Automated Tests for Responsive Websites – The Basics, Importance, and Tools
Tests for responsive websites are an essential part of developing your website, understand why it’s important, what to look for and get some great tools to automate the task.
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It’s likely that most of us have noticed the difference in user experience when a website is accessed from different devices. Some web pages seamlessly function across screen configurations, and some do not.
When a website adheres to the responsive design approach, it automatically “responds” (i.e., it’s responsive) as per the accessed device screen’s configuration. Thanks to the responsive website design technique, web developers can now maintain just one version of the content, instead of maintaining several versions of one website, each for different screen sizes, resolutions, and configurations.
Several powerful tools help web developers build new-age websites efficiently with the responsiveness feature, including Gridset and Wirefy, among others. Also, there are several advanced automation testing tools available for QA engineers to help test websites for responsiveness, including testproject.io and BrowserStack. This article will address the basics, the importance of testing responsiveness of websites, and also provide details for a few automation test tools that a web development project can use to their advantage.
Importance of automated responsive website testing
QA testers have the responsibility of ensuring that time and money are saved by building efficient, automated responsive website design tests. These tests will find any visual discrepancies when tested on a wide range of devices. The following are the two primary reasons why responsive website tests are vital:
A distributed high customer base
Did you know that in addition to those websites accessed from desktops, a whopping number of users also access these sites from other device sources, including mobiles? In the case of mobile device usage alone, as per research, smartphone users spend an average of 4.5 hours daily online. Without question, it’s important that a website function uniformly across all device sizes and types.
The high number of test combinations – device type configurations
If we were to perform the high number of screen configuration combinations of tests manually, it would be incredibly tedious and time-consuming. Manual testing would need a large number of testers to incorporate the huge number of combinations. However, using the responsive website design automated test tools will make this job easier as they are powered up by the Cloud and virtualization. Fewer testers and lab machines will need to be deployed in on-premises labs. And clearly, this will save money for the project as well.
With the automatic responsive website design tests run on the Cloud, tests can be on real-devices that are configured in the data centers. Additionally, they can be run using simulators and emulators. The best part about this is that the QA team has flexibility to let you choose among a variety of devices with 24×7 availability!
Additionally, in using these tools, tests can be run in parallel as well as remotely. This will make the automation project testing much easier to complete and more productive–saving time, money, and resources.
Responsiveness testing – website aspects to consider
The following are important aspects to keep in mind when testing websites for responsiveness:
Viewports – the visible area
The visible area in a website is the viewport. Of course, this area differs as per the device for desktop, mobile, or tablet. Websites that are designed for responsiveness automatically adapt to several screen sizes as per the device used. Web page elements are placed as per the viewport meta tag defined for the web page.
Web page elements, text – Flexibility as per variability
When websites are designed to be responsive, elements are ensured to be such that sizes are not fixed. They should be assigned as flexible, and change as per the device being used. CSS media queries help make this possible. The text also can be configured accordingly using them as per the different dimensions of viewports.
As per the viewport, the width of the images is associated with the width of the container DOM element. When this is done, and when the container element changes, the image will be automatically resized. When designing responsive websites, optimizing the images is a vital feature.
Navigation menus – Hidden or not?
Navigation menus are now made responsive by offering them as either drop-down menus or hidden menus that become visible when the mouse pointer is moved over the menu.
3 Tools for Website Responsiveness Testing
This free-forever end to end test automation product is ideal for responsive website testing. It has a Web extensions AddOn which can be used for several actions of responsive design tests. For example, tests can be designed to:
- Set size of the current window. The input parameters for the actions are width and height for the window size. Also, to incorporate many combinations of such test data, we can store the data in a CSV as the data source to enable test data-driven development.
- Switch between windows and tabs.
- Move windows in the screen, and more.
The tool can be integrated with BrowserStack which extends the capabilities of responsive web testing as well.
BrowserStack enables responsive tests on real devices. This includes multiple Android and iOS devices. In the tool, one can enter the URL that needs to be tested for responsiveness, and choose the device on which it needs to be checked.
The output of the test results mentions the viewport, screen size and monitor size of the chosen device. Accordingly, one can choose among the orientations of the screen – portrait or landscape. The output displays how the web page would look on the device that was chosen. The testing is live interactive testing that can be performed on 2000+ real devices and browsers as well.
Designmodo tool is a free responsive website design checker as well. The inputs are:
- The URL to be tested
- The dimensions of the website to be tested on
- The device to be tested: mobile, tabs, or desktops
Accordingly, the web page is displayed as per the inputs chosen, and it can be tested to check if they’re displaying correctly or not.
Since responsive website design is key in improving a customer’s user experience, it’s vital to consider this aspect of technology. When a website is designed for high-quality responsiveness, the customer base increases, there are better conversion rates, and eventually, an improved customer impression of the brand. Responsiveness is thus a trending feature for today’s websites!