A limitless access to digital has given users higher expectations and made them more demanding towards websites. With so many different types of devices, browsers and platforms out there, your website needs to be capable of providing an enjoyable user experience, no matter how your visitors choose to engage.
The importance of testing as part of a web project is often overlooked. When project timescales are tight, overruns occur or scope creep becomes unavoidable, testing is most commonly the area that gets pushed to the back. However, testing can help to avoid costly mistakes, allowing you to address issues that may arise in the future while getting the best performance from your website investment.
In this blog…
We share the importance of thoroughly testing your website before it’s launched online, including:
- Why is testing so important?
- When should testing take place in a web project?
- Who looks after testing?
Why is testing so important to a website project?
Website testing removes the barriers that can affect your website from performing by ensuring all the site features work optimally. By not giving testing the time it needs, your website can be negatively impacted alongside your brand’s reputation and the perceived value of what you offer.
Testing elements such as your site’s load speed, navigation, design, features and functionality, you can improve overall performance which leads to higher rankings, happier visitors and more conversions. If we haven’t convinced you yet, the benefits of comprehensive testing are clear:
- Minimise bugs and errors onsite
- Trap errors early so issues can be resolved
- Ensure your website is user friendly
- Provide the best chance possible of converting your users
- Improve search engine rankings
- Build trust with your users and encourage repeat visits to your site
- Increase confidence in your business
- Ensure compatibility with different platforms and devices
- Save budget and time fixing unnecessary complications after go-live
At NetConstruct, we would love to fix every issue and have a completely bug free website. However, after many years in the digital world, we know this isn’t realistic to achieve. Instead, our aim is to build confidence with the businesses we work with through our processes and deliverables. Even if a small number of bugs slip through the net, we can be confident that they won’t impact your users’ experience onsite and that your website is in peak condition.
Testing: the NetConstruct way
For us, testing is non-negotiable. It isn’t just a nice to have that we do at the end of a project or bolt onto various phases; testing is intertwined in every project phase once the specification has been produced.
When does testing take place in a web project?
Testing your website is an ongoing process, even after your website has been launched. Many businesses fall into the trap of only testing their website during the initial development phase before assuming everything is in working order. However, as projects evolve and the website is placed on different environments, new problems can rear their ugly heads causing users to become dissatisfied.
Our robust testing processes are completed throughout the lifecycle of the full project:
- Project kick-off: When the project kicks off, we’ve already reserved time for testing and for making the bug fixes. Testing processes are introduced when the specification is created as this allows us to form a test plan that starts our testing activities. This means before the site is anywhere near the development phase, we’ve already completed a fair amount of testing.
- Design: Components and layouts are built from designs allowing our in-house team to carry out design reviews before progressing onto the development phase. This includes whether the live site will match the designs, as well as testing the designs across different devices and screen resolutions for visual accuracy. The team also consider design basics such as spacing, line heights and colours.
- UI development: After designs are created, we then move onto building the UI components and layouts. Often, designs don’t translate exactly how you want them to online or can look different across various devices and browsers. This stage is crucial for us to check how UI components and layouts look in a browser before it’s live on the real site. We can test this using a tool called Storybook which allows us to alter the front-end content as if it’s the back end of a live site.
- Back-end development: Building the site then involves placing these tested UI components and layouts onto the CMS platform. The amount of testing done prior to the site being built is critical. It saves us the time and you the budget, allowing us to spot errors and make fixes before the site is even built.
- Before site launch: Before the site is launched, we carry out a full regression test to ensure any final issues and bugs don’t slip through the net.
- After site launch: Once the site is launched, two types of testing are deployed. Firstly, we run through the test plans that were created at the beginning of the project on the live site. In theory, nothing has changed from a code perspective, but the site is on a different server and a different environment which could introduce fresh issues. After this has been done, we then go through a full site test on the live environment.
Who does the testing?
Testing isn’t just undertaken by our testers. It involves different individuals from different teams to ensure every base is covered. This includes:
- Project managers
- Account managers
- The client (for user acceptance testing purposes)
This ensures a well-rounded view of the website at every stage, allowing for as many issues or bugs to be recognised and fixed as possible. We would always recommend to you, as the client, to factor in your own testing too and leave time to take a deep dive into the full site.
Testing gives you visibility of your new website earlier, allowing for sneak previews of components the website will use and how they will appear on a live site. In this case, we’re happy to share our test plans as well as outputs from these test plans such as which areas passed, and which failed.
We also provide access to Jira, our project tracking platform, so you can log and manage any issues with ease, the same way our internal teams do.
Types of testing
- Formal test plans: Test plans are essential in the development of websites as they outline what testing needs doing to ensure the site is up to standard and is working exactly how it should.
- Executing test cases: Executing relevant test cases from the test plan with suitable data and tracking the outcomes.
- Device testing: Ensuring the site not only works and looks great on the device you are creating it on, but on all the other devices it might be used on too.
- Exploratory testing: Think of this as testing with an ad-hoc approach, empowering testers to test organically and not constraining the tester to a predefined set of tests.
- Integration testing: Integration testing is a type of testing used to check the combinations of different units, their interactions and the way subsystems unite into one common system.
- Regression testing: This involves re-running functional and non-functional tests to ensure that previously developed and tested software still performs after a change.
- Automated testing: Automated tests can be run over and over again at no additional cost and substantially reduce the time to run repetitive tests.
- Smoke testing: A non-exhaustive set of test cases for the most critical functions to perform a preliminary check of the site after a build and before a release.
What platforms do we use?
Underpinning our internal expertise, we use a range of platforms and tools to carry out our testing processes:
- TestRail: A platform for defining and executing test cases.
- LambdaTest: A platform that allows us to check across multiple devices, even if we don’t have access to every device and version in-house.
- Chrome DevTools: A set of web authoring and debugging tools built into Google Chrome. Use the DevTools to iterate, debug and audit your site for performance, accessibility and SEO. .
Make time for testing
As your online presence grows, so too does the need for ongoing testing and maintenance to ensure your site is performing at its best. A process that spans our entire agency, testing takes high priority for us, allowing us to be confident in the deliverables we provide our clients.