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As digital continues to rise as a powerhouse commerce channel, the need for optimized and effective online functionality and user experiences becomes more critical. Testing is the means by which you will identify flaws, frustrations, and failures (all of which are not necessarily in plain sight).

I’ve outlined some key factors to help build an effective testing system for your website, applications, software, infrastructure, database, and technology.

Create a Test Plan
  • Generate Use Cases and Test Scenarios
  • Establish a Stable Test Environment
  • Assemble Capable and Proficient Testers
  • Prepare a Schedule for Testing
  • Design Scoring for each Test Case
  • Verify a Clear Understanding on Reporting of Test Results
  • Create a Test Results Report
  • Define the Administration for Post-Test Actions and Retesting
  • Set Up a Retesting Resolution Report
Prepare Documentation
  • QA Processes
  • Testing Protocols
  • Test Flows
  • Pass / Fail Outcomes
  • Prioritized Action Plan
Testing Requirements
  • Modules and Functions
  • Triggers
  • Inputs / Outputs
  • Database Transactions
  • Files & Reports
  • Documented Flows and Use Cases
  • Utilities & Scripts
  • Automated Functions
  • Invalid Data Alert and Error Messages
  • Security, Access Controls
Application Testing
  • Mobile Responsive: Simulate All Screen Sizes and Device-Browser Combinations
  • User Interface including GUI Validation and User Acceptance
  • Page Rendering | Element Alignments | Content Placement
  • On-Site Search | Navigation | Keyword Analysis
  • On-Page Content | Internal & External Links | International Conversion, if applicable
  • Shopping Cart: End-to-End including Account Set Up, Tax, and Shipping
  • SEO: Tags, Schema, URLs, Structured Data, HTTPS, Crawl & Indexing
  • Favicon | Breadcrumbs | Information Architecture | Visual Cues
  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript | Style Sheets| Robots.txt | Sitemap | XML Sitemap
  • Pop Ups | User Messages | Error Notices | Auto-Generated Emails
  • Add-Ons | Plug-Ins | 3rd Party Software | Integrated Applications
  • Media: Optimization, Minification, Formatting, Placement, Accessibility
  • Data: Accuracy, Integrity, Structure, Feeds, Real Time Delivery
  • Call to Actions | Buttons | Rick Text Links | Interactive Elements + Icons
  • Caching | Minimize HTTP Requests | Bottom of Page Scripts | Lazy Loading
  • Inspect the CSS Grid, Container Queries and DOM Properties
  • Forms: Minimum Fields | Auto Fill | Auto Correct | Progressive Format
  • Technical: Functional | Database | Data Feeds | Load Balance | Recovery
  • Inputs + Outputs | APIs | Interface Between Servers | Query Response Time
  • Inspect Network Activity and Server Access Logs
  • Performance | Compatibility | Security | ADA Accessibility Compliance
  • Core Web Vitals | Analyze Runtime Performance
  • Timeline Event Properties: Loading, Scripting, Rendering, Painting
  • Platform: Reliability, Availability, Stability, Scalability, Maintainability
  • Site Administration: Manual for Capabilities, Functions, and Reports

QA Best Practices

Provide paths and flows in the test plan but do not show them directly. A tester must validate that features, flows, and functions are seamless and intuitive.

Do not guide or follow the tester – give them the independence to identify all instances where a feature, function, or data point is problematic.

Ask the tester to purposefully perform an action incorrectly to determine if there are the right alerts and error messaging.

Along with Pass / Fail, set an Impact / Severability Level score between 1 – 10 for each use case and test.

Ask every tester to write down their observations, recommendations, and/or questions that arise during their testing.

Track HTML, CSS, and JavaScript changes.

Maintain a Log of debugging and code fixes.

Infrastructure Testing
  • OS | Hardware | Software
  • Configuration and Directories
  • Version Control and Code Deployment
  • Stability | Continuity | Reliability
  • Server & Client Requirements
  • Performance and Regression
  • System Integrations
  • Computing Capabilities
  • Code Inspection & Standards
  • Load, Volume, Stress, and Vulnerability Testing
  • Servers and Hosting
  • Security | Firewalls | Encryption
  • Back Up and Recovery
  • Documentation
Database Testing
  • Data Integrity
  • Data Design
  • Field Lengths
  • Data Mapping
  • Transactions
  • Schemas and Queries
  • Operations (Update, Delete, Insert)
  • Triggers and Behavior of Table Flags
  • Stored Procedures
  • DML Procedures
  • Field Constraints and Dependencies
  • Feeds | Auto Batch Functionality
  • Files & Fields Naming Conventions
  • Documentation
Testing Reminders

Set priority level on all tasks. With limited resources, it’s necessary to ‘score’ issues so that the focus is on the most critical and valuable actions.

Establish clear protocols for change management.  Create a record (log) of all changes performed, including by whom, to ensure that the team can revisit any modification / update, or rollback code if the change has had adverse implications.

Do not have team members working in a silo – use daily scrums and tools such as Jira and GitHub to keep the entire team consistently aware of testing activities, development, and outcomes.

Maintain a “Phase 2” list of issues, upgrades, and improvements that will be valuable for the business to implement, but cannot be achieved in the current production timeline.

Be prepared to move to training after testing. Critical understanding and insights must be shared with internal and external users.

Final Notes

Empower your team with testing prowess and prioritize QA as a critical part of your technology requirements.

Testing ensures that your organization can fully achieve its objectives, effectively scale, and reliably serve customers and associates.

Take the time to assess if your testing program should be in-house or outsourced to a expert firm, especially when there are rigid deadlines. Many services have advanced capabilities with automated testing, which is controlled yet agile.

Explore options and then structure your QA based on the right strategy, plan, processes, and resources for your business model and budget. Each quarter, audit the activities and review reports, giving you the necessary insight to continually improve the testing program and enhance performance.

As with all aspects of business, QA should evolve over time and be responsible for new conventions to meet the latest demands and goals.

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