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Common Cross Browser Compatibility Issues To Avoid

Cross-browser compatibility issues present significant challenges for web developers in rendering, and behavior across different browsers can impact user experience and functionality. Automation testing addresses these challenges by improving the testing process across multiple browsers and versions. In this blog, we will explore common cross-browser compatibility issues and best practices to avoid them.

Cross Browser Compatibility Overview

Cross-browser compatibility is how the web application can deliver the same user experience without showing errors and inconsistencies, irrespective of which web browser is used. 

Since web browsers made by different organizations could use different search engines and standards, they can read HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code differently. This generates inconsistency with how a website is displayed and its features work across various browsers.

Cross-browser compatibility means that a site’s design should be developed so that when a user accesses it from different browsers, it offers the same experience.

Common Issues To Avoid In Cross-Browser Compatibility

Let us explore the common issues in cross-browser compatibility and how to avoid them during automation testing and deployment. 

CSS Box Model Differences

The CSS box model (CBM) describes how components get rendered in web pages regarding width, height, padding, borders, and margins. These variations in how browsers interpret and implement the box-model specifications often result in inconsistent layouts and unpredictable behavior.

Since IE versions between IE8 and earlier were full of bugs and their box model presentation was not precise, every web page had to be developed in a manually specific way. These previous versions included the element’s border and padding within the declared width and height, according to the box model standard used by other browsers.

To address these inconsistencies and ensure cross-browser compatibility

  • Use CSS Reset or Normalize Stylesheets: A CSS reset or normalize stylesheet is one of the most effective ways to standardize all the browser’s CSS of all the HTML elements. This approach secures a single spot, which is the basis for styling, and reduces unwanted variations in layout.
  • Explicitly Define Box Sizing: Use the box-sizing property to give an exact direction to the element’s width and height calculation algorithm. This property is set as a “content box” by default, having just the width and the height, excluding the padding and the border. Though we may not be allowed to use box shadows, we can still use border boxes to set padding and borders within the defined region, keeping all browsers consistent.
  • Automation Testing Across Multiple Browsers and Cloud Platforms: Thoroughly test your website or application across different browsers and versions to identify any box model-related issues. This includes utilizing cloud testing platforms that offer scalable and efficient testing solutions across various browser environments. By utilizing cloud platforms like LambdaTest for testing, developers can improve the automation testing process, reduce infrastructure overhead, and ensure comprehensive coverage.

LambdaTest is a comprehensive test orchestration and execution platform that leverages artificial intelligence to facilitate the seamless and efficient running of manual and automated tests on a large scale. Focusing on providing a versatile testing environment, LambdaTest empowers users to conduct both real-time and automated testing across an extensive array of environments, encompassing over 3000 configurations, including browsers and real mobile devices.

Float and Clear Handling

Float and clear handling in CSS are crucial for creating complex layouts, but consistency across browsers can lead to layout issues. Float behavior can vary between browsers, especially in older versions of Internet Explorer. This can result in elements not aligning correctly or wrapping improperly. Clearing floats is essential to prevent subsequent content from wrapping around floated elements unintentionally. The interpretation of the clear property may differ among browsers, necessitating careful handling.

Developers commonly use clear fix techniques during automation testing to ensure consistent float behavior and prevent layout problems. These techniques involve adding a clear fix class or pseudo-element to the parent container of floated elements to clear them properly. Automation testing across browsers and screen sizes is essential to identify and address float-related compatibility issues. Browser developer tools can help inspect layout behavior and debug problems. 

CSS Flexbox and Grid

CSS Flexbox and Grid are layout methods that change how web designers and developers develop standard responsive websites. The cross-browser compatibility of these modern CSS features is the key to creating a uniform interface across different operating systems and devices.

Flexbox and Grid support modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge; older browser versions may lack full compatibility. Internet Explorer, older versions before IE10, have limited or no support for these layout methods.

To address compatibility challenges

  • Vendor Prefixes: Vendor prefixes implemented experimental CSS properties in early browser versions, including Flexbox and Grid. While most modern browsers support these features without prefixes, older versions may still require them for compatibility.
  • Feature Detection: Use feature detection libraries like Modernizr during automation testing to determine browser support for Flexbox and Grid. This allows for implementing fallback styles or alternative layouts for browsers that lack support.
  • Progressive Enhancement: Start with a basic layout using traditional CSS techniques and enhance it with Flexbox or Grid for web browsers that support these features. 

Font rendering

Font rendering discrepancies occur when fonts appear differently across browsers and operating systems due to variations in rendering engines, anti-aliasing algorithms, and system settings. Anti-aliasing can differ between browsers due to variations in text clarity. Font smoothing algorithms and subpixel rendering techniques may vary, affecting the sharpness and appearance of text. System-level font settings or font smoothing preferences can further influence font rendering consistency across applications.

To address font rendering issues, developers can:

  • Select Web-Safe Fonts: To maintain uniformity, select fonts that typically render the same in all browsers and platforms.
  • Embed Custom Fonts: Use font hosting services to embed custom fonts to ensure consistent rendering across different environments.
  • Test Across Browsers: Test websites or applications across multiple browsers and operating systems to identify discrepancies. Browser automation testing tools facilitate this process.
  • Adjust Font Properties: Fine-tune font properties such as size, weight, and line height to achieve a consistent appearance.

JavaScript compatibility

JavaScript compatibility refers to the capability of JavaScript code to be executed in sync across different web browsers and platforms. JavaScript’s interaction with the Document Object Model and the browser APIs ensures the delivery of dynamic and interactive websites.

  • Browser Differences: Each browser has its JavaScript engine with quirks and optimizations. For instance, Internet Explorer historically had poor support for modern JavaScript features compared to Chrome or Firefox. Ensuring compatibility across major browsers, automation testing, and specific workarounds.
  • ECMAScript Standards: JavaScript is based on ECMAScript standards, but not all browsers implement the latest standards simultaneously. 
  • Feature Detection: Instead of relying on browser detection, feature detection techniques in automation testing should be used to determine whether a specific feature or API is supported. This allows for degradation or alternative strategies for unsupported features.

CSS vendor prefixes

CSS vendor prefixes allowed developers to experiment with and use cutting-edge CSS features before they became standardized. These prefixes are specific to certain browsers and are added to the beginning of CSS properties to indicate experimental or browser-specific implementations.

While vendor prefixes helped advance CSS capabilities, they also introduced challenges for developers as different browsers often implemented the same feature with different prefixes or syntax. This led to code duplication, maintenance overhead, and increased complexity.

As CSS standards evolved and browser vendors aligned on common features, the need for vendor prefixes decreased. 

Responsive design

Responsive design is the approach that aims to integrate web experiences into web applications no matter the size of the screen or device being used. However, achieving it poses several challenges for developers.

  • Complexity of Layouts: It can be quite challenging to construct effective boxes or frames in small screen areas and orientations. Adding the balance of the elements, adjusting spacing to ensure readable text, and maintaining consistency across all devices require thorough planning and execution during automation testing.
  • Performance Optimization: Designs commonly include loading different assets or running different codes depending on device specifications. Enhancing performance to attain maximum efficiency in data conservation and page load times while retaining the design’s functionality and visual arrangement is the major task.
  • Media Queries and Breakpoints: Implementing media queries and setting breakpoints to handle layout and styling modification based on the screen size of different devices requires a lot of attention. Setting the appropriate breakpoints and having clean breaks with no rough edges can be difficult, particularly for complex designs.
  • Content Prioritization: Deciding what content to show and what to hide while displaying the content on smaller screens is very difficult. Finding a balance between usability and readability, which gets along with the limited-screen space, is a critical factor that needs to be considered and tested thoroughly.
  • User Experience Consistency: Consistency is a key feature of a good website user experience that is visible on all devices and screen sizes. However, the website’s usability is the main challenge, as you must remain consistent with interactions, navigation patterns, and visuals even when switching gears from the large screen.

CSS transitions and animations 

CSS transitions and animations add interactivity and visual appeal to web interfaces, but implementing them effectively presents several challenges

  • Performance Considerations: CSS transitions and animations can impact page performance, especially on low-powered devices or older browsers. Overusing animations or applying complex effects may result in janky or stuttering animations, detracting from the user experience. Optimizing animations for performance by minimizing repaints and reflows, using hardware acceleration, and employing techniques like debouncing or throttling is essential.
  • Complexity of Timing Functions: Selecting appropriate timing functions for transitions and animations can be challenging. Deciding the best balance between smoothness and reactiveness while considering user expectations is not a simple task; it requires experimentation and careful consideration.
  • Accessibility: Multiple animations can enhance the user experience, but they can also lead to difficulties for people who are visually impaired or have motion sensitivity problems. Providing options like disabling the animations or adjusting their speed ensures that the main information is not delivered only through animations.


 In conclusion, browser compatibility problems are quite difficult to solve, but adopting best practices, modern approaches, and strict automation testing, including cloud testing, can guarantee a consistent and reliable user experience for all browsers. By addressing common compatibility issues in advance, you can save time, reduce users’ frustration, and achieve better accessibility and usability for your web projects.

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