Your website is often the first point of contact between your brand and potential customers. Web-savvy, modern consumers expect nothing less than lightning-fast loading times and a slick user experience – whether their visiting as consumers or B2B users. Language errors, confusing navigation structures, and cumbersome checkout processes spell doom for customer satisfaction – and sales figures.
That’s why a thorough, effective and up-to-date web testing strategy is crucial. It means far more than simply scanning your website for dead links or 404 errors. You need to hunt down and rectify functionality and usability issues across all devices and locations. You need to track down every opportunity to improve conversion rates, then take action to keep the sales pipeline flowing strongly.
With sophisticated web functionality and frequent updates, it’s a tall order to tackle everything, consistently and continuously, even with an efficient software testing team. The workload is huge and there’s intense time pressure to launch new releases and correct issues that emerge.
Compromising on your website’s quality and performance is not an option for ambitious businesses in competitive markets.
At Digivante, we understand these conflicting pressures. We’ve work with hundreds of demanding businesses and brands to help them balance resources, budgets and priorities while delivering an exceptional web experience for their customers.
We’ve written this short guide to share our best practice knowledge of web testing strategy, based on our specialists’ everyday experiences as professional test leads and consultants.
Using seven key principles, you can implement a web testing strategy that’s effective, thorough… and fast.
- Embrace scale and speed
- Automate wisely
- Blend resources for quality and quantity
- Keep testing after launch
- Beware of browser blindness
- Embrace the variety of devices
- Keep reserves in the wings
#1 Embrace scale and speed
In-house testing teams are usually small and almost always stressed because they’re under so much pressure and spread far too thinly.
Deadlines are always getting tighter while the budget for QA shrinks. Despite this, they’re expected to monitor so many elements of a software project that it’s impossible to thoroughly test the functionality and usability of a website or app before launch.
With up to 63,000 possible device and browser combinations (according to Browserstack) to consider, having access to the necessary devices and testing all possible combinations quickly becomes an unrealistic expectation. It would take a test team of hundreds to ensure that a new website works seamlessly across all the devices and browsers that your customers use. And you can’t afford to maintain a team that size in-house.
You need a bigger testing community to carry out high volume testing in short, intense bursts. Lots of companies offer crowdtesting – giving you access to on-demand testers with a range of devices. To make crowdtesting work effectively, choose a partner that vets and verifies their crowdtesters and can respond quickly, with a 24/7 workforce. Make sure you can see the results immediately, so you can take action, and that you can specify the precise tester profiles you want to engage.
The best crowdsourced web testing companies can deliver comprehensive, fully managed, thorough web testing on a massive scale, with a fast response time.
The NSPCC achieved three weeks of testing in just two weekend days, for a seasonal digital product launch, using Digivante’s professional crowdtesting community.
#2 Automate wisely
Test automation can be a great solution to reducing time to market when you release new features and functionality. But it’s a myth that automating everything is the best value testing approach, despite what many people say. If you automate the wrong tests, it will cost you more – not just in repeat testing and redevelopment at a later date but potentially in lost revenue and customer approval due to glitchy or non-functioning websites and apps.
Automation is an important tool, but it can’t do everything. You need to make sure it’s not seen as a magic bullet and a cost-saviour by budget-holders! We advocate a pragmatic approach to test automation – automate your testing only where it will save you time and money without compromising on the quality, detail and rigour that’s needed to check many aspects of user experience.
Finding the right balance between automated and manual testing for your website is really important. If you work with a trusted web testing partner that embraces both manual and automated testing, they should be able to give you objective and evidence-based advice about the best way to incorporate automated testing to meet your goals.
#3 Blend resources for quality and quantity
Getting a large community of testers on the case is a great way to get through a volume of testing work. But you need to brief and focus them well to ensure they’re delivering high quality, actionable results.
Your in-house testing team knows your brand, product and development process. External testers from a leading QA partner should have the latest best practice knowledge of different testing approaches and a well-defined testing process.
A killer combination for optimal testing is aligning your in-house team with an on-demand third party team. The extra resources will help you deliver clean launches consistently at crunch points. Your in-house team can focus on scoping and managing the test, then prioritising actions, based on the testers’ output.
Your team can also spend more time working on improving your web testing strategy, rather than fighting fires and carrying out less skilled tasks. They can use their analytical skills to intelligently interpret and report back on issues.
#4 Keep testing after launch
Comprehensive testing before you launch a new website is essential, but 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 issues for your website that impact customer experience and result in lost conversions and revenue.
Monitor the performance and usability of your website constantly, so you can spot and fix emerging 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 and usability. It’s a valuable investment because by spotting problems early, you stop them escalating and becoming entrenched as more product changes and updates layer onto them.
If you have the resources in-house, you can dedicate a testing team to this task. You may need to supplement your own workforce with crowdtesters to keep pace with the volume of devices and browsers that you want to keep track of, particularly if you have a packed schedule of product changes, new device releases and system updates underway alongside feature development
Digivante uncovered 79 issues including two critical issues during a post-launch web testing assignment for Laithwaites. The team now delivers fortnightly and quarterly exploratory testing, so Laithwaites can keep evolving their site with confidence in an excellent user experience.
#5 Beware of browser blindness
Browser blindness occurs when a software tester is required to test the same website across many devices. Even the most talented software testers begin to miss things and lose their objectivity after repeating a relatively similar operation again and again. Testers begin to focus only on what they expect to see based on previous experience, not on what’s in front of them. When this happens, issues go unnoticed.
For the best quality browser testing, make sure no individual 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.
Of course, the price of ensuring accuracy is a slower pace of testing. You need to look carefully at your resources and work our what’s achievable in your team, without compromising on either timings or outputs.
You may need to make a business case to increase your in-house team, or you may look at using crowdtesters on a regular basis. With a crowdtesting model, no single tester is required to test your website so many times that they lose their edge. A leading provider will have a large enough pool of high quality testers to spread the workload between them.
Specsavers used Digivante testers to support their web expansion to meet online demand during the pandemic. 385 person-days of testing were performed in just eight days.
#6 Embrace the variety of devices
It’s tempting to save time by allowing testing on vanilla devices designed purely to be used for testing. But almost always, you’ll get imperfect test results and conclusions. They don’t reflect real-world user conditions and experiences.
Testers will not be accustomed to using a vanilla device every day – it won’t reflect how your website will really work. A common example is web videos that continue to play even when the user receives an incoming call – you won’t pick this up with a vanilla device because no calls will come in.
Best practice is for testers to use a device loaded with everyday apps like Facebook, Twitter and Outlook. This gives a more authentic representation of a real customer’s experience. It demonstrates how a website truly interacts with an everyday device, showing up any functionality or usability issues clearly.
For in-house testing, you could ask team members to test on their own devices. The more devices they have access to, the more effective the testing will be. For most teams, the range won’t be broad enough to cover all the required mobile and desktop configurations. You could spend £100K or more on buying all the devices you need… but they’ll quickly become obsolete.
Using a crowdtesting provider to fill the gaps can make a big difference to the thoroughness of your testing. Leading testing companies have thousands of testers and devices available – and they’re continually renewed at their expense, not yours. Choose a partner who makes it easy for you to specify your requirements and who comes back to you within a short, agreed timeframe with the precise testers and devices you need, ready to get to work.
Il Makiage launched a new website with confidence after using Digivante for community-based performance testing on a full range of devices, which Il Makiage could not access in-house. The team identified 3 critical, 93 conversion and 226 CX issues which were all fixed before launch.
#7 Keep reserves in the wings
Crowdtesters aren’t the only extra resource you can call on, on-demand. Team augmentation means supplementing your in-house testing team with skilled, specialist testing experts at various levels, depending on your current priorities and skills gaps. For a short term requirement or a boost at a busy time, it’s a good solution that avoids the headache and cost of permanent or contract hires.
Digivante offers team augmentation, from our trusted pool of testing specialists with diverse experience. They’re used to hitting the ground running and collaborating well with their new teammates, for however long it takes. They’ll bring the latest knowledge and expertise from their specialist testing area – from QA delivery and test planning to test case writing and test automation.
It’s a good idea to have a team augmentation partner lined up, so you can confidently call on them whenever you need more people, rather than having to start the search reactively, when you’re desperate for resources. When you’re choosing a team augmentation partner, make sure they’re able to provide people with the capabilities you’re likely to need, with experience working on projects and in sectors and organisations similar to yours. That way you’ll get the best fit and the best value.
Bring Digivante into your team for exceptional digital testing
We hope you’ve found our tips for optimising your web testing strategy helpful. We’re always here to help you if you need our specialist skills, advice or QA resources – our mission is to break down digital barriers between businesses and customers.
If you’d like to find out how our client-focused approach, experienced QA consultants, responsive testing community and leading tools can support your brand’s excellent customer experiences and empower your testing team to achieve more, get in touch.
To discover more about the brands and businesses Digivante has helped with testing programmes and strategy, visit our Client Stories.