What is Compatibility Testing? [A Brief Answer]

What is Compatibility Testing?

Compatibility testing is a type of non-functional testing performed to validate if the software performs well across different types of environments, devices, and networks.

Think of it as a systematic exploration to uncover how adaptable your software is, evaluating its interoperability with different operating system versions, browsers, network environments, and hardware configurations.

The goal of compatibility testing is to identify and fix the issues and bugs that may occur due to incompatibility and ensure a better user experience. Compatibility testing type is a critical part of the testing process and is considered one of the important software testing types, especially considering the diversity of user environments.

On top of that, multiple types of software testing help you to build and release bug-free and high-quality software solutions. You can read about each type from this detailed guide on different types of software testing. Next, let’s learn now about the internal types of compatibility testing.

Which are the Different Types of Compatibility Testing?

Here are the core types of compatibility testing that you need to perform while conducting this testing.

  1. Operating System Compatibility Testing

    Operating System compatibility testing involves validating the software application across different operating systems. Operating systems could include Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, and iOS, with their respective versions.

    For example, your software may behave differently on Windows 10 than on Windows 7, so it’s important to test the application on all the targeted systems and ensure that it provides a similar user experience.

  2. Browser Compatibility Testing

    Browser compatibility testing is crucial for web applications. This type of testing helps you to validate if your web application functions as required across various browsers.

    Browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. Each browser has its way of interpreting the code and displaying it to users. Differences in JavaScript, CSS, and HTML handling can lead to different user experiences.

  3. Device Compatibility Testing

    Device compatibility testing helps you to know how well your software performs across different devices. Devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones of various makes and models.

    The goal of device compatibility testing is to ensure that users have a consistent experience no matter what type of device they use. This is particularly important in our current era where mobile device usage often surpasses that of traditional computers.

  4. Network Compatibility Testing

    Network compatibility testing involves reviewing how an application performs under different network environments. This could be varying internet speeds, bandwidths, or even network infrastructure (3G, 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi).

    Some software might work fine on high-speed networks but struggle on slower networks, which can significantly impact user experience.

  5. Software Compatibility Testing

    Software compatibility testing inspects if your application is compatible with other software components. For instance, you might have a plugin designed to work with specific software.

    Software compatibility testing would ensure that your plugin works as expected without disrupting the primary software’s functionality.

  6. Hardware Compatibility Testing

    Hardware compatibility testing validates the software’s compatibility with different hardware configurations. This could include different processor types, amounts of RAM, hard disk space, and graphics cards.

    Not every user will have the same hardware configuration, so the software application must be tested to work across a broad spectrum of hardware.

  7. Mobile Compatibility Testing

    Mobile compatibility testing is similar to device compatibility testing but focuses specifically on mobile devices. This involves testing on different mobile devices, screen sizes, resolutions, internal hardware, and operating systems. The fragmentation in the mobile device market makes this type of testing especially important.

  8. Version Compatibility Testing

    When a new version of the software is released, it must work with existing data and database schemas. Version compatibility testing ensures that the software’s new version doesn’t disrupt the existing data when installed and run. This is important to ensure a seamless upgrade experience for the user.

  9. Backward Compatibility Testing

    When new versions of a software product are released, it’s often critical that these versions are compatible with previous versions. Backward compatibility testing validates whether the functionalities that worked in the older version also work with the new version or not. This way, you ensure that end-users upgrading from an older version don’t lose any functionality.

    As you see performing compatibility testing is very important, it allows you to know whether the software is compatible with different browsers, devices, and operating systems. This is the reason compatibility testing is considered one of the important non-functional testing. If you are curious to learn more about different testing types, read an introduction about non-functional testing and its important types.

5 Key Benefits of Compatibility Testing

Here are the key benefits that you should know about compatibility testing.

  1. Provide an Enhanced User Experience

    To assure that your software runs smoothly across different environments and devices, consider performing compatibility testing which helps you to enhance user experience and satisfaction. This way, you can provide a better experience and retain customers with positive word-of-mouth.

  2. Get a Diverse Audience By Covering a Large Market

    Compatibility testing ensures your software works on a variety of platforms, devices, and browsers. This results in reaching a larger, more diverse audience, and increasing customer base.

  3. Reduce the Unnecessary Costs That Occurs After Deployment

    By identifying compatibility issues early in the development process, you can prevent costly fixes and patches after the software has been released. This also reduces the time and resources spent on customer support after the release of your software to tackle compatibility issues if any.

  4. Deliver Quality Software and Build a Brand Reputation

    When your software performs consistently across different platforms and environments, it reflects a high standard of quality and professionalism. This way, you earn the trust of your end-users and enhance your brand reputation in the market.

  5. Reduce the Lost of Potential Customers and Your Revenue

    Software that fails due to compatibility issues can lead to unhappy customers and potential revenue loss. To ensure there are compatibility issues in your software, you need to perform compatibility testing. This testing helps you to prevent such issues and ensure your software is stable and reliable across various conditions.

    To safeguard your software from unexpected penalties, you also need to make the software accessible and usable to even disability-enabled people. By conducting accessibility parallelly with compatibility testing, you can ensure the software meets the end-users expectations and helps you to prevent revenue loss.

    If you are unaware of accessibility testing, read a brief explanation about accessibility testing here.

In conclusion, compatibility testing is an important type of software testing. This testing helps you to know if the software performs well across various environments and devices. By conducting this testing, you can save possible costs and revenue loss after deployment.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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