You could have a beautifully designed website, but if it does not work the way it is expected to, then you could be losing out on potential sales and conversions. This is where Quality Assurance (QA) testing comes in.
If you’re lucky enough to have a quality Australian website development team on your side, they should include a QA tester in your package. However, if you are attempting to build a website yourself, you’ll need to know:
- What a QA test involves.
- The qualifications to look for in hiring a QA tester.
- How QA testing actually benefits your website.
Lucky for you, you’re going to find all this out and more in our 2020 guide to quality assurance!
What is Quality Assurance (QA) testing?
A QA test is an analysis of each phase of the website development process, starting from the initial design to the build stage, all the way through the actual launch itself and any changes made after. The purpose of this is to identify any bugs, glitches or errors before the website launches.
As you’ll be marketing your new website quite heavily in the beginning, testing ensures visitors to your new site are receiving good user experience (UX). Having good UX also helps give your search engine optimisation (SEO), a good start.
It is best practice for testing to be completed on a development or staging environment, which is a mirror copy of your live site. This allows the developer to fix any bugs without the public being impacted, only making the changes live once everything is re-tested and approved.
The level of testing you need will depend on the size of your website. For example, a small website with a service page and gallery may not require the same level and type of testing that a larger online shop with a user login feature and other dynamic elements may need. However, it is still important to complete thorough testing so that the user can successfully navigate through your website and be converted into a sale.
Is Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance the same thing?
Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) play two different, but very crucial, roles in a website build. While QC assesses the quality of the end product, QA is the process of ensuring it’s up to the required standard.
What does a QA test involve?
The level of testing your website will need will depend on its size. For example, a smaller website with a home, about, product/services and contact page won’t need the level of testing an online store would, with the testing of its login and payment features.
Regardless of the size of your website, you need a QA test. These are some of the things an experience QA tester will check and test:
Spelling, Content & Information
The spelling and grammar on your website can greatly impact sales. While most website development services will employ a content proofer, they should also include a content moderation step in the final proofing. The tester will ensure all information requested to be in the website is included and give the final wording a once over.
Mobile Friendliness & Browser Compatibility
While your website looks great on a large desktop screen, what about on a mobile device or different browser (such as Safari, Google Chrome, etc.)? Your QA tester will test your website on all popular browsers as well on different mobile devices, such as different versions of iPhones and Android phones.
Even small things, such as a contact button, may look and behave completely different across various devices or browsers. It could mean the difference between getting a lead or not.
Remember, Google began ranking mobile responsive sites higher as of the 1 July 2019, so you can’t afford not to have this tested.
How long each page on your website takes to load greatly impacts your user experience and SEO, so it can’t be overlooked. A tester will ensure all best practices for a speedy website are in place and working, and test each page for effectiveness.
Depending on the website, this could involve the tester checking images have been set to lazy load, that images and other files are optimised and the correct format, and there is no unnecessary code or third-party plugins, which can all impact the load speed.
Links & Redirects
It should be extremely easy for someone to navigate your website, including reaching your contact information. However, when a page title gets changed, this can lead to breakages (known as a 404 Page), making your website navigation confusing for the user.
A QA tester will ensure all links lead to their intended page, including if a redirect is needed, which is an automatic function that takes a user who lands on an old page URL to the new page.
If there is a weak area of your website, a QA tester will find it. Part of this is ensuring a current SSL certificate is in place, any user logins and forms are secure and plugins are up to date to stop unwanted bots or hackers from gaining access.
A good QA tester will ensure the website is performance tested to suit a high influx of users visiting the website or other cases which can cause a strain on your site. They’ll make sure if you were to have a sudden flood of people on your website, it would not impact its speed, responsiveness and stability.
Forms & Calls to Actions
There is no point in having a contact or quote request form if the information does not reach the business and instead disappears into the world wide web. Part of QA testing is to ensure all forms are working and the information is passing onto its intended end point.
This is where having an experienced tester comes in handy. They will know how to create example scenarios to trial throughout your website. For example, if a form has a text field for a name, they test what happens if a number or character is added. Or, if a field for the user’s phone number only has seven numbers, will it still send or give the person an error message?
A QA tester can identify where additional validation is needed, as well as see if specific actions break the form.
What can impact your website testing?
Building a cheap or free website can be tempting, but it will impact your results. To be blunt, most small businesses will lack the many resources needed to properly test a website. As a result, your users will be potentially exposed to both a poor experience and security risks.
When we say resources, we mean both time, devices and software. Professional QA testers have access to multiple devices with a variety of operating systems and screen sizes. This allows them to put themselves in the users’ shoes.
Then there is time. For an inexperienced tester, it can take days, even weeks, to run through every word, piece of code, button and function on a website. Professional QA testers have proven strategies and processes to ensure everything gets checked and fixed, if needed. There is also their direct access with developers so any bugs or issues can be corrected quickly and correctly.
Have you recently built a website and it hasn’t been tested, or you’re not sure? Get in touch with our team at Localsearch. We will run a free audit on your website and ensure everything is in working order. If there is something that needs fixing, we can work together to get it corrected.