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As manager of Unleashed Technologies' quality and assurance efforts, I always have a lot to say when it comes to website QA testing. After a number of years of delivering and testing applications of all sizes and shapes, there are several items that rank as the top items to be considered before launching and to be tested time and time again. Let’s talk about a few of the most important considerations in your prelaunch quality assurance plan:

  1. Accurately importing the live site’s data is of major importance. No matter how straight forward the project’s content appears, importing the data is a critical step to be treated with the appropriate level of care. Planning and testing are key to importing the data with integrity and a cornerstone of a successful launch. For most businesses, data is dollars; whether it is product details in an eCommerce site or white papers in a content-rich site. Consider these data import items:
    • Data integrity is of utmost importance and data always has anomalies. These anomalies are generally long forgotten variations in how certain data may have been stored in a previous iteration of data collection. A recent eCommerce example we experienced was a 10,000 product site, with less than 10% of the store’s products available to be sold as a subset. Fortunately, we detected this anomaly during the discovery phase and designed for this in the content type details. Overlooking this detail would have impacted content type details, the import code, and how the eCommerce functionality was developed.
    • Do not put off defining the content type details and building the import code. Any delay in these two areas, ultimately delays building the import code, testing for data integrity, and developing the required functionality.
  2. Perform QA throughout the process. Statistics show a direct correlation between delayed QA testing and a greater number of identified bugs. The agile approach is used for creating the site and should be used during QA at each iteration.
  3. Browser testing – We’ve all experienced the nuances between how different browsers render different site features. Testing for browser differences is so common that it almost seems too obvious to mention. However, it's very important and must not be overlooked. Just recently I overlooked testing a site in IE 8. I had tested it in IE 7 and 9, current versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Mac Safari. Of course IE 8 had an issue that fortunately our designer noticed prior to delivery and was able to easily fix. It was a minor item; however I regretted the oversight and plan to not let that happen again.
  4. Match the development environment to the live environment (as best as possible) – Several conditions can interfere with identically matching the development environment to the live environment, such as if the client hosts their own site or we can’t identically match server setup. It is crucial to make every effort to match all aspects of the live environment including:
    • Server set up

    • Active testing of eCommerce through all payment and gateway options

    • Utilize performance testing tools that emulate the live environment's user load

This is just a brief, but essential website QA testing checklist that will help you begin your quality assurance testing. Being aware of each of these considerations, creating a solid QA plan, and sticking to it for all projects is essential for a successful launch.

We’d love to hear about your methods, and especially any QA testing tools or software you use to make the process more efficient. Please share your comments below!

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