Before launching a new website it is recommended to complete a Quality Assurance phase within a project to make sure everything is working as expected and ready for your audience. Below we will outline three key areas to focus your testing on.
With the number of browsers available, each with many different versions, it’s important to establish prior to build of the website what browsers you will be supporting for your new site. As you build, and prior to launch, you should test to ensure that your website displays correctly on each of the browsers you are supporting.
Compare the build to the original website designs and review for any inconsistencies or irregularities. You can compare manually through the browsers set up on your computer, but it is recommended to ensure the website is backwards compatible with older browser versions (based on what you have defined as your supported browsers). Some browsers, such as Internet Explorer, allow you to view a website as if it is an older version of the browser through their developer tools.
Internet Explorer browser emulation:
Another option available is a tool called "Browser Stack", which allows you to set the browser, the version and OS, and to browse a website based on these settings.
Functional testing ensures that your website operates and works as expected. For example, if you built a calculator website, you would need to ensure that it calculates the results correctly. A good way to do this is to write and run functional test cases for each piece of functionality you have built for your site. For each test case specify:
- Area/function being tested
- Test Case (Action to complete)
- Expected outcome
Example: If the website has functionality to download a PDF:
- Area to be tested: PDF Download
- Test Case: Click on the PDF download button
- Expected outcome: PDF downloads and displays as expected
Write test cases for all functionality on your website and then run through all test cases marking them as failed if they do not have the expected outcome. These failed test cases are bugs that should be fixed. When the bugs are fixed re-run the entire set of test cases to ensure all test cases pass.
Device & Responsive Testing
Similar to browsers, the number of devices from which users access a website is huge, as is the list of operating systems they can run. Again it is important to establish prior to build what you will be supporting and to build to those devices as well as to understand how your website should display on these devices.
Assuming that your website is responsive, you should test on at least one device that covers each of the website’s breakpoints (the different responsive versions). These will generally cover:
- Desktop / Tablet landscape
- Tablet portrait
- Mobile (portrait)
A good starting point for these would be:
- Desktop computer
But it is important to come back to the device support list, so if you are covering Android tablets and phones, you should also test on at least one device which checks these.
This covers a variety of pre-launch testing tips, but it is worth considering incorporating testing into your development cycle. Other techniques such as Unit Testing and Functional Test Automation can be useful and ensure efficient regression testing during the build. However, even with these in place, there should always be a Quality Assurance phase prior to a website launch to confirm everything works and displays optimally and as expected. It also highlights how important it is to define your standards and what you will be supporting prior to build, as this will help you understand when your testing is complete and you are ready to launch.