QA or Quality Assurance is the process used to ensure that a website is delivered to a level of excellence. The process is independent from the design and development of the website, with the outcome being to discover any errors or bugs, whilst also reviewing the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).
In truth, the QA process is never 100% complete, simply because of the large number of variables present in the development process. Mobile devices, screen sizes, browers, internet connection and operating systems, all have a significant impact on the way that a website is delivered to the end user. However the QA’s job is to ensure that the website functions optimally across the widest range possible.
The more complex the site, the more time will need to be dedicated to the testing process. Whilst a basic brochure style site may be thoroughly tested within an hour, a larger site with custom functionality, advanced interactive elements or eCommerce may require several days of QA testing before it’s ready to go live.
Our team have compiled a handy checklist outlining the key areas we cover throughout our QA testing process that helps us ensure that we deliver outstanding results every time.
The first step in the QA process is checking the staging site against the design concepts, that have been signed off by the client. We’ll be looking to confirm that all elements are present and have been developed to spec. This also includes aspects such as font size, font style, spacing and colour scheme.
Navigation and user flow is something that we typically review during the initial wireframing stage of a website build. However, we occasionally find that elements are overlooked in the early stages and not picked up again until the site has been fully developed.
Ultimately, we’ll be checking to see that the site has been developed with navigation and accessibility in mind, ensuring that it follows the appropriate rules and that the user can navigate around the site with ease, whilst being guided seamlessly towards the desired outcomes.
The content on your website should be informative, easy to follow and structured logically. We’ll sweep your site for grammar, spelling mistakes and filler text, and ensure that fonts and colour palettes are never compromising readability.
We’ll also be looking to see that all of your images are hi-res, cropped appropriately, and optimised for web, to ensure they’re not going to have a negative impact on your website loading speeds.
We’ll manually check through every hyperlink, contained within your site to ensure that it’s linked with the desired web page or document. This includes hyperlinks embedded within text, images and graphics, social media icons and logos and buttons. At the same time we’ll be on the lookout for any orphan or dead-end pages, that might negatively affect the user journey.
Forms and Input Validation
Forms are an important part of most websites, as they’re used for collecting valuable data and interacting with users.
During testing we’ll complete all input fields on the site, on areas such as contact form submissions, account setup and login and quizzes and questionnaires, to make sure that all fields are active and that ‘optional’ and ‘required’ fields are behaving as they should.
We’ll also check that any contact form enquiries are being sent and delivering correctly to the right email address.
We test the website’s functionality and overall appearance on a wide range of the most popular mobile devices:
- iPhone X, XS
- iPhone 8, 5
- Samsung Galaxy S9+, S9, S8
- iPad Pro 12.9
- iPad Pro Safari & Chrome
Desktop/Laptop Screen sizes:
- Google Chrome – C72, C71, C70
- Firefox – FF64, FF65
- Internet Explorer – IE11, Edge 17
- Safari – S12, S11
- Opera – O58
*Please note that these are the most up to date browsers and mobile devices at the time of writing the article.
During this process, some additional factors we’ll be checking for are:
Phone numbers and email addresses are linked up correctlyButtons and icons are large enough to be clicked by people with larger fingersSite navigation is simple and content layout has been optimisedPerformance of interactive elements and custom functionality is not hindered depending on the device or screen sized used
Custom Functionality Testing
If we have coded any specific custom functionality into the website, we perform test actions that mimic how the end user will experience the site. This could include things like:
Creating a user accountPerforming test transactionsMaking a bookingCompleting a questionnaireSubscribing to a serviceWe’ll be testing the system or function across a range of scenarios to ensure it’s working to spec.
eCommerce sites typically require more attention than others, due to the sheer number of pages and advanced level of functionality available. These are the basic elements that we test for across all of our eCommerce builds:
- Individual product pages have no errors or missing content
- Shopping cart is updated upon increasing the quantity, editing the contents or making a purchase
- Coupons and discounts are functioning as they should
- There are no duplicated products and they’re displaying correctly
- Filtering options are working correctly
- Currency converters are set correctly
- Social Media sharing options have been enabled
- Shipping costs are being calculated correctly, based on region and tax rates
- Notification emails are being triggered and received as specified
Undisputedly one of the most important factors in testing an eCommerce build, is checking the payment gateway process. We’ll be testing the payment process from start to finish, as if we were a customer using the site, considering:
- Whether the payment gateway is working as it should, looking at all different payment options offered, such as PayPal, Credit Card, Online Banking etc.
- Whether the customer is prompted to register for an account during guest checkout
- Whether account creation is simple and appealing to the user
- Whether login and checkout options are functioning correctly
- Page timeout limits
- Whether confirmation emails or texts are sending and delivering correctly.
Lastly, we check the search functionality across the site. This aspect can be crucial to the success of an eCommerce website, as many customers will come to the website with a specific product in mind. The search algorithm of the website should be set up in such a way that the customer will always be directed to the most relevant product for them.
Search Engine Optimisation
Prior to launching any website, one of the final checks we make is to ensure that the site is fully optimised for search engines.
This includes checking that:
- Google Analytics & tracking has been set up – to track and monitor website visitors, engagement, and goals on an ongoing basis.
- The site has been added to Webmaster Tools and a sitemap has been submitted – this helps Google to discover a completely new site and index the pages faster. For a redesign of an existing site, this helps Google figure out what page urls might have changed and how the site’s structure has been altered.
- The site is displaying properly on mobile devices and Google can ‘see’ the elements on the page – We typically use Webmaster Tools ‘fetch and render’ for this process.
- Meta Tags have been populated and optimised for keywords – If it’s a redesign, it’s an important part of making sure that the existing rankings are preserved.
- Loading speed is up to scratch – another ranking factor, it’s important the site loads fast on both desktop and mobile for a good user experience and to help rankings.
- The site has been validated for syntax errors – which ensures that the site is crawlable by search engines.
Sites that don’t work, don’t convert, but ultimately, it’s important to accept the fact that your website will never really be 100% finished. Whilst the QA process is there to catch and resolve any bugs, errors or design flaws, you can expect to be consistently building and nurturing your site alongside your business as time goes on.