QA Testing - What is it and do I have to do it?

We've all seen them. The websites with broken links, confusing interface (where do I find ___?), enormous paragraphs that somehow say nothing at all...

Quality Assurance (QA) is really just making sure everything works as it should.

As web designers, we have a duty to our clients to at the very least, seek 3rd party eyeballs. We are human. Sometimes we miss things.

Having a QA process is going to keep your processes sleek and your customers happy!

We could go really in-depth with this topic, but let's keep it brief. Here is a general outline of the kinds of QA you could/should perform as a small business...

1) Automated Testing

You can use a program like Ghost Inspector to catch bugs before your users do. This is especially important with custom coded sites.

2) Manual Testing

This is where human usability really comes into play. You basically have real people navigate your site and check for things like:

  • design consistency

  • clarity of intended journey (Is it intuitive?)

  • functionality of links

  • compatibility (different browsers, mobile versions, operating systems)

Many businesses like to use services like UserTesting or Loop11 to get recordings of hired testers using their sites and providing feedback. Here at New Leaf, we like to use our community of fellow designers for this, too.

3) Security Testing

This is a must with Wordpress sites. They are notorious for getting hacked. While we don't have to worry much about that since we design with Wix almost exclusively, it's always a good idea to verify that SSL is used and configured properly (think, "https" instead of "http"). If your web designer is building through Wordpress, ask them to perform security testing using WPScan and make sure they're going to regularly keep your plug-ins updated and checking for vulnerabilities.

QA is an important role that could make or break the reputation of a company. However in-depth you decide to do it, it's better than nothing.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions about this topic, drop them in the comments below!

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