Nov 10, 2014

Test ‘til you drop

Testing may seem ugly to you, yet somebody has to do it, otherwise that lovely site you spent months to develop will look lovely only to a fraction of your actual customers. And yes, everything stands in the details.

Beside functionality here’s what you must pay attention when you test your product:

  1. Speed – is your site loading fast enough, for both your local and international?
    Why do you have to test it? Because there’s a big gap between those two categories. Seconds long gap. And it becomes even more obvious when you’re on mobile, outside a Wi-Fi connection.
    So how can you test that? Try the website speed test from Pingdom and go advance settings to change the server location. The tool also provides information on how you can optimize your website for greater speed. On mobile just put your cellphone on 3G (yes, not 4G) and see what happens. Are you satisfied?
  2. Browsers – yes, good old browser testing. It may take time to test everything but it’s a must.
    You should look for both functionality and design problems. And don’t think that IE it’s your only adversary, if you work on Mac you should test Windows browsers and vice versa. If you don’t have the devices then welcome to Virtual Machines, because emulating IE 8 or 9 from IE11 it’s not accurate at all, so you’ll actually need to install that browser version on a VM. Or you can always try Browserstack , which works with local host too 
  3. Adblock – if you hope that everyone will see your beautiful banners and commercials you are mistaken. Welcome the most beloved browser plugin – Adblock Plus.
    Never tried on your own website? I’m sure your clients did. But why is this so important? Just have a look at the image bellow. While it doesn’t have an advertising area at the top the thing that I’m not seeing it’s actually their own nicely crafted banner. And not only that I’m not seeing it but it breaks the page as well. And btw, Adblock works on some mobile devices as well.
  4. Mobile – not testing on mobile isn't an option any more. But what can you do when emulators aren't good enough yet and your clients are using for sure what you don’t have.
    I recommend you buy at least one device for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, it doesn't need to be brand new if you can’t afford, just head to analytics to see what is the most common used device among your customers. Another option is to kindly ask your fellow coworkers or your friends to borrow their phones from time to time. This applies not only for native apps but as well for responsive websites. And keep in mind that the browser of choice for the mobile devices isn't always the default one on those operating systems.
  5. Color blind – almost 10% of the population has some sort of color blindness. That means that the color pallet you put together to highlight different parts of your website may not be seen very well. It’s maybe hard to understand if you don’t see it for yourself. Here’s a simulator where you can upload a screen capture of your app and see what color blindness really means. You can change your app for the better by using contrast not only color for those important parts.

There are plenty more test that you can do for your app or website but these five cover the basic of a good product: it should look good, work well and load fast.

Presentation image from freepick


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