A 2021 Reset Requires a Robust QA Testing Plan
QA Testing Services Provide Control and Structure
As we venture into 2021, there are several obstacles facing business and the economy: the effects of a transition of power in the US, cultural challenges, and a pandemic that continues to impact the lives of millions. While there is a lot that undoubtedly seems out of our control, there is still much we can do to mitigate the costs of chaos.
A robust digital quality assurance testing strategy will help not only sustain, but also strengthen business in the year ahead. Still, in considering effective testing strategies, it is vital to understand what the current environment requires, yet not overlook aspects of the business that are often taken for granted. This article will breakdown the big picture components we feel provide structure to a comprehensive QA testing strategy. Those considerations include:
- The growing needs of a remote workforce
- Speed and agility more important than ever
- Integration testing ensures a fluid operating system
- Accessibility and compliance should not be overlooked
Along with highlighting the need for solid infrastructure, this last year made us especially aware of the pivot companies have had to accommodate by broadening technical capabilities for remote workforces. That is where we start.
Remote Workforce Becoming Permanent
While some companies were prepared with the strategies in place to satisfy a remote workforce, many were caught completely off guard. As the COVID crisis spread across the US in March of 2020, companies were scrambling to get hardware and software in place to manage the day-to-day business. Today, remote work is part of the “new normal”, and some companies are even planning to keep their employees remote for the foreseeable future. According to a US News and World Report, one-third of the companies questioned anticipate having half or more of their workforce remain remote after the pandemic.
A study published by human resources consulting firm Mercer found that the number of companies expecting to have half or more of their employees working remotely post the COVID-19 pandemic increased to 1 in 3, compared with 1 in 30 companies that had that many employees working remotely pre-pandemic. — US News and World Report
Another insightful aspect of the same report mentioned that despite the shifting hours and duties, productivity ultimately remained the same or had improved. Those that were able to adapt quickly, implementing careful planning, utilizing sufficient software, and prioritizing robust software support experienced this transition at an optimized level.
It is also important to note that the attention to software quality assurance is equally as critical to your remote workforce as it is to your customer. Your software testing programs should cover the products and services you deliver along with the products and services your team uses in that delivery.
While the challenge of this time might seem overwhelming, it is important to remain vigilant and responsive to the environment. The speed of the market has not decreased this last year, and in some cases has even gotten faster. Responding to the speed requires resourcefulness and agility.
Speed and Agility is More Important Than Ever
The world seems to be moving faster by the day, even during a pandemic. The speed at which software is developed and released is astonishing, and that speed only seems to be increasing with every iteration. Without an agile strategy in place, it would be impossible to keep up with the speed of development and the QA testing necessary to maintain function.
While the approach and software needed for specific industries might be very different, the one thing that remains the same is the expectation – and demand – for the quality of the software being used. Maintaining the highest level of quality is still a priority, so whether organizations are facing pressure to speed releases or pressure for cost efficiencies, software testing will still be a critical part of the strategy.
Integration Testing Ensures a Fluid Operating System
While speed is always critical for launching any software product, a comprehensive look at the entire system may have some impact on just how fast launching a flawless product and seamless user experience can be. Integration testing is key in managing function as well as user experience. Implementing integration testing into your QA strategy establishes a safety net that alerts the team whenever changes break previously verified functionality. Integration testing services will ensure that every step of the end-to-end transaction work as expected. A seamless transaction, no matter what the user interface, is essential, especially under a sudden increase in demand as more customers and employees are operating online. Integration testing is designed to catch the defects that only appear when all the code is interacting with real-world operating scenarios while making the decisions and responses that create happy customers. It is where the system comes together as a fluid operating entity.
Clearly, integration testing is key in operations, however, testing applications could vary depending on the specific needs of the company. Below are just some of the testing services that will address the needs of your workflow and ensure that your digital transformation strategies are successful.
- Functional Testing
- Usability Testing
- Accessibility Testing
- Load and Performance Testing
- Regression Testing
- Exploratory Testing
- Interoperability Testing
Testing that relates to function and usability tends to be a priority but accessibility and the compliance that comes along with it can sometimes be overlooked. The importance of engaging this audience with a positive experience cannot be overstated, and statistics are eye-opening as you will see below.
Accessibility Compliance for Equal Access
With hundreds of millions of visually, hearing, or mobility-impaired people worldwide, your web and mobile applications must be easy to access for those with disabilities. Accessibility testing determines how well your website or mobile application can be understood, navigated, and used, regardless of the technology or platform used to access it. Most importantly there are standards that companies need to meet to provide full access to those users, a population in numbers that might surprise. Statistics released by the Census Bureau have outlined those audiences below.
According to figures released by the Census Bureau in 2011, 56.7 million Americans (18.7% of the U.S. population) have some type of disability with that number expected to have increased exponentially by 2025. This survey went on to estimate the number of people with specific impairments that impact accessibility online and on mobile as follows:
- 19.9 million (8.2%) have difficulty lifting or grasping. This could, for example, impact their use of a mouse or keyboard.
- 15.2 million (6.3%) have a cognitive, mental, or emotional impairment.
- 8.1 million (3.3%) have a vision impairment. These people might rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader or might have a form of color blindness.
- 7.6 million (3.1%) have a hearing impairment. They might rely on transcripts and/or captions for audio and video media.
These statistics validate the need for regulation with government and non-government entities. They also show why accessibility testing is critical, and compliance certification should be sustained.
WCAG Compliance Testing & Certification is a Process
WCAG 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Developed with assistance from individuals and organizations around the world, WCAG 2.0 provides a shared standard for web content accessibility that accommodates the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally.
Website accessibility for WCAG 2.1 AA and AAA certification requires a blend of automated and manual testing. QualityLogic has experienced engineers and test technicians from the disabled community that provides unique and relevant insight for the most accurate accessibility testing possible. And once your site is compliant, we offer ongoing monitoring and support services to ensure your site will remain accessible and usable for all users. Here is how we break down the process.
1. Automated Testing
We first test your site using specific automation tools that discover errors that can be programmatically validated. Our tools will detect the most common problems like contrast errors, structural issues, and common HTML bugs.
2. Manual Testing
Next, your site is audited by our team of WCAG test technicians using the tools used by impacted individuals. That means the tests we’re running will identify the issues that are most likely to impact your customers
3. Remediation & Regression Testing
Once testing is complete, you’ll receive a compliance report that contains a summary of the errors we found. Once the errors are fixed by your team or ours, we run regression tests to ensure complete WCAG 2.1 AA or AAA compliance.
4. Accessibility Certification
Once your site passes, you’ll receive attestation from QualityLogic certifying your website is fully WCAG compliant. Then we continue to monitor your site daily to ensure it stays compliant.
A Deep Breath and a Reset
In closing, as 2021 gets underway, the world seems to be primed for a reset and repositioning. Companies across the globe have stepped back to assess needs and develop strategies that will help strengthen and grow their business. At QualityLogic, we have a collective passion for how we fit into that process even in the most challenging times. Times like these push us to be better and to dig deeper for methods and products that will benefit our clients and the culture that we help to nurture. We take pride in delivering the kind of QA testing services that help make companies stronger especially in a climate that requires a deep breath and a reset.
Contact us today and let us help you develop a software testing services strategy or accelerate the programs you already have in place. With a quick, informal call, we can help you assess your options and clear the clutter or quell the chaos for the straightest line to success.