The importance of testing your website

In this article we look the importance of testing your website and how you should approach it. We also look at user testing and reasons why you should involve users in the testing process.

Why is it important?

Testing your website is important because any website is a critical part of any business and its marketing efforts in this day and age. With the advent of mobile technology and the range of devices in the hands of the public it is more vital that your website is tested so that it performs correctly.

A website is the online shop window into any business whether big and small and it is the primary advertising platform before any social media that drives traffic to your website to convert to successful business, for example a new client or an order for items from your online store. Therefore your website must succeed in that purpose for which is it designed for. To do this it must be checked and tested else the smallest spelling mistake to a bigger browser compatibility issue could be costly.

How to approach testing

There are many approaches to testing your website. The following approaches depend on which point you want to test your website.

Summative test

This test involves looking at the current website as it is now. Testing it will provide you will an excellent overview of how well it works and you can list how it can be improved. You can do any tests you like such as listing how the navigation works, testing all links, how pages look.

Formative test

This test takes place during development of your website. This helps refine ideas and actually saves you time and money because if you fix an issue before the website is available to everyone it because the public will not generally inform you of an issue unless really outraged.

Prototype testing – paper and graphic

You can build draft of your website on paper or in any decent desktop publishing program to see how your website and ideas will look and how it work together. This is best for early development. As you design process moves forward you may want to try more substantial solutions such using code and HTML to try ideas. For example you could build your website’s template from the graphic design.    

User Testing

This concerns involving a sample of people whom will use your website. The main purpose of implementing user testing is that it should be comprehensive and designed to test not only the key areas of your website, but any areas you didn’t think about or forgot about.

Here are a few reasons why user should be involved in testing your website.

  1. Users who will test your website should represent the intended audience and their needs and wants, such as a member of the public wishing to be able log on to the online banking section of his bank with ease and on the move.
  2. Developers are typically close to the design process and could be biased in their opinions and assumptions. Such assumptions should be tested by users of the website to see what the results are. The feedback for users is often very helpful such as navigation not being clear or what to actually click on to get to the desired page.
  3. Users can read and understand your intended message and must be able to do without difficulty because they do not want to have to think too much.
    Users can help ensure the text of your website says what you actually mean, not what you think you mean, so they can complete their aim for example as to follow a link to a page with more information.
  4. Users should be allowed to test your website unguided and no hindered with questions by you so that they can really test your website and find problems.
  5. Users should be encouraged to test your website using different equipment, different Internet browsers and use different smart phone and tablet devices to ensure your website displays and works properly in all the intended environments. 
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