With thousands of interested eyes focused on your online presence it is very important that these end-users are not disappointed during any online interaction with your site. This is accomplished by undertaking a thorough review/quality assurance process to detect any issues before a visitor does.
Testing, however, is often the first development process truncated in a project’s timeline because of the quantifiable value of code writing in the web development process. QA is a critical part of the product cycle because of the negative impact development issues can create within client relationships. Without strong attention to detail from a vantage point independent of the development team bugs can fall through the cracks and end up as part of a final product. The QA process can often seem daunting, though, and many site owners don't know where to start. What follows are three tips for making your QA process easier.
1. Plan for and involve QA from a project’s conception to its completion. When QA is tasked with proofing a large deliverable within a week of its due date testing can get compromised quickly because of time constraints. Bug resolution does not occur in a vacuum - code edits can and will affect other parts of the website. Because of this truth proofing is best employed with ample development time still on the horizon. As an added bonus, issues identified early in development by QA are generally easier to fix, which also prevents child-issues from appearing further down the development timeline.
2. Automate portions of your QA testing. Using a tool like Selenium gives QA the power to focus in on key functionality and aesthetics without worrying about the little things. Mundane testing tasks, such as submitting webforms or placing practice orders, can be automated using scripts to be directly executed by an internet browser. Automating parts of a proof frees up time and brain power to test and critically stress key portions of a deliverable. By automating parts of the testing process a website can be drilled into deeper, while using less resources, to make more valuable use of a project’s billable time.
3. Grow the technical reach of your testing team by investing in virtual machines. A virtual machine operates within a physical system by using a partitioned set of computing resources to birth an operating system independent of its parent (host). Access to virtual machines allows QA to explore a deliverable through a greater sampling of lenses which will eventually be used to view by the public. Allowing QA access to these different lenses with the use of virtual machines means more thorough testing can be employed without dedicated, and costly, computing systems. Virtual machines are a great way to travel back in time and see a deliverable through the eyes of someone using an outdated and/or unsupported system or browser. Subscription services like BrowserStack offer access to a number of popular devices ranging from desktop computers to mobile phones, allowing for a wide range of device specific testing to take place using only one computer system.
By employing a Quality Assurance engineer web developers can get a first-hand account of issues and bugs within their deliverable before making the product online and public. Proofing and the resulting QA communication allow developers to fine tune their product in the same way a musician tunes an instrument - with calculated optimizations and calibrations.
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