When most people think of “compatibility”, they’re not thinking about computer software programs. But they honestly should be! Some types of compatibility have nothing to do with how people or animals get along. Software compatibility testing, for example, helps determine whether or not a software program or application is capable of working on different environments, operating systems, hardware, other software or mobile devices.
Most in-house QA teams will test their software on all of their available equipment, but this doesn’t cover all of the types of systems on the market. Consumers who can’t run a particular software on their systems may tarnish a company’s reputation with negative online reviews.
Purpose of Compatibility Testing
Compatibility testing helps ensure that your customers can install and run their purchased software. This type of testing determines how well the overall operation of the system is working with your software. Compatibility testing ensures the following:
- The software can install and function on multiple environments
- Variances in screen size, resolution, and operating systems do not corrupt the software
- The minimum specs required to run the software
- Software is tested against various hardware interfaces like graphics cards, headphones, various ram types, etc.
This type of testing helps ensure that your software works on different versions of operating systems, different types of computers and software programs, and different network environments. This helps ensure that a user can run the software on many types of user configurations without annoying glitches.
How Software Compatibility Testing Works
When a QA team runs a compatibility test, the software will be tested on different hardware systems under many different conditions. For example, the QA team will test your software on:
- Different browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari
- Operating Systems, including different versions of Windows, Chrome, iOS and Linux
- Various levels of computing capacity
- Hardware peripherals
- Multiple versions of system software
Why Conduct Compatibility Testing
A software program that doesn’t work correctly on a majority of systems poses a risk to both finances and reputation. You won’t be able to sell the software to all users, therefore drastically reducing profits. Plus, users that do buy the software only to find out that it doesn’t work, may never purchase products from your company again.
Businesses that encounter compatibility problems too late will have to try to correct the issue after the product is already released, which will result in costly recalls and repairs.