Testing plays a vital role after website design and development, making it the most critical step in the process. By addressing potential issues early on, you can prevent them from turning into crises that hinder your website launch. And worse still, fixing website issues after production can cost up to 15 times more than addressing them during the design phase.
To ensure a successful website launch, early testing is imperative. Let’s understand the significance of the testing phase during website development.
A. What Does Early Testing Mean?
Early website testing, as the name suggests, involves testing your website as early as possible during the development cycle. It is one of the key principles that is covered under the umbrella of website testing and maintenance.
In Agile testing, this process is seamlessly integrated with the development cycle, enabling quality analysts to work alongside developers and provide immediate feedback.
Unfortunately, many digital agencies and website developers overlook early website development testing. If you find yourself in this situation, this post will be TREMENDOUSLY helpful in understanding the importance of early testing.
B. Why Do You Need Early Website Testing?
While saving time and money may be the first benefits that come to mind, early testing offers much more than that. Let’s understand the advantages of early website testing:
1. Improved User Experience
Early website testing helps developers identify and address usability issues quickly. That results in a better, more enhanced user experience across the website. And there is hardly any better way to increase your sales. In fact, a Forrester study found that a sharp user interface can boost conversion rates by 200% and even reach up to 400%!
Here’s how early website development testing can transform your website’s user experience.
- Visual Hierarchy: Early testing establishes a clear visual hierarchy and guides users smoothly.
- Consistency: Early testing ensures a uniform look and feel, improving website navigation.
- Color and Contrast: You can choose the colors and contrast with the best appeal and readability.
- Button and Form Optimization: Get a well-refined size, placement, and responsiveness.
- Typography: Ensure font legibility and aesthetics.
- Responsive Design: Create a website with a consistent user experience across devices.
- Animation and Transitions: Get the right balance of animation and graphics for engaging, seamless experiences.
2. Enhance Accessibility
Early website testing allows testing and modifying accessibility features during website development. And when your website meets the needs of individuals with visual, auditory, cognitive, or physical impairments, you can reach a wider audience. Plus, you can comply with the latest accessibility guidelines.
Ensure Compliance with Accessibility Standards: Ensure compliance with accessibility standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) from the get-go. It will benefit users, not to mention, safeguard you against legal consequences.
3. Increased SEO Performance
Another advantage of early testing that developers and designers often ignore is increased SEO performance. With testing integrated during the development phase, you can resolve technical issues that directly or indirectly impact SEO.
Here’s how early website testing contributes to increased SEO:
- Faster Loading Speeds: When SEMrush analyzed over 600,000+ keywords in Google search results, they found a strong correlation between top-ranking pages and quicker loading times. Early website testing helps you identify and fix issues related to page speed optimization.
- Reduced Errors: Early website development testing helps fix broken links and improper header tags. With these obstacles out of the way, your website can provide a seamless experience for users and search engines alike. That’s your golden ticket to higher search rankings.
- Solid SEO Groundwork: Early website testing strengthens SEO best practices, such as optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, incorporating relevant keywords, and establishing internal linking structures.
- Increased Organic Traffic: With a robust SEO foundation, your website will attract more organic traffic over time, setting the stage for long-term success. Ideally, SEO, testing, and development should go hand in hand.
4. Better Code Stabilization
Keeping your website up and running requires removing the bugs or actions that will make it prone to failure. Why allow the website owner to do something that will cause a crash?
And with early website development testing, you can ensure better code stabilization. It is the process of giving your website a sturdy foundation.
Here’s how it helps:
- Early testing identifies defects in the codebase before they turn into a ticking time bomb. It significantly reduces the risk of costly fixes later.
- Early website development testing ensures consistency in the codebase. It decreases the likelihood of conflicts and issues arising from code changes.
- It enables developers to address potential issues quickly. As a result, you save considerable time and resources.
- It helps prevent the accumulation of technical debt, which can lead to costly rework and delays.
- Early website testing ensures the code is scalable. This reduces the likelihood of performance issues arising as traffic increases.
5. Reduced Development Costs and Time
Finally, let’s talk about one of the most well-known advantages of early testing – saving development costs and time. Here’s how early testing can help:
- Early website testing catches bugs before it’s too late. It prevents rework, saving your time and resources.
- It also improves collaboration by avoiding. Quick and proactive communication helps boost your development speed and accuracy.
- It allows you to prioritize website features and streamline development.
- Early website testing eliminates unnecessary development work, allowing you to focus on what matters most.
- Quicker feedback leads to faster revisions and rework, saving time in the long run.
C. Understand the Best Practices for Implementing Early Testing
As critical as it is, implementing website development testing in the early stages is often easier said than done. With websites becoming increasingly complex, you will need to consider various factors during the early testing.
Let’s look at a few factors to ensure successful early website testing.
1. Integrate Early Testing in the Development Workflow
First and foremost, integrate early website testing as a fundamental part of your development process. Once it becomes a part of your DNA, each website you create will leave a lasting impression.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you should do.
- Test-first Mindset: Develop a test-first mindset. Write tests for features even before the code comes to life. And make it a habit that sticks.
- Risk-based Prioritization: Focus on high-risk areas first and allocate resources accordingly. Tackle the critical aspects to avoid potential bottlenecks.
- Tight-Knit Teamwork: Remove the gaps (if any) between developers, designers, testers, SEOs, and other stakeholders. Foster a collaborative spirit to ensure tight-knit teamwork.
- Agile Approach: Don’t run a marathon. Break the project into sprints. Keep testing at every stage, readily adapting to changes. It is less stressful and more effective.
- Suitable Tools: Choose tools that cater to your unique needs. You have several choices, such as Cypress, Mocha, or Pytest. Take your pick after careful scrutiny.
- Shift-Left Testing: Start testing as early as possible in your development process. That is called shift-left testing. Catch issues sooner and reduce the risk of late-stage surprises.
- Learn and Evolve: Review test results, adapt strategies, and continuously fine-tune your approach. There is no better way to stay ahead in the game.
2. Use of Automation Tools
Use automation wherever possible. Try to strike a balance between manual and automated testing. This way, you’ll save time without sacrificing quality. You can choose from different tools to speed up testing.
But keep the following steps in mind when integrating automation into your website development testing:
- Use AI-driven Tools: Explore cutting-edge AI-based tools like Mabl or Testim. These tools bring adaptability and intelligence to your early website testing efforts.
- Smart Test Case Selection: Utilize machine learning algorithms to identify the most crucial and risk-prone test cases for automation. This will optimize your efforts.
- Parallel Testing: Run multiple automated tests simultaneously using tools like BrowserStack or Sauce Labs. It will drastically reduce testing time.
- Continuous Integration: Incorporate automation tools within a CI/CD pipeline, such as Jenkins or Travis CI. They facilitate seamless collaboration and real-time feedback.
- Visual Validation: Employ tools like Applitools or Percy for automated visual testing. It is the best way to keep your website design flawless across devices and browsers.
- Performance Monitoring: Use performance monitoring tools like JMeter or LoadRunner. They can automate load and stress testing, keeping your website robust and responsive.
3. Developer-Tester Collaboration
Create a collaborative environment between developers and testers. This means promoting open communication and sharing information to ensure early website testing aligns perfectly with development goals.
Take the following steps:
- Break Down the Silos: Encourage cross-functional collaboration and reduce departmental silos. You need all your teams working together for successful website development testing.
- Shared Vision: Ensure developers and testers share a common understanding of the project’s goals and vision. Testing becomes a lot easier if they are working towards a common goal.
- Co-creation: Involve developers and testers in creating testing plans and scenarios. It increases ownership and accountability for the early website testing process.
- Test-Driven Development: Embrace the test-driven development (TDD) approach. In TDD, testers create test cases before development, making the website bug tracking more efficient and accurate.
- Visual Feedback: Use visual feedback like screenshots and videos to help developers and testers understand and resolve issues more effectively.
4. Iteration and Improvement through Feedback
Gathering feedback isn’t enough. Use it to refine your early website testing efforts. It enhances the quality of your website.
Here’s how to make this approach work:
- Listen and Learn: Seek feedback from the stakeholders to learn about the performance and functionality of your website.
- Categorize Feedback: Organize feedback into categories such as bugs, usability issues, or feature requests to prioritize improvement efforts.
- Analyze Patterns: Look for patterns and trends in feedback to identify recurring issues and develop targeted solutions.
- Prioritize Improvements: Use feedback to prioritize your testing efforts. Focus on high-impact improvements first.
- Test and Iterate: Check improvements thoroughly. And modify as needed based on feedback from users and stakeholders.
- Monitor Progress: Continuously monitor the impact of improvements, using metrics such as user engagement or conversion rates to track progress.
- Communicate Openly: Share improvements with all stakeholders. It helps foster transparency and collaboration.
5. Boost Your Development Process with QA Involvement
Your Quality Assurance (QA) team is the backbone of your website development testing process. They will ensure your website is highly functional, responsive, and secure. So, integrating the QA team early in your website testing is a great idea.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Include QA in Meetings: Involve your QA team in all meetings to facilitate early website testing. This promotes mutual understanding and strengthens teamwork.
- Conduct Code Reviews with QA: Engage them in code reviews to ensure testability, performance, and security. This collaboration helps developers, and QA teams learn from each other. It also maintains website bug-tracking quality standards.
- Organize Internal Demos: Organize internal demos to track progress, gather feedback, and improve communication between developers and QA. This approach keeps everyone informed and resolves issues early.
- Implement Continuous Integration: Employ continuous integration (CI) to merge code into a shared repository constantly. This is where your builds and tests can run.
6. Don’t Rush into Early Website Development Testing
Like everything else, rushing into early website testing can cause more harm than good. Yes, there are benefits to this approach. But it is also essential to be aware of its possible downsides.
Keep the following in mind:
- Beware of the Pesticide Paradox: Believe it or not, running the same tests, again and again, can result in a false sense of security. In other words, it will cause new bugs to go undetected. Try to avoid this by updating your website testing process.
- Get Your Development Team Involved: Sometimes, the development team may get caught up in building new features and neglect testing. Get them involved in unit testing. Encourage ongoing testing throughout the development process.
- Optimize Your Quality Assurance Practices: Keep optimizing your QA practices. Concentrate on assessing the aspects of early website testing that genuinely impact the outcome.
- Consider Testing Environment Limitations: Limited testing environments mimic real-world conditions inadequately. These conditions encompass various devices, browsers, operating systems, network speeds, and user behaviors. So, you will need to consider their limitations when testing your website.
The importance of early testing in ensuring a successful website launch cannot be overstated. Early website development testing can increase productivity, lower costs, and improve the website’s quality. But you will need to be careful when implementing early website testing, or it can backfire.
Hopefully, this post will help you understand why you need early testing and how to get it right. Get in touch with us for further assistance. Our dedicated team is equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you optimize your website launch.