Just how good can a website be without it being QA (Quality Assurance) tested? Before we dig deeper, let’s take a look at the QA process.
The QA process
This is a series of procedures used to make sure that your new website has been expertly crafted to a high standard.
And by high we mean excellent. It is a process that stands apart from the development and design processes, whilst being just as important.
When your web designer applies the QA process, he will be making sure that there are no bugs present whilst simultaneously looking at the quality of the user experience (UX) and interface (UI).
If you think about the many different components that make up your website, you will see that the QA process needs to be exhaustive.
Whilst it is not physically possible to check every single variable that makes up the process of development, the QA will go a long way towards doing so.
Of course, there will be variables that impact upon the website that the QA cannot get into, such as quality of internet connections, browsers and variation created due to screen sizes. However, you can be assured that any good QA process will check out the website in a comprehensive way, ensuring that it functions at an optimum level.
QAs vary according to the complexity of the website. If your site is a simple one, the process will not take as long. Large custom-built sites with e-commerce or other advanced elements may even take several days to complete.
How to conduct a QA
So now that you know what a QA is, how do you conduct one? We have put together the ultimate guide to website QA that will ensure you miss nothing out. If your website designer is doing this for you, then you can use this guide to communicate with him during the process, knowing that everything is being taken care of as it should be.
Design testing comes first. This is when the website design ideas are checked against the staged site plan that the client has approved. Each element needs to be present and have complete adherence to the specification.
Things that fall into this category are colour schemes, spacing, font style and spacing.
User flow (navigation) is reviewed during the wireframe stage of building your website. The wireframe is the web page layout that shows what interface elements will figure on certain pages.
This is the time when site navigation and user accessibility need to be reviewed. The user must be able to navigate easily and quickly, arriving at their chosen place on the site without a hitch.
As the saying goes, ‘content is king’ and this is very apt when it comes to QA. Your content needs to be top quality, informative, interesting and well-structured.
The site needs to be completely overhauled and things such as spelling, grammar and filler text checked. Background, text colours and texts should not make the content difficult to read.
Content also covers images.
High-resolution is an absolute must.
Images should also be web optimised to make sure they don’t slow down page loading speeds.
Hyperlinks shown on the site must work.
There is nothing worse than a viewer clicking on a link and finding that they end up going nowhere, or to the wrong place.
Links have to be present and going through to the correct document or web page.
Hyperlinks may be found within the text, graphics, images, logos, buttons and even social media icons.
Plenty of websites use forms to collect data from viewers.
If your website is one of these, it is essential to check each input field in the form as shown.
Whether the form is being used so that users can make contact, set up a new account, to login or complete a questionnaire, all fields need to be active.
This includes fields that are optional or essentially required.
Of course, it is pointless collecting the information on the forms if you are not receiving it.
This is when checks are made to be sure that completed forms are being delivered to the correct email address so that they can be dealt with promptly.
In these days of avid mobile use, your website needs to be functional and responsive, being viewed correctly on all mobile devices.
The best way of testing this is to create a list of the most popular mobile phones and then test interoperability on each one, as well as laptops and desktops of varying sizes.
The use of different browsers also falls within this category, so it is essential to test all of the key ones such as Google Chrome, Safari etc.
Browsers and mobiles change over time so this list will need to be updated regularly. It is also essential to look out for the following:
- Unwanted pop-ups
- Email addresses and phone number links being operational
- Buttons/icons are of the right size for even large fingers
- Site navigation is clear and user-friendly
- The content layout has been fully optimised
- Site performance is not hampered by the use of different devices or screen sizes
Where your website build has involved the creation of custom functionality, each item needs to be tested.
This will ensure that when viewers use the site, there will not be any hiccups.
Items that fall within this category include payment transactions, making a booking, creating new accounts, etc. Nothing can be left to chance.
Obviously, the QA process is far more involved with e-commerce sites. Testing will vary according to the complexity of the site but most times will involve:
- Ensuring product pages are complete with full content and zero errors
- The shopping cart works as it should, allowing users to change the quantity and edit the contents
- Discount codes are accepted and deducted from the total
- Products are not duplicated
- Filters work as they should
- Where currency converters are used, they work correctly
- Postage charged are calculated correctly according to location or cost of goods
- Where postage is free above a certain level, this is accounted for
- Emails are sent once an order is placed
- The payment gateway process needs to be fully tested and this can be done by making a dummy purchase. Options may include PayPal, credit cards, debit cards etc.
Search functionality across products will also be checked. This is essential as when a buyer is seeking a certain product, they need to be able to find it easily.
Search engine optimisation is the final check.
Google Analytics needs to be working correctly.
The sitemap also needs to have been added to Webmaster Tools so that Google can locate and index the pages.
Display on mobile devices will be looked at, ensuring that it scores highly with Google.
Meta tags need to be optimised for any keywords so this is an essential part of the SEO QA process.
The loading speed also needs to be acceptable by Google if the ranking is not to be affected.
This needs to be fast on all devices, including mobiles. Finally, the website needs to be examined for syntax errors, making sure that it is compatible with all search engines.
As can be seen, the QA process is deliberately detailed. This is the only way that a website can accurately be tested to ensure that it works well. Any design flaws, bugs or errors have to be eradicated if the site is to work hard and convert as it should.
As the site grows or changes are made, it will need to be continually monitored to ensure that quality standards are maintained.