The Case for Website Testing
Are you one of those companies that doesn’t conduct systematic website testing after a site refresh? By systematic website testing I’m referring to a planned and thorough testing of the site for functionality and user experience.
Too many companies, I’ve learned over the years, don’t take website testing seriously enough. Employees will be asked to set aside a few minutes of their day to “go through the site” and note any errors or broken links. That’s a start, but don’t mislead yourself into thinking that all the bugs are going to be found with this hit-and-miss method.
In today’s world, if your website doesn’t work properly, quickly and easily on the device the person is using then you just lost a visitor, prospect, new customer or, worst of all, a repeat customer. In every case your brand image takes a beating, too.
Most consumers won’t tolerate a business website that does not perform on their device. They will go to the next business on the list!
Ask yourself, how much is each visitor worth to your business? Each lead? Each new customer? Each repeating customer? Is it worth the risk NOT to test your website after you change it?
The 1-2-3 of Testing Websites
There are three critical areas to test on most websites – functionality, cross-browser/devices, and page-load speed.
- Functional Testing insures that each button performs the intended action properly. Some websites are complex with advanced search, grouping, recommendations and shopping carts. Some websites are simple with just a few buttons to submit a contact request. Most of the functionality will behave the same no matter which browser or device is used so testing the functionality is typically a “once and done” set of steps each time you are finished with your website changes.
- Cross-Browser/Device Testing insures that your website’s content, layout and presentation look and behave properly in a variety of operating systems, browsers and mobile devices. This is where it get’s a little complex. There are just too many different operating systems, browsers and mobile devices to test each one within a reasonable period of time.
- Page Load Speed Testing. Visitors have little tolerance for websites that take too long to appear on their device. If the page isn’t fully loaded in a few seconds, there’s a high probability the visitor will abandon the attempt and try another site.
Yes, there are tools available online that seem to make it easier to run functional testing and cross-browser/device testing. But, if you aren’t familiar with them or you don’t have a clear idea of which test cases, browsers/devices are most important to your website visitors, then you can easily waste a lot of time.
Who to Test a Website
The good news is that you have several options for website testing.
- Big IT Outsourcing Company – if you aren’t already a Fortune 500 company you probably won’t get much help from these guys. It’s not that they don’t want to help you. It’s just that they are so big that they can’t help you and expect to make a profit. If they could help you, they’d need a small army of managers and directors just to make your project successful.
- Freelance – the Gig Economy. This might work for you if you already know a freelancer that is very good at exactly what you need (website testing for functionality and cross-browser/device) and is not already booked with another gig. If you have to go find that person for the first time, be prepared to put in some detailed work to find, select, pilot and then manage the project to success. Online freelancer boards are great and can give you a lot of good information to make your choice. But, there are a lot of non-qualified freelancers that will answer your call to help and you’ll have to spend time sorting the wheat from the chaff.
- DIY – Do It Yourself – This might work as well. It could be you or it could be someone else in your business. If you take this approach, it will work but it won’t work very well. Here’s why – you simply haven’t been trained in how to think about and perform website testing. It’s not hard and you could definitely learn it but your business’s newly launched website probably isn’t the best place to get started.
- TESTCo – Safe. Easy. Reliable. Software and website testing is all we do. We’re highly trained in software testing methods and systems. We see hundreds of website testing projects every year. We know the right tools to use, when to use them and what to look for. We are the right size for you so we can complete your small, 1 or 2 day project as easily as we complete larger multi-month testing projects.
Is TESTCo Your Goldilocks?
If you have a website testing project or are just not confident in the website testing that has been done already, please consider that TESTCo may be your Goldilocks – just the right size and temperature!
You can talk with us and find out how we’re different and how that difference can benefit you. We work as an outsourced QA service, or on demand for projects.