferable to consider the screen resolution of mobile phones. So why are we only considering the width and not the screen height? Simple. Our app is only available in portrait orientation. A higher or lower device screen merely displays more information vertically and does not affect the overall rendering of the program, whereas screen width does. We successfully reduced the number of mobile devices on our list by eliminating several which didn’t qualify.

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Some Android versions from the given list may no longer be supported and removed from the list. The remaining Android versions are what we get after eliminating.

We also categorized these together after that. This time, they are based on the most recent Android version. This may be controversial for some, but I have yet to encounter the first instance of anything working in one Android version but not in the latest.

You may probably guess that this isn’t the case for you. It’s OK to include a version that you know is producing problems, even if its usage isn’t specifically high. Taking risks and building confidence are critical components of testing, so do whatever you think is necessary.

Some may want to test each mobile device against each Android version (for nine runs), but I believe this is excessive. Don’t get too caught up in device names. If one isn’t available for some reason, switch to a mobile device with the exact screen resolution (not size! ), as this is our differentiator.


A particular Android version may gain popularity over time, or a new device may become famous overnight. But, once again, employ caution. Under the name of “coverage,” resist the urge to incorporate more and more OS versions and devices.

Every extra test run you perform has a declining payoff. Consider the benefit of another test and whether it truly gives you that much more confidence before releasing.

Remember that the preceding example only applied to Android. You may easily repeat the technique for iOS. Remember that the software we tested only functioned in Portrait mode. Thus we excluded screen height from the equation. If your software supports both Portrait and Landscape modes, screen height could become a key differentiator.

There are a few aspects to consider when web testing: other operating systems, different browsers, and an acceptable range of resolutions. The key here is to examine the level of fragmentation and combine it with your analytics data to see where the differentiators are. Is the current version of Chrome, for example, really that different on Windows and macOS?


Even if you have a robust testing plan in hand, you will occasionally get hit from an unexpected angle.

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There were a few unusual things here. We have noticed an upsurge in app crashes for users attempting to enter our checkout. You must have pondered on these points.

First, why did the app randomly fail for some consumers even though no updates had been released?

Second, our mobile apps are hybrid—90% of them are native to iOS and Android, while the remaining 10% employ a WebView that redirects to our mobile website.

Our current checkout demonstrated it. A short visit to our checkout team revealed that they had not released any new changes. So, from where did these problems stem? The culprit became evident after some digging in the logs: it was the Android WebView.

Until Android 5, the Android WebView was a system component. This meant that if Google wanted to update or solve flaws in WebView, they had to release a complete Android upgrade.

That is what happened to us. After clients began installing the upgrade, the Android WebView received an update that damaged our (web) checkout. Fortunately, one of our front-end developers was able to build and deliver a fix within a few hours, and everything was back to normal.

Until Android 5, the Android WebView was a system component. It meant that if Google wanted to update or solve flaws in WebView, they had to release a complete Android upgrade.

As a result, the Android WebView component was split from Android and made available in the Play Store, allowing it to be updated regardless of the Android OS version.

That is what happened to us. After clients began installing the upgrade, the Android WebView received an update that damaged our (web) checkout. Fortunately, one of our front-end developers was able to build and deliver a fix within a few hours, and everything was back to normal.


Sometimes this might occur to you “how did you avoid this?” or “why did our tests miss it?” Emulators are ideal for testing various devices locally rapidly.

They do, however, have certain downsides. They don’t always operate as real mobile devices and don’t update immediately. We hadn’t discovered this issue earlier due to a lack of automatic updates. When emulators are produced, they include the most recent version of WebView at the time. However, to update an emulator, you must use the SDK tools of Android Studio, which is inconvenient; hence we don’t do it regularly.

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Real devices do not have this issue because they run the Google Play store and can update the WebView in this manner. It’s one of the things that usually doesn’t come to mind when discussing the advantages of testing on real devices. When you get into difficulties, you realize how much you value them.

In the above example, I purposefully made a handful of decisions to generate a set of differentiators for distinguishing various devices and OS versions.

When examining alternative testing methodologies for cross-device and cross-browser testing, it is critical to remember that context is essential. We could minimize devices dramatically by ignoring screen height because our software only runs in portrait mode. Consider what changes have a real influence on the functionality of your website or app, and use that information to determine which devices/os versions/browsers you need to test.

Analyze your usage statistics and make good use of them. And don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re bound to miss something (see the WebView example above), and that’s perfectly acceptable. Learn from it, adapt to it, and modify your strategy as required. Maintenance is a significant aspect of cross-browser testing automation. It holds for the code you develop and all aspects of your project, including the test approach. Everything you perceive to be the correct step at this time will almost certainly need to be adjusted shortly.


The main objective of cross-browser testing is to provide a consistent behavior and user experience across a wide range of compatible devices, browsers, or platforms. You might have observed the wide range of devices present today that becomes a hectic task if manually performed. In these cases, you are advised to automate it.

 HeadSpin’s cross-browser automation testing enables you to :

  • Quickly execute the testing and run it parallelly across many remote environments.  
  • Cross-browser testing automation saves time and money and helps your organization grow stronger with fast development and delivery. 
  • Cross-browser testing automation improves your app quality, performance, and accuracy and enables you to make use of and capture real-time feedback.
Bellie Brown
Bellie Brown
Hi my lovely readers, I am Bellie brown editor and writer of I write blogs on various niches such as business, technology, lifestyle., health, entertainment, etc as well as manage the daily reports of the website. I am very addicted to my work which makes me keen on reading and writing on the very latest and trending topics. One can check my more writings by visiting

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