The Hidden Cost of Ignoring Browser Compatibility: Why Websites are Losing Business

In the fast-paced digital era, a website is often the first point of contact between a business and its potential customers. However, many businesses are unknowingly losing valuable opportunities by neglecting a critical aspect of web development – testing their sites across different browsers. In this blog post, we will explore the repercussions of overlooking browser compatibility and how it can lead to a significant loss in business.

The Importance of Browser Compatibility:

A recent study by StatCounter revealed that the global browser market is diverse, with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge among the leading players. Ignoring the fact that users access websites through various browsers can result in a poor user experience for a significant portion of your audience. This oversight can lead to frustrated visitors, increased bounce rates, and, ultimately, lost business opportunities.

Diversity of screens

With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, users access websites from an array of devices and browsers. Failure to optimize a site for different screen sizes and browser types can result in a subpar user experience. Google emphasizes mobile-first indexing, making it crucial for businesses to ensure their websites are responsive and function seamlessly across various browsers and devices.

Lost Conversions and Revenue

When users encounter issues with a website in their preferred browser, they are likely to abandon it in search of a competitor with a more seamless user experience. Excluding 1 browser could mean that percentage of potential users not caring. StatsCounter gives you and indication of world trends but it is better to track it yourself on your own analytics. As we seen people move away from Chromium based browsers due to privacy changes that the chromium team are making, and the obvious Google “oops” trying to bring them back… it means there are going to be fewer people.

Reputation Damage:

A poorly performing website can tarnish a brand’s reputation. Users may associate a subpar online experience with the overall quality of a business, leading to negative reviews and word-of-mouth publicity. In the era of social media, a single disgruntled customer can share their experience with a vast audience, amplifying the damage to a company’s image.

How easy is it to test in multiple browsers?

With decent tooling, it’s just a simple case of mentioning the browser that you want on the CLI either through explicitly naming the browser or naming the environment that contains the browser. With the creation of Selenium Manager you don’t even need to have the browsers installed (unless you need Microsoft Edge but hopefully soon).

You can get similar support with things like pytest-selenium and equivalents in other languages.

Selenium based tools also work well with mobile browsers so that you can test your applications. Some tooling even sets up emulators for you! My team has built this and made it super simple with NightwatchJS

The lack of attention to browser compatibility can have far-reaching consequences for companies. From frustrated users and lost conversions to diminished search engine rankings and damaged reputation, the costs of ignoring this critical aspect of web development are significant. Cross browser testing is much easier today than it was years ago.