Move your web and app testing strategy out of the dark ages

Posted by Dan Berry on Wednesday 15 August 2018
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Many hundreds of years ago – smacking a hammer against a tablet to check its integrity, might have been enough. Since then, tablets have become slightly more complicated.

By adhering to our five web testing strategy principles, we believe you can implement a web testing strategy that is effective, thorough and fast. Helping you revolutionise your web testing strategy and take it out of the dark ages.

#1 Beware of browser blindness

#2 Don’t let testers use vanilla devices

#3 Embrace scale and speed

#4 Consider quality over quantity

#5 Conduct regular testing after launch

You are reading this blog – so I am guessing it might feature on your list – but this is a sentiment I am sure you can appreciate.

Bonus Principle: Web testing needs to be a top priority for online organisations

We have helped major retailers, such as a Jewellery & Accessories retailer, who then saw a 35% increase in their conversion rate after just 4 weeks. Also, a high street department store saw an increase its tablet conversions by 25%. Working alongside some of the largest online businesses in Europe, we have seen first-hand what happens when testing slips as a priority. Websites perform erratically, customers become disillusioned, and internally teams find it difficult to understand what is causing this dip in performance.

The flip-side to this is that we have also seen customers embrace testing and implement the five principles outlined in this blog. We have seen conversion rates climb, revenues rise, and customer satisfaction soar.

Download the full 'Out of the Dark Ages' ebook now to find out more

Time to move out of the Dark Ages

In today’s always-on world, the success of your business – no matter what it is – largely depends on the functionality and usability of your website.

Your website is often the first point of contact between your brand and potential customers, and web-savvy, modern consumers expect nothing less than lightning-fast loading times and a slick user experience. Language errors, confusing navigation structures, and cumbersome checkout processes spell doom for customer satisfaction – and sales figures.

Implementing a thorough web testing strategy is non-negotiable, and that means taking things a step further than merely scanning your website for dead links or 404 ‘page not found’ errors. Functionality and usability issues across all devices and locations need to be weeded out and manually rectified. Utilising tools/crawlers and automation will not be applicable here. What’s more, opportunities for improving conversion rates need to be identified and actioned.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of testing. Covering all of that could take even the most efficient software testers months to complete. But if this means compromising on your website’s quality and performance? That’s not an option.

#1 Beware of browser blindness

Browser blindness occurs when a software tester is required to test the same website across a large number of devices.

After testing the same website on three different devices, it becomes impossible to test the site again with ‘fresh eyes’. Even the most talented software testers begin to miss things.

The solution is to ensure that no one tester is required to test the same browser combination more than three times. It’s also helpful to get testers to take breaks between sessions. This begs the question: how do you implement those two rules and still manage to thoroughly test your website across all devices and browsers within a reasonable amount of time?

The problem is that testers begin to focus only on what they expect to see based on previous experience, not on what’s actually in front of them.

When this happens, problems begin to slip through the cracks.

On a crowdsourced web testing model, no one tester is required to test your website so many times, that they lose their edge. Instead, each tester screens your website with fresh eagle eyes, every time.

#2 Don’t let testers use vanilla devices

Letting a tester carry out web testing on vanilla devices or emulators like BrowserStack or AWS Device Farms, will often provide imperfect test results and conclusions.

As they have never used this device before, the results will not be as authentic as they should be. Testers will not be accustomed to using this device every day, and it will not reflect how an app or website will work in the ‘real world’. A typical example is web or app video that continues to play even when the user receives an incoming call.

Instead, testers should utilise a device loaded with everyday apps like Facebook, Twitter and Outlook as this will provide a more authentic representation of how the website or the app works on your customer’s device. It also demonstrates how a website or app truly interacts with an everyday device which will portray any functionality or usability issues clearer.

#3 Embrace scale and speed

One of the challenges with in-house testing teams is that they’re usually small and, as a result, stressed.

Tasked with monitoring so many elements of a software project, they’re often unable to thoroughly test the functionality and usability of a website or app before the launch date; this can be due to deadlines tightening and QA budget reduction.

While contractors do have the flexibility needed to hit tight deadlines and will boost your capacity, as we mentioned above, scaling a project to the degree that is required can become problematic. Using a testing specialist you can achieve 90 work days of coverage in just 3 days. For the contractor equivalent you’d need 30 of them and at a cost of £300-£500 a day, these costs are unrealistic for most organisations. The more independent contractors you hire to work on any one project, the bigger your budgetary and logistical headache becomes.

When evaluating web testing companies, look for those that have heaps of relevant experience and quality output. The best web testing companies can deliver comprehensive, fully managed, thorough web testing on a massive scale.

#4 Consider quality over quantity

It’s tempting to only think of the quantity of comprehensive web testing before a launch or update. In fact, it is crucial to consider the quality of the web testing you are implementing too.

To truly revolutionise your web testing strategy, you need to avoid inexperienced website testers and focus on creating a team of knowledgeable, professional and experienced testers to add to your testing armoury.

The challenge here again can be scaling a high enough quality team in-house to handle the volume required, at the time you need it and to the quality necessary to give you absolute confidence in your launch. It is wise to consider adding on-demand testing companies to your options here.

A killer combination for your testing team could be on-going in-house staff aligned with an on-demand team to help you with the crunch points and ensure clean launches.

#5 Conduct regular testing after launch

While carrying out comprehensive testing before launching a new website or app is essential, regular testing post-launch is just as important.

The digital landscape evolves at a blistering pace, and even small updates to operating systems or browsers can cause new, costly issues for your website.

Ensure that the performance and usability of your websites and apps are continuously monitored so that you’re able to spot — and fix — problems before your customers do. The best way to conduct regular testing is to deploy a constant cycle of tests that address potential issues in functionality & usability.

Download the full 'Out of the Dark Ages' ebook now to find out more

Topics: Mobile App Testing, Website Testing, Web Testing, Strategy