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Practice Makes Perfect: Checking a website for quality assurance

By Mira Brody - Last Updated on 06/16/2016
From screen size to browser to operating system, you can’t make assumptions about what hardware or software your customers are accessing your website from. Since we carefully test each website we build, we thought it would be helpful to put together a checklist of our own testing process so you can be sure your customers get the best experience on your site.

Browsers — The most popular browsers in the United States are: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox. Test your site on all of these, as each have their own quirks that sometimes effect the way your site appears and operates.

Operating Systems — Even the same browser can produce different results on different operating systems. We test sites in browsers on Macs and Windows. Since we’re Mac-based, we use Parallels, a program that allows us to run Windows on a Mac, and there are ways run virtual machines on other operating systems as well.

Devices — Mobile browsing, as predicted, surpassed desktop browsing in 2014, which makes responsive design a top priority. Testing your site’s breakpoints on different devices, such as a phone or tablet is important to make sure your webpages are collapsing correctly and are navigable on all mobile devices.
  • Tip: Don’t have different testing devices? See if your community has a mobile device lab. Also, if you’re on a Mac, be sure to try Safari’s responsive mode.

Personas — User personas are a common technique used for site testing. For every project, we create a handful of user personas: customer profiles with demographics, hobbies, needs, goals, even a photo. They are then distributed for testing and often help us discover aspects of the site we wouldn’t have noticed without stepping into someone else’s shoes.

Teamwork — Sometimes it just takes another set of eyes…or seven. In addition to user personas, it is a good idea to have the team as a whole individually run through each webpage, as everyone is going to have a different perspective and catch different things.
  • Tip: Send your test URL to a few friends and family. Even if they are unfamiliar with the industry, their outside perspective may help reveal things you didn’t consider.

Workflows — Instead of just flipping through each webpage aimlessly, it is important to look at your website as different types off workflows to help you spot flaws. Some examples are:
  • What is someone looking for when they come to a contact page? Are the fields functioning properly? Are the required ones erring properly if left blank? Is the notification going to the correct email?
  • How should the site work when a customer is making a purchase? Is the shopping cart updating? Are shipping, tax and discount offers adjusting the total properly?
This type of testing often reveals bugs or issues with the site that may not have otherwise been discovered.

The fact that cars are rigorously tested for functionality and safety before they reach the sales market should illustrate how important quality assurance is to the products we use everyday. While your website might not be as life-or-death as an automobile, a malfunctioning site can be frustrating for your users and embarrassing for your business – proper testing will prevent this. Although we work hard to extensively check the websites and web-apps we build, as the manager or owner of your business, ensuring that it works properly for your clients is ultimately up to you. We hope this article has helped you think of some new ways to look at your site and ensure it is ready for your visitors to enjoy!
Mira Brody:

About Mira Brody

Mira Brody is an editor, writer, and marketing expert with 12+ years of experience. She has worked as a local news reporter, a writer/editor, and as a leader in large-scale branding strategy. Mira worked at JTech as the staff writer and editor for internal and client projects from March 2015 to December 2019.

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