What is Quality Assurance? [Why It’s Important To Your New Website]

QA. Quality Assurance. If you’ve worked on any type of project before you’ve probably heard this term before.

If you haven’t, QA is the process during a project where you put the thing you’re working on, in our case, websites, under a series of tests and user scenarios.

QA is an important process in any project to ensure that your product is 100% ready for launch. You don’t want to find out afterwards that everything is a mess and broken like Apple did this week with their iOS 8 update. We don’t need any crying Dawsons.

Testing and QA is something that we at LyntonWeb think about a lot.

While starting our QA process for a website we ask ourselves a few questions:

  1. How does this website look and function in all major browsers?
  2. What advanced functionality is on this site that needs to be tested?
  3. What is the craziest thing a visitor could do while on this site?

How does this website look and function in all major browsers?

This is the basic test we do on every website project. We use a service that takes full page screenshots of any URL that we indicate in whatever browsers we select. We test all sites in the two most recent versions of Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, Safari and iOS and Android mobile devices. In total we test about 20 browsers on Windows (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), Mac OS X (10.8, 10.9) as well as mobile browsers.

During these tests we look for major differences in browsers and platforms. There are going to be minor inconsistencies, such as how fonts or some graphics are rendered. These minor inconsistencies are unavoidable for the most part, it’s the big glaring issues that we need to look for and address.

For instance, on the new version of our website that is launching soon, here is an issue that I found. The video player is not resizing correctly on devices with smaller screens. From the test I took a screen shot, indicated on the image where and what the issue is so the developer can see it and correct it.

Tablets and phones come in a variety of sizes. In a world where websites are going responsive, it’s also important to test how your site scales as you change screen sizes. (Try making this blog page thinner by dragging the side of the window left to right). Does your website look good at every size? What about the in-between sizes? Here are some tips to fix common responsive issues that we’ve come across.

Something to consider is to have the designer of the website or app go through the site. Then make sure that the developers have interpreted the designed and layouts correctly.

What advanced functionality is on this site that needs to be tested?

This is probably my favorite part of testing a site. We did a project a while back where once a user logged into a WordPress site we ran a script to see if they were a customer in our client’s Salesforce database. If they were a customer, they were allowed access to the WordPress site. If they were not a customer they were signed out of WordPress and redirected to a landing page with instructions on how to gain access.

Here are the parameters we had to look for:

  • User has WordPress account (subscriber), is a Prospect in Salesforce – Logged out, sent to landing page
  • User has WordPress account (subscriber), is a Customer Level 1 in Salesforce – Allowed access to site
  • User has WordPress account (subscriber), is a Customer Level 2 in Salesforce – Allowed access to site
  • User is not in Salesforce at all, but has WordPress account (subscriber) – Logged out, sent to landing page
  • User has no WordPress account – Receives WP login error
  • Newly registered users create account and are redirected to the login page. They then login and run through the logic (they then fall into one of the first three buckets)
  • User has WordPress account (Contributor or higher user role) skips login logic (for internal users only)

This testing required several different accounts in various sales lifecycle stages. Testing to ensure that our script’s logic accounted for every possible outcome (sometimes a flowchart helps with these tests).

What is the craziest thing a visitor could do while on this site?

This is another fun test, because people are weird. Really weird. And they do really weird things sometimes.

This tweet came across my feed the other day and it’s painfully true. You spend hours, days, weeks, building a website or app and then you have to try and figure out all of the ridiculous ways that people will break it. This is the fun, but frustrating part of QA.

An important thing to note is that after you finish QA and launch your site: you’re really not finished. QA and testing is never over. If you update a link on your site, or change content or make any changes to the site you need to test them. Click on every link. Make sure every image shows up.

This article originally appeared on LyntonWeb.