How Manual Testing Can Bulletproof Software From Browser Updates

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Don’t Have The Rug Pulled From Under Your Feet

Remember back in 2016 when Apple decided to remove the headphone jack from their iPhones? Besides frustrating many users it also had huge consequences for audio equipment manufacturers that counted 3.5mm headphones among their best selling products.

Rather than seeing the change as a threat, the most savvy manufacturers capitalised on the new release by entering the bluetooth headphone market. Others were not so lucky; their inability to quickly respond to Apple’s platform change cost their businesses dearly. 

In many ways this is an apt, comparison for the vulnerability of your app, software or website. Almost all digital products depend on third-party browsers to deliver your product to your customers. 

Whilst it’s unlikely that Firefox, Chrome or Microsoft would ever release browser updates with the intention of being quite as disruptive as Apple’s headphone change, all digital teams must take a proactive approach to testing third-party changes or risk having the rug pulled from beneath their feet.

What Is A Browser Update?

A browser update is a software release that repairs, suppresses or extends functionality. This may occur in response to a bug or as a proactive feature release. The scope of updates can range from indistinguishable code changes through to extensive functionality and UI changes. 

Why Should You Care?

Browsers play a key role in serving your digital assets to your customers. They take HTML, CSS and JavaScript and convert it into something visual. That’s important because browser developers can launch new updates at any time… and they often do. 

In 2016 alone, Firefox, Chrome, Edge and Safari published more than 65 releases! Depending on the scope of the update, this can occasionally affect how your assets look, function and perform for your customers. 

Naturally, you want your digital assets displaying and working as you intended at all times, so it’s important that you stay abreast of external changes or you risk any number of unwanted problems occurring. 

Despite the inevitable risk that accompanies them, browser updates are typically a positive thing. In addition to boosting performance for users, they can also expand your digital toolbox - providing new features, support and functionality that you can use to improve your digital presence moving forward. 

The Cost Of Browser Blindspots

Software bugs results from browser updates can range from completely innocuous to, in some extreme cases, outright catastrophic. That’s a scary thought given that they may arise through no fault of your own, at any time, without warning. The cost of glitches associated with browser updates may include:

  • Poor user experience and customer frustration
  • Decay of goodwill and reputation
  • Security issues and greater exposure to risk
  • Lost revenue due to service outages
  • Negative publicity and media attention
  • Influx of poor ratings and reviews
  • Increased support burdens and complaints

Browser Update Testing

You wouldn’t schedule a new release without first having your QA team review it, right? Anything could happen. The same is true with untested browser updates. In order to prevent functional or display errors, digital teams should thoroughly test key assets in the wake of browser updates. 

These tests provide confidence that browser updates don’t adversely affect your brand and your bottom line. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to conduct focused manual testing after an update is announced. 

Professional Browser Update Testing By Bugwolf

Bugwolf helps digital teams protect the quality of their digital assets in the wake of browser updates. Our on-demand professional testing teams compete against the clock in accelerated six-hour challenges to provide increased coverage and test insights. 

>> Click Here To Request A Demo Today

A manual testing approach allows you to quickly get coverage across your key assets. Manual reports may also inform ways to boost your automated test coverage in the future. 
How To Monitor Releases

The first step of responding to browser releases, is to identify they occurred in the first place. The links below contain a list of release notes for popular browser types. We recommend setting up notifications or an RSS feed to alert you when new updates are released:

>> Follow Firefox Browser Updates 
>> Follow Chrome Browser Updates
>> Follow Safari Browser Updates
>> Follow Microsoft Edge Browser Updates

Testing Considerations

As with any test you run, before you dive in, first you should have a clear understanding of the scope of what you’d like to achieve. This includes getting crystal clear on the following considerations:

  • Which browsers (and respective versions) should your website/software support?
  • Which devices should your website/software support?
  • Which operating systems should your website/software support?
  • What are your performance criteria?

What To Look For When Testing

The key areas to focus on during manual browser update tests are:

  • Functional Elements: do all links, dialogs, multimedia, forms, buttons, menus work correctly?
  • Performance: does everything perform within acceptable standards (e.g. load time)?
  • UI: does the website/software/app display consistently and correctly? 
  • Graceful Degradation: does the asset adjust correctly based on device type? 
  • Responsiveness: does the asset correctly adjust based on device-specific criteria (e.g. screen size, rotation, geography, etc.)?

Hint: Do Your Homework

Different browser updates will impact different areas of your website, app or software. Before diving into manual testing, testers should first research the update to find out if/how others have been affected. Doing this can help focus the testers’ attention on the most high-risk areas of your digital assets. 

What Next?

Browser update testing presents a unique challenge for digital teams because it is typically instigated by a third-party release for a platform you’d like your website/app/software to run on. Nonetheless, given browser updates can affect your digital assets (sometimes dramatically) it should always be treated with the same reverence as your own internal releases.

Bugwolf can help you quickly and easily launch browser update tests that provide confidence your asset is performing to spec in the wake of external changes. 

Click HERE to find out more about our on-demand professional testing teams or to book a 15-minute demo.

Key Takeaways

  1. Browser updates are typically positive, but can result in new software bugs
  2. Monitor browser developer threads to keep up to date with recent releases
  3. Manual testing allows you to respond faster than automated testing
  4. There are five key elements to review when testing after a browser release
  5. Understand updates before you start testing to focus in on key issues

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