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4 Steps to an Effective Website Quality Assurance Process

Why Perform Quality Assurance (QA) Testing?

Usability and credibility are crucial to the success of any website. Visitors need to be able to navigate a site easily and feel confident about the quality of information they find. Broken links or misspelt words may seem like minor errors but they can quickly damage a website’s credibility, as well as that of the company overall. Some reports suggest that spelling mistakes on websites damage brand credibility, costing millions in lost sales.

Quality assurance testing, both during the build and after, ensures the development and maintenance of high-quality, usable websites that attract the right audience to generate substantial return on investment (ROI). 

A thorough and robust QA process performed at every stage of development will eliminate avoidable errors or bugs before the site is made live. Routine testing reduces the number of code iterations before reaching the final sign-off point, improving overall efficiency of the development process. These four steps will help you build a robust QA process.

1.    Review Documentation

Taking a holistic approach to reviewing documentation is crucial because it will define the rest of the QA lifecycle. Whatever form the documentation may take, from functional specification to graphs and charts, be sure to review as much of it as possible because it will define the testing procedures used in the later stages of QA testing. It may seem like an obvious first step but the emphasis is on the depth of the review. At this stage, you should also meet with the developers who have been involved in the project in order fill in any gaps and understand their perspective on the project. This will go a long way to helping you create the right test plan and test case.

2.    Create a Test Plan and Test Case

A successful QA testing regime relies on accurate test planning. You will need to allocate sufficient resources to ensure the testing process is completed without failure, and in the shortest time possible. The plan will involve writing test cases to ensure that everyone on the team follows the same procedures, and writing reports of outcomes and findings after the tests complete. You should also be trying to determine which testing techniques need be used to verify the quality of each deliverable, for example functional testing, performance/stress testing or penetration testing etc.

Test plan: The test plan details the specifics of which tests are to be run. It will also include details of resources required and how they are to be allocated throughout the tests.

Test case: The test case acts like a script, detailing the exact steps and procedures that each QA tester must follow to ensure consistent observations and outcomes. It is also important to consider the testing method that will be applied. Should some of the testing be automated, or should all tests be carried out manually?

3.    Report

Using the defined test case and following the test plan, the next step is to execute all of the applicable tests, and log the results of each. Details to capture include what passed, what failed, how long each test took and how many bugs were found. These bug reports should be very simple and straightforward so that the development team can review and begin fixing code quickly.

4.    Re-test

Each process and procedure needs to be repeated until the product reaches the desired quality standard and/or the client is fully satisfied with the work that has been done. User feedback will also play an important part in deciding whether to repeat the QA testing process, or whether the software is ready for final sign-off.

Resource availability, internal quality guidelines and project aims will all play a part in determining which of the quality assurance procedures and processes you will actually use when drawing up test plans.

Remember, your company should come up with its own set of guidelines and procedures to follow while conducting quality assurance testing. The guidelines should address editorial, graphics, and coding conventions, helping to build a framework that developers and testers both adhere to. After the site has been built, it should be put through a rigorous post-production process to identify and fix any remaining bugs. Finally, there should be a provision for user feedback, which can influence the on-going maintenance of the site, or capture other bugs that still slip through the QA tests.

If you run into problems, or are unable to properly carry out the required testing you can always contact Green River Media for help and advice.

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