Project Description

Every online launch is stressful.

You know you’ve got a brilliant product on your hands—or, at least, you will have. Before you get to enjoy wowing customers with cool new features and
ingenious tweaks, there are the usual challenges to work through: deadlines, budgets, bottlenecks, workloads…

Then there are the launch-day anxieties: Is the digital product really ‘good enough’ to go live? Will it draw positive feedback? Hit revenue targets? Succeed as brilliantly as you envisioned it would?

Even the best-laid plans go awry sometimes. And with launch deadlines looming and pressures mounting, sometimes it feels like an easy decision to skip the detail.

With all these pressures at play, it’s understandable that digital quality testing might feel low priority. But when launching a new digital product, or even a new release, every small detail needs to be examined, tested and analysed with a fine-tooth comb. Every detail counts. Whether you’re launching a new app or upgrading your website, you need a solid web testing strategy to make sure your customers love your new offering.

Getting your approach to digital quality right early on, saves both time and money down the line. So, how can you balance both your time and your
budget to give your customers the very best online experience?

First, you need to test every part of your website or mobile application from a functionality and usability perspective. You also need to make sure your site is secure, yet accessible. Then, you need to make sure all these tests are conducted on every device and system your customers use.

Sound like a bit of a minefield? But without it, your next launch is more likely to fail and your bottom line could fall. So, here we cover the ultimate web testing checklist, broken down into different test scenarios, for a successful online launch.

Functional testing

1. Conversion forms

Forms work as expected Check for errors, enable validation (so, for example, only valid email addresses can be entered) and ensure notifications are sent to the right people.
Form workflows are set up From start to end, you must make sure each form is the right length, contains the right information and make sure you send an automated response to the reader.

2. Live URLs

Every link has been tested Make sure each link goes to the correct destination. This is important to both ensure your customers do not get frustrated with broken links, and so your site does not get penalised by the search engines for incorrect URLs.
Redirects are in place where necessary This is particularly important if your URL structure is changing significantly to prevent broken links.
A custom 404 page has been set up This will encourage your customers to stay on your site because they will have more navigation opportunities, rather than stray to a competitor site meaning you lose out on conversions.

3. Site speed

File sizes have been reduced Look at every page, the files and information it contains and reduce its size.
Initial page loading time is fast enough This often takes longer as all your images, CSS and JS files must be sent from the server to the browser. Try and minimise page load where you can.
Returning visitor page speed is fast enough Look at your returning visitor page speed. Try to cache as much information as possible to increase page speed.

4. Compatibility

Product has been tested on every new OS Make sure your app or site works on any new operating system. As new operating systems launch continuously this can be hard to do without outsourcing testing to a crowd of testers that has a range of devices with different OSs.
Product has been tested on every existing device and OS But it’s not just new devices you need to test on. There are tens of thousands of possible device, operating system and browser combinations! You’ll be surprised what some of your customers use—but that’s no excuse. Make sure to include cross-browser testing as part of your plan.

5. Images

Every image works on every device and browser Make sure you use the right format, file type and size for every image on your site. You could try an image optimising program like Imageoptim to compress your images. Don’t forget to include alt text in case your image doesn’t render, and to make your site accessible.

6. Regression

Changes haven’t triggered regression in existing functionality For new releases on existing sites, you must ensure that any new changes haven’t triggered regression in existing functionality. Ensure your regression pack is up to date and you are able to run it quickly and seamlessly.

Whether you’re launching a new app or upgrading your website, you need a solid testing strategy to make sure your customers love your new offering. 

placeholder image

Usability testing

Your user experience will make or break your website or app. Every user and every business is different, so your usability will be unique to your online offering.

If you are looking for widespread adoption for your website or mobile application then you need to ensure a seamless user experience regardless of the device or OS. Here’s a usability checklist to help.

 

Every key user journey has been checked Make sure every key user journey has been tested and that the journey is easy to navigate.
The site’s been tested by real users in your target audience Getting real users involved in testing, documenting their feedback, and applying those changes to your site, will really enhance the user experience for everyone.
You’ve optimised the site for all devices If you haven’t optimised your site for the broadest range of devices, make sure you assess and document the associated impact and risk to revenues.
Search functionality is working as it should Make sure you give your users accurate results and provide relevant pages if, for example, a search gives zero results and it is easy to navigate.
Local address formats are accepted If selling in other markets, ensure that your forms accept every address format that you need.
Customer names are accepted Make sure your forms accept diacritic or accent marks to meet the needs of your customer base.

Localisation testing

Internationalisation has torn down barriers to foreign markets. But there are challenges to adapting your website and apps to native standards. It’s not just about language, but also visual nuances, imagery that might work in one market may not work in another.

Check off the following to ensure your site is localised properly.

Translation is accurate Have local language speakers check your site thoroughly, to avoid errors due to orthography, formatting, special characters etc.
Site’s performance is seamless in foreign locations By testing your site globally you can ensure it works as it should everywhere and even in remote locations.
Local dialects and customs have been considered Sometimes terminology needs to change in different markets and local areas. Don’t get caught out by giving an inauthentic experience.
Payment systems are location specific Can every customer you’re targeting complete a transaction? Payment systems that work in the UK or Europe may not work in other global markets like the USA or Middle East. Make sure payment methods are familiar and trusted in each location.
Delivery methods have been confirmed for locations Are delivery charges and delivery time options as expected for each location? Have any potential
import or customs tax charges been clearly displayed to the customer?
placeholder image

Localisation testing isn’t just about translations. Tester should assess context, visual and multimedia content on your website or app, as well as the copy.

Accessibility testing

It’s estimated that one in five people in the UK have a disability. Around 3 million people in the UK have colour blindness. RNIB estimates there are more than 2 million people living with significant sight loss.

Yet, in 2021, WebAIM conducted a study in that pointed to a large majority of websites not offering a fully accessible experience. In 2021, they identified that 97.4% of home pages had detected WCAG 2 failures.

When preparing your site for launch, there are a huge range of factors to consider in terms of accessibility, including adapting your site for people who can’t see or hear well, to those who find using a keyboard or mouse difficult.

There are automated testing tools (such as WAVE and Tenon) but these only detect up to 30% of these issues.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines address the needs of this demographic and help you ensure every customer buy from your business. When Tesco made their home grocery services accessible to blind customers, for example, this returned an extra £13m revenue per year.

When checking accessibility, you should check the site complies with the latest WCAG standards for accessibility, including those on the checklist below:

Audio alerts Blind or partially sighted users may need audio alerts to understand when actions are completed, such as form submissions or for error messages.
Audio and visual controls This covers a range of guidance including captions and subtitles or descriptions of visual information.
The ease of use of your menus and site navigation Make sure to have menus and site navigation structured for ease of users. Screen reader or keyboard users want to be able to easily move through the navigation and through individual pages. Logical page heading styles also ensures the flow through pages for users.
Colour-coding to convey information Many sites use colour coding to identify key buttons or box-out content. So make sure your choice of colour coding is accessible. You can find out more about this in our Colour accessibility ebook.
You’ve created an Accessibility Statement An accessibility statement clearly states which WCAG standards are being met and which are not. You should have jargon-free descriptions explaining the impact to the customer, for standards which have not been achieved.

Integrations

Where your site is using integrated second- or third-party elements such as payment, order processing or messaging systems, have you tested or planned testing for those integrations at different points of progression in the delivery cycle? These are some areas you should be considering:

Use sandbox, test drivers or stubs By using third party sandboxes, test drivers or stubs you get an early insight into how your data end points will behave.
Live integration testing Testing against a live integration validates assumptions made when using stubs or drivers, but also highlights any differences between a sandbox and live environment. QA team should be ready to test as soon as live deployment takes place.
Conduct a soft launch This enables the QA team to test before releasing to your full customer base.
Second-/third-party support Ensure you have second and third-party integration support contacts for testing and go-live in case of any unexpected issues.

Security testing

All your customer information must be kept secure not only to meet today’s stringent compliance regulations, but also to maintain and build trust with your customer base. Users expect their data to be safe and no one wants to buy from a website that’s suffered a serious data breach. But cyber security is a complex problem and one that changes on a day-to-day basis. So you need to check following factors:

Customer data is confidential Customer data is kept private and managed correctly considering GDPR or any other regulatory requirements.
Users are authenticated Your site or app verifies that users are who they say they are with implementation of 2-step verification, Captcha etc.
Penetration testing conducted An attacker can’t take your website offline. Penetration testing has been used to identify gaps and you’ve acted to close them.
Third party integrations are secure Integrations have been vetted and are as secure as your own software. Data management has been considered.

Performance testing

You will, obviously, want as many users to access your site – but how can you ensure it won’t crash from any surge in traffic?

You can simulate the HTTP requests generated by a high volume of simultaneous users and test your web server performance under normal and excessive loads with a tool such as Load Impact, for example.

Load testing complete Run a normal workload against your website to ensure latency and website behaviour is as expected.
Stress testing complete Run a higher-than-expected workload against your website to see how the system behaves when working beyond its design limits to see what maximum limits are.
Soak testing complete Soak testing is equivalent to a load test running for a long period of time to assess long term effects such as memory leaks, disk space filling up etc.
Spike testing complete Run a sudden traffic spike to see how the website behaves under extreme short-term increases.
Real user impact During performance testing, you should have real users using the website at the same time in order to gather user feedback and assess issues raised.

Site analytics

Using the appropriate analytics software on your site or app is crucial to understanding customer buying habits and trends.

Implement website analytics tracking This is essential for understanding your customer demographics, behaviours, buying habits plus your sales trends and much more. Make sure to test the tracking is working as expected.
Use detailed conversion analytics Use an analytics tool that allows you to check if there are certain devices, browser or operating systems that are underperforming against others to pinpoint where you developers may need to focus fixes for quick revenue wins.

Devising the right long term strategy for your business

It’s evident that web and app testing is not a simple process. It will take your business hundreds of working hours to make sure your new website or app will survive in today’s increasingly complex digital landscape. No matter how well you plan your web testing strategy there will always be a limited amount of time and resource to make sure you test as thoroughly as you really should.

And your web testing strategy needs to continue long after your launch date. You must continue to test your site for functional issues and alter your site or app based on the information gathered from your analytics platform and your customer feedback to achieve your business’ full potential in both the short and long term.

Without continuous, robust web testing over extensive platforms and devices, you’ll risk losing business. Your site must work or your visitors will go elsewhere.

You could expand your in-house team, or hire in freelance independent web testers but both routes would take an unfeasible amount of time and money for most businesses. Or you could augment your existing QA team by using a dedicated, specialist testing and QA company, delivering testing results in the fastest time possible and not impacting your software release schedule.

For your convenience, you can also download this checklist as a PDF.

Download checklist