Even as web technologies are becoming more complex, users are less patient than ever before. The bar has risen significantly. Users expect a website to be 100% intuitive and functional. If it isn’t, they leave quickly – and with an unfavorable impression of your brand.
Because user experience is so crucial, rigorous website testing isn’t simply a “nice to have.” It’s a definite “must have” for every business. To deliver a positive user experience, website testing and quality assurance should focus on the following from a user’s perspective:
- Functionality: Does the site do what it’s supposed to do, interacting appropriately with users?
- Appearance: Is it intuitive, visually appealing and easy to read with respect to color scheme and layout?
- Flow of Control: Does everything work, including forms, without jumping back and forth haphazardly?
- Back End: Are there “behind the scenes” problems, such as data corruption or faulty code, causing performance bottlenecks?
Prevent User Experience Problems
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the same holds true when it comes to website testing. Ideally, testing should occur prior to launching a new site, page or app so you can identify and correct defects before users find them. Unfortunately, many companies realize the value of website testing only after something has gone awry and visitors have been burned.
Regardless of whether you’re testing a site pre-launch or need to perform cleanup on a site that’s already gone live, a professional, third party QA team can provide the objectivity and technical expertise necessary to assure your website is pristine on all levels.
Leave No Stone Unturned
What types of website testing should QA teams perform to improve user experience? A complete, thorough testing and QA strategy should include the following:
- End-to-end Testing – Verify operation of the entire site, from web pages and database to content management and API access with third-party services.
- Load time performance monitoring – Using system monitoring software to provide an external view of how the site loads for users and measuring site response degradation under heavy user loads
- Search function results testing – Testing the embedded search engine against common/uncommon search strings to verify it returns accurate results.
- Link verification – Verifying every website link and preparing a report indicating invalid or inactive links.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Testing the implementation of web-based services used by the site through full exercise of the applicable APIs.
- Cross-browser, cross-device functionality testing – Testing websites across browsers and devices to ensure proper functionality in every environment, including desktop, tablet and mobile.
Know How to Properly Vet Website Testing Companies
What should you look for when seeking a professional website testing company? The answer may vary depending on your needs, but as a rule, you should work with a company with the following characteristics:
- An experienced team that has been in the QA business for many years, with an impressive track record of successful projects completed
- The ability to custom build teams that fit the project requirements – which might include QA managers, architects and engineers, test leads and test technicians – all with expertise testing a wide variety of websites and web apps
- The capacity to test your site across myriad different types of devices and operating systems
- An Agile-trained team who’ll work directly in your SCRUM sprints alongside your developers to facilitate open communication and a continual cycle of improvement
- A team that anticipates problems, stays ahead of the curve, and can provide insight in selecting and using the latest automation tools
- Test professionals who understand cultural issues that may be present and can look at your site from different perspectives
- Flexibility to scale up or down with your needs, without cost penalties
Remember, what you don’t know about your website can hurt you, resulting in unhappy customers and potentially irreparable damage to your brand. Comprehensive website testing from a skilled QA team can save time, money – and your reputation.
Got an eCommerce site? Check out our post, How to Prevent Lost Sales with eCommerce Quality Assurance, to learn the special requirements needed for eCommerce website testing.