Website responsiveness acts as an important factor for the search engine ranking and influences Google search results largely. And above all, the majority of people nowadays access the internet through their smartphones. So website responsive design testing is essential as a validation method for any website to ensure that their website works fine when viewed through a mobile phone.
What is responsive web design (RWD) or simply responsive design?
Responsive web design is a technique or approach by which the web pages render themselves adaptively to suit the size and resolution of the device on which they are being accessed. This gives the users an easy reading experience along with simpler navigations.
With the huge number of websites and domain names getting added to the internet, it is very important from the user experience perspective for the website to be responsive. Else you can be sure of losing your audience. Imagine the plight of having to scroll your page in all direction to find a single button to click
The experience of internet users on mobile devices varies from that on desktops. Therefore, testing a responsive web design is very important.
The main challenge when testing a responsive website is to ensure that the respective website works the same on different platforms.
However, this testing is not really practical for all mobile devices available in the market.
Testing a responsive design starts with resizing of the browser’s window in order to fit view port of a tablet, desktop or mobile phone.
The approach is enough for a quick visual check of the website in various view ports. It helps the testers to detect major issues while shrinking or enlarging the browser window.
Have a look at the Top 10 tools used to test responsive design.
This is one of the most widely used tools for responsive testing. The highlight of the tool is that it is one of the easiest and simplest tool to work with. And to it the fact that it is a free web browser-based tool. To check the responsive nature of your website all you need to do is enter the URL along with then select the different size and shapes of screen available. The moment you hit the submit button, the tool will display how the website will render in device with the shape and size of your choice.
This is a cross-browser mobile testing tool which enables the users to test up to 22,000 different browsers, mobile, and OS combinations. This tool especially supports the responsive design testing with a separate tab under Visual UI dedicated to responsive testing. It is a free cross-browser testing application which comes with some premium features as well, which is priced. This is tool is widely used across the IT industry with some major names like Capegemini, Deolite, Virtusa, edureka and many more.
This is another tool which is very commonly used for testing the responsive design of a website. Another very simple tool, all you need to do to get started it to type the URL and click the GO button.
You will be directed to the screen where you will be able to choose your device. Screenfly currently gives you several options in television, tablet, mobile and desktop to choose from. It will also give an option to choose a custom size it they already do not have that option.
The only drawback with Screenfly is that it will not take into account the rendering. It accounts only for the fluid layouts and different screen sizes.
Google chrome comes with a set of inbuilt DevTools, Device Tool is one of them. It may not be very accurate but can definitely be used by the developers as the first ballpark estimate of how the web page will look in different devices.
Similar to other tools available, device Tools also gives you the option to select the device size. But the difference here is that the mobile user experience is simulated using code and it will definitely not be able to replicate the mobile architecture. But again it is a handy tool for developers to instantaneously check and authenticate the responsive design.
Google resizer works on material design patterns. The material design consists of columns, gutter, and margins. Google material design advocates on the usage of column widths, gutters, etc. in a way which such that it can responsively adjust to the screen size by making use of the gutters and margins.
There are a number of UI patterns that come into picture when the responsive resizing happens like transforming, dividing, expanding, revealing, hiding, etc. A resizer will help you better understand each of these and thus help you decide which one would be best suited for your needs.
GhostLab is a paid website testing app. And the best part is that it allows you to perform your tests and actions on a large number of browsers and mobile devices of different screen size and resolution at the same time. The best part of this app is that you need not perform your actions on each browser. Whatever your actions are performed on the first browser get replicated in all other browsers, hence the name GhostLab. The app also allows you to take screenshots, add text to the screenshot and even attach it to your bug tracking tool if needed.
BrowserStack is a cloud-based web and mobile testing platform. It is one of the most advanced and full-featured testing tool available in the market today. It boasts of more than 2000 devices and desktop browsers solely dedicated for testing purpose. Time and again they keep adding more devices to their kitty based on the popularity of the device and the features offered. BrowserStack works by connecting you to a device or server located somewhere which you can access through the cloud in a webpage. All actions performed by the user on the web page are replicated on the mobile devices and browsers as well. Some of the very high profile clientele for BrowserStack includes Twitter, RBS, Microsoft, Harvard University among others.
CrossBrowser Testing is the BrowserStack’s biggest competition. It works almost the same way and presently includes more than 1500 browsers and mobile devices which can be used for testing and development. All the actions are performed in real devices and it is able to replicate the mobile features like swipe, pinch in and pinch out as well. Besides providing real-time experience with real devices, it also supports CI, which is the next big onus across the IT industry.
This is a free tool which can be used to test the responsiveness of a website and how well your website renders on different devices and browsers. Currently, it supports tablets, mobile phones and desktop only. The user can choose different sizes and resolutions for these three categories to test their website for responsiveness.
Viewport Resizer is a free tool which can be used to see how the webpage will look in different screen sizes and resolutions. It is a very simple and easy to use tool which is completely free. All one needs to do is, create and save a bookmark let of the website that we are trying to check. Once you click GO you will be able to select the screen size and resolution in which you want to see your website. It is a very basic and simple tool which can be used within minutes to get the desired results.
How To Test a Responsive Design?
A responsive design tester can consider the following variances for Responsive testing-
Emulators: it is a simulation-based on the web. It simulates how a website or application will look like or function in a mobile device.
The emulator does not serve you with the exact testing facilities.
However, they are a very cost-effective and powerful solution to test a website’s compatibility in different screen size.
Google Dev Tools-Device mode: it consists of a feature known as device mode which includes tools that are very helpful for debugging and testing responsive designs.
It tests your responsive design by emulating various screen resolutions and sizes.
Moreover, it uses a network emulator to evaluate your site’s performance without hindering the operations of other tabs.
The tool inspects and visualizes media queries and simulates device input accurately.
*Break point demands an adaptation of the layout. It consists of modules that change their rules and positions.
Finally, you need to narrow down your options for device testing to ensure your website works perfectly for the majority of your users.
However, responsive design testing on every device combination does not seem to be a practical option.
Determine the use of your web application. You can take the help of Google Analytics to identify which devices are used by your customers to reach your website.
Furthermore, you should be able to detect the breakpoints and all the elements that will be appearing as you shift from one breakpoint to another.
After this is done, its time you take into consideration the automated tools and emulators and conduct basic checks and functional testing.
Combine the testing with the real device manual testing in the end.
Testing a responsive design is very challenging. However, you must choose the most efficient way to tackle them. A successful future of a mobile application depends largely on its responsive design testing. Proper and successful responsive design testing can contribute in a great way to meet up to your expectations of setting your site up.