A web design testing strategy is a guideline that will show you how to test the features and functions of a new website design.
Before you can take a website to potential customers, you must be sure that everything works perfectly so the user experience is great right from the start. It would be a shame to put out a website that is full of bugs.
This will show that you are not professional and most of your potential customers will leave and never come back again.
Having a web testing strategy will ensure that all required tests are done systematically and documented.
Depending on the complexity of the websites, the tests will vary, but there are basics tests that must be done at all times on any website before it is launched.
These tests are as follows:
- Functionality Testing – In this test, the functions of the website are tested thoroughly. This is to test all links on a website, databases, forms, etc. Cookies, etc.
- Usability testing – this test measures the human-digital connection and interaction. How strong or weak is the user experience?
- Interface testing – This is testing the server side interface. The communication on this side has to be perfect. The server, software, network, hardware and database are tested.
- Compatibility testing – This tests the compatibility of a website to several different browsers including mobile devices.
- Performance testing – This tests whether the performance of the website is good. Issues like speed, load and stress are looking at here
- Security testing – In this we look at how secure the website is at the hosting site and what other tools can be used to protect it from malicious attacks.
Testing is a crucial stage in the development of a website and the strategy should be well discussed by all teams involved.
Let us go into the final details of what each of the steps above entails.
- Functionality testing
Here we look at how the links on the web pages function, are the forms working as they should, are people able to fill them quickly so they can hand in their information? What about the cookies, are they functioning well?
- Testing the links
- Start off by checking on all the internal links and see that they all work as they should
- Now check the links used to navigate the same page
- Then check that the links go to a certain domain that you are testing
- Check all links that users are using to contact the company
- Check if some links go to non-existent pages
- Now check for link integrity – there are no broken links.
Once you have checked all the inks, it is time to check the functioning of your forms
- Testing the forms
Users use forms to pass information to the company. They use them to ask queries, subscribe and even join membership websites. A form must be in great working condition to fulfill its function. How do you test the forms?
- First check on the default values on the form and make sure that the inputs and labels are correct.
- Check the validation on each form.
For example, if a website such as PeoplePerHour, there are signup forms for sellers and ones for buyers. Each is different and serves a different purpose.
This means that the forms must be validated by manual testing t make sure that each takes the user to the correct place.
- Testing the cookies
Many people do not know what cookies are. These are minute files stored on the users’ computers or mobile device. They maintain the login session until you sign out.
- You can test the cookies by turning them on and off and seeing how the website behaves.
- For cookies that expire after the session ends, you should check if there are login sessions still saved to the browser.
- Are the cookies encrypted before they are sent to the computer?
- Test your coding (Both HTML and CSS)
This is especially crucial when you are trying to get your website indexed and ranked by the search engines.
This is quite a straight forward test.
You test the code for bad syntax and see if the search engines will be able to crawl through it.
- Test your database.
In any website, the database must be solid for it to work with no changes. So here are some things to check on:
- Check the data for entries – how is the integrity when you delete, edit, modify forms or do any database operation?
- The execution of the database entries that you make must be checked – the data should be updated and retrieved properly at all times.
With these tests, you will have managed checking on the functionality of the website. Of course each test has a methodology, but if we went to deep into each, then this blog post would turn into a book.
- Usability testing
This is where we test how usable the website is. We check to see what user experience it will provide to the users, identify the strengths and document the weaknesses so they can be changed.
- General appearance
Here we look at the general aesthetics of the website. Do the colors, images, and other branding features give a pleasurable feeling?
Everyone feels good when they go to a site that is well designed and organized. The general appearance of a website should be a primary concern when looking for usability. Some sites are so horrible; you can hardly understand what they are vending.
After looking at the appearance, it is time to look at the navigation features.
- Is it easy to move from one page to the other?
- How are the internal links working?
- Is the navigation put in a place that is easy to find?
- Is it intrusive?
- Does it have a search option?
- Is the sitemap on the navigation?
All these questions should be answered. (This is just a small sample of questions about navigation testing).
- Content presentation
The way the content is presented in the website should also be tested to see if it is easy to understand in the current form.
- How is the content displayed?
- How is it prepared?
- What is the formatting?
- Is it easy to understand?
- Does the story captivate the audience?
- Will the content guide the audience towards making a decision?
Remember content is supposed to capture interest, help in evaluation before finally engaging the reader to click on the CTA. This means the testing must be thorough.
- Interface testing
Most people will confuse this with testing the front end of the website.
This is not the case.
This is about testing the server side of the website – the software, network, database and hardware should be communicating properly to provide a functional interface.
The interfaces that are crucial to the website are:
- Database server and Application interface
- Application interface and web server interface
The interaction between these three interfaces (Database server, Application server, Web server) should execute instructions properly and any errors handled automatically.
For example should either of Application Server or Web server have an error for a query or transaction sent by the application server, then this should be clearly sent to users as an error message.
You should check about what happens when there is a reset or an interruption before any transaction is made.
- Compatibility testing
This is another of the crucial parts of testing the design of the website. Today, a website must be visible on all kinds of browsers, including mobile phones. These tests can be divided into 4 different topics:
- Compatibly on all browsers (Computer)
- Compatibility on all browsers (Mobile Devices)
- Compatibility on all OS
Let us look at them one at a time.
- Compatibility on all computer browsers
Have you ever seen a website that will work very well on Google Chrome, but will have issues on Firefox? If yes, then you now understand why the computer browser compatibility has to be tested.
Some websites are designed with applications that are very compatible with selected browsers. These browsers are built with differing codes and that is why you must ensure the website is compatible with all.
The coding on the website should have cross-browser compatibility built into it.
Test the website on browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Netscape, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, etc.
Do not forget to test against the different versions available in the last 5 to 10 years, so you do not have client getting version compatibility errors and get asked to update their browsers.
- Compatibility on all mobile browsers
In this era of technology, browsing from the mobile phone is very popular. Actually most browsing is done from mobile phones, according to stats provided by search engines.
There are so many types of mobile browsers, some proprietary to the mobile manufacturer and others are third party.
You should test the compatibility on all these browsers.
- Operating system compatibility
Though not common, there are times when people experience difficulty browsing when they are using some operating systems.
These issues are not mainly brought about by the coding of the website, but some applications or software that is being used on the site.
Test on all operating systems to ensure that the software or apps on the site work on all operating systems.
- Performance testing
The website should have features that can handle a large number of visitors without going down. So many times you get errors that the site is too busy, come back again; such messages will put your visitors off.
So you have to test the performance against some parameters and these include:
- Web load testing
You need to test the pages that you think will be popular with users since many of them will be requesting it at the same time.
This test will show you how long a certain page can sustain peak visitors.
The site should be designed such a manner that it can several connection to the database, input requests from users at the same time, A heavy attention to popular pages, amongst others.
- Web stress testing
This test will show you how the website will behave when people have pushed it beyond the peak levels.
This test is deliberately done to stress the website and see how it behaves. Will it simply slow down or will it shut down?
Both these tests are done so one can understand how scalable the site is, or how third-party software and products will work on the site, especially if you are purchasing it.
Now the above tests have to be done using different internet speeds since each request for data in a different manner. E.g. ISDN, Dial-up, etc.
- Security testing
The security of your website is very important, especially when people are giving you their personal information.
You must also protect your products and services from tampering.
You have to check on the vulnerabilities that the website is exposed to and fix them immediately. Some of them are:
- Cracking of passwords
- Virus detection
- Scanning of the network
- Peeking at the logs
- Checking on general integrity of the site
- Scanning for other vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.
In order to achieve the above tests, here are some things that you can do:
- Testing login vulnerabilities – get an internal page, when you are not logged in and paste it on the login page. A secure login page should not allow entry to the internal page.
- Test for scanning when logged in – when logged in, try changing URL options using site ID=123. If the site statistics are visible then this should be addressed.
You may also try to change the URL site ID to another which is related to a non member and see they will be granted access.
- Testing form fields – Try using fake logins, passwords and other unrelated information on forms and see how the system will react to these fake inputs.
- Testing web directory security – simply try to access the directory from the address bar and see if the contents will be accessible.
- I am not a robot – all your Captcha should be tested against accepting automated scripts.
- Check for SSL – try switching from secure https:// to non-secured http:// and see how the system reacts.
In order to work on any vulnerability, make sure all attempted breaches and error message are saved on a file on the server.
You also need to know that the tests will vary depending on the type of website that you are dealing with.
Let me elaborate a bit.
Types of websites
There are more than 20 types of websites but they can all be condensed into 4 different categories:
- Simple static website testing
- Dynamic web testing
- E-commerce website testing
- Mobile website testing
Let us just delve a bit deeper into what constitutes testing a website. We shall just look at what it takes to test a statics website for now.
Take a peek at a static website test:
A static website never changes. The same content will be visible to every visitor who comes to the site no matter what time or date it is.
This type of site is also called an informational site. The site is fully dependent on aesthetics and the original content and does not have other features and functionalities.
That said, testing a static website is a walk in the park. There are very few things that you have to consider when testing such a site.
- The Interface – This is what a static site depends on a lot. The web page has to look great and give the required content in a way that will captivate and convert customers. So you first have to check on the integrity of the elements on the page.
- Design – check on the fonts, images, color, spacing and style.
- Links – the static page is supposed to make the customer do something. If it is not on that page, then you need to check on the links.
- Content testing – a static page must have content that is correct in grammar, spelling and flow.
- Image testing – there are times that a static page will not display properly on all browsers. You do not want broken or duplicated images. Test that images on the page are displayed properly in all browsers. Note that for a site like this, only the content, images or video will make it relevant.
- Check form – Landing pages are static pages, but they have a form at the end to be filled. Send some test message to establish whether:
The message is actually sent and the “success page follows”.
The message will be received correctly and in the format it is supposed to appear as.
The message is not sent to “junk”.
These tests will be replicated when dealing with a dynamic website (such as a CMS) but a lot more testing will be done.
A dynamic website has content changing regularly, such as a blog.
It has front end and back end features that must be tested.
This means that the testing will be more intense. And it gets deeper as you move done the list given above.
Web Design testing strategy has to be approached with care. This is the last stage before the website is launched.
If done properly, then the website operates as it should and your potential customers will be happy. However, if you launch and the site has bugs, keeps disturbing your customers, then they will leave.
Do not launch before the tests come clear for the site. All bugs dealt with.
Granted testing is an involving stage, but why do all the coding and then fail to test the site well?
It is like an artist not really looking at his work before taking it to a gallery.
Whatever the type of site you are validating, do all the testing that will validate every piece of code that you will have written.