Part II: 10 Steps to Website Quality Assurance

Jason Glisson

Category: Development


Earlier this week I walked you through the first five steps you should take to make your website’s launch go smoothly and keep our panda happy. I hope you took the two day break in between to work through those so you can jump right in with the next steps and make sure your site is ready to go on launch day. Let’s get started with step 6…

6. Browser Test – Yes, people still use Internet Explorer 7.0. According to The IE 7 Countdown, 4 percent of the world uses IE 7 still, and 5 percent of North America does. It’s shameful, and has made for many sad, but necessary, phone conversations about how nothing on someone’s computer looks right. Meanwhile, the other 96 percent of the Earth sees a killer awesome website. Browser testing your website for IE 7 on up to IE 10 can help quickly iron out these problems before sending the final product to a client. Here is a list of what we normally browser test in:

  • IE 7-10
  • Firefox 3.5 – Current
  • Google Chrome (Current version)
  • Safari (Current version)
  • iOS (iPhone and iPad)
  • Android
  • Blackberry

Seems like an overkill, but you can never browser test too much. There have been days where that is all we will do just to make sure we have a very good browser crossover. Something you’ll want to caution about is CSS styling. Some older versions of IE do not support the current CSS 3.0 and HTML5, and will turn your beautifully awesome website into something you’d likely find on the mid-1990s Internet. You may need to use browser hacks and/or browser specific CSS targeting to get through this, sometimes, painful part of the QA process.

If you’ve decided that you just don’t want to like anyone that uses IE 7, ever, impose a tax on them for viewing your site in an old browser:

7. Test Your Freaking Forms – I can hear the angry panda knocking now, and you do not want him to bitterly punch your submit button because you failed to do so before launching the site. Forms can sometimes be very sensitive to how data is input and processed. Some fields require certain formatting. Other may have a character limit. Testing these requires you to bring yourself down a few notches and pretend you have no idea what you’re doing (which hopefully is not the case). Try using symbols, all caps, numbers, etc in form fields and see if the data goes through. A good form will have some sort of validation. If it doesn’t have validation, you should plan for it. A feature like that will make your website more bulletproof and user friendly.

In the case where a form is supposed to email someone, please make sure the correct administrator email address is in the form field settings and they are receiving the emails as they should. “As they should” does not mean the email is being received in their spam or junk mail, by the way.

8. Check Screen Resolution – I love a wide monitor. Everyone does, I think. Here at NJI we have quite the workspace setup for our designers and developers. Most employees have 1920×1200 screen resolution. Some have much MUCH more resolution than that. Jealous. So we all have plenty of room/resolution to see their beautiful graphics and brilliant code. However, there are many Internet users that have smaller screens and smaller monitors. The top Internet viewing resolution worldwide is at or around 1366×768.

We like to test our websites in different resolutions because not everyone has the same monitor. You have to account for this when launching a site. It is especially important when launching sites that are responsive to screen width or resolution. Your responsive website should be altering is font size, alignments, etc. when the resolution reduces beyond 800×600.

9. Test Your Site Search – Search term: 123abc. If your site has a search area, make sure it works. Otherwise, what’s the point of having it? You should search for terms that are relavent and irrelevant within your site. Try searching for the title of a blog post that you know exists. Make sure the results include that blog post and your search criteria resulted in a correct query. Then try searching for a term or random string of characters that you know your site doesn’t include. The goal here is make sure the “no results” page is working and returns a message that is both valid and helpful to the user. Make sure it at least says “No results” on it.

10. Test Account Signups – If you’ve developed your website to allow for users to signup, make comments, alter data, etc. then please make sure they are able to so. If a client is expecting discussion on their blog posts, make sure you can make it easy for people to sign up, yet challenging for spammers to flood your site with irrelevant comments on pharmaceuticals or Nigerian princesses. Unless your site happens to be on those topics of course.

Also, if your site allows for social media signups, such as using your Facebook account to login, you should create a test account on the social media platform so you can test these signups with multiple users. Pay attention to security and what types of data you’re accessing. On the flip side of that, make sure your site security is robust enough so that site users can not access other users data that should be confidential.

Going through these QA steps will not 100 percent bulletproof your website, but they will certainly help. As time consuming as it is, QAing a website can save you valuable time and resources post-launch. Better to correct the problems before sending to the client than dealing with them later. Fear the QA panda.

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