Chapter 4: Pre-Launch
Quality Assurance Testing
Quality Assurance Testing
As confusing and contentious as other parts of a website project can get, there’s probably unanimous agreement on which is the least fun. Quality assurance testing your newly minted site is labor-intensive, repetitive, time-consuming, and it might make your eyes glaze over. It’s also absolutely non-negotiable and has to take place before you launch your site.
What Should You Check During the QA Period?
Every website is different, and what’s critical for one business might be less important to another. How you prioritize what has to be 100 percent complete prior to launch depends largely on your business goals. However, this short list should give you a good idea of the kinds of things you want to test before publishing.
- Click every link in the navigation to make sure it goes somewhere
- Click every global link (links in your header and footer) to ensure they work for each page template on your site
- Click every link on every page within the page content to ensure they go to the appropriate locations
- Test your website search to ensure it works
- Visit the website on multiple mobile devices, or use the mobile preview in your CMS to see how the pages render
- If you have downloadable assets, make sure the download links work
- Check how iframe content renders within your pages
- Look out for any behavior that looks like a glitch—there could be a script error happening
- Read the content! Read out loud to force your eyes to slow down and spot remaining typos or errors
Divide and Conquer the QA
In order to ensure your website is truly ready to go live, you need to ensure everything works as it’s supposed to and that nothing is missing. It’s a lot of work, and you should reserve a few days for it. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.
While it’s the least interesting part of your project, QA is also the lowest-skilled part, and that means anyone on your team can do it. Most QA tasks involve just looking, clicking, and reading and can be easily assigned to a group of testers.
To ensure that errors are found and recorded in a consistent way, create a spreadsheet that represents your website information architecture, with one row for each page. Include the title and URL of that page, and assign each section or group of related pages to one tester. You can then create columns for different stages or aspects of QA: one for broken links, another for broken images, and one for typos, for example.
However you structure this spreadsheet, save it in a shared folder, or use a cloud app like Google Spreadsheets to allow multiple testers to access and update it at once. You’ll have a central location for all the errors and a comprehensive view that will enable you to make better decisions about the website’s readiness for launch, and to prioritize and assign necessary fixes.