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Website Testing Checklist

In a previous post I discussed the concept of software testing for websites and web pages in very general terms, including some of the key differences between this and traditional software testing methodologies.  For today’s post, I thought I’d take this discussion to the next level and actually list some specific website elements that any website testing project should aim to evaluate.

Generally speaking, any website testing project should focus on browser compatibility, security, payment processing, usability, functionality, SEO structure, and load threshold. What follows is a brief explanation of each.

Browser compatibility should be relatively self-explanatory.  Different web browsers – such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome to name a few – can render certain web pages slightly differently depending on how the underlying HTML code is structured.  Thus, the site must be tested on all the major browsers to make sure that the site renders properly in every case.

Security and payment processing often go hand-in-hand.  In most cases the security of the payment pages will be handled by the site’s shopping cart provider or merchant gateway, but if these pages are hosted locally then you’ll have to test for the proper encryption (via HTTPS) to make sure the risk of getting hacked is minimal.  You will also want to make sure the product prices are calculated accurately.

Usability and functionality are also related.  Usability testing is a basic ISEB / ISTQB software testing technique that aims to evaluate the site from the perspective of the user.  The goal is to make sure the overall appearance, formatting and site design is attractive and intuitive, and to measure the degree to which the user is able to easily navigate to desired pages and perform specific tasks.  Functionality refers to the degree to which all the links are valid, the degree to which contact forms work properly, the degree to which widgets like chat functionality and search tools work, etc.

SEO (search engine optimization) structure is tested to ensure that the site is configured in a search engine friendly manner.  This testing will look at things like keyword density, sitemaps, title tags, and similar elements to ensure that they are fully optimized.  Finally, load testing aims to make sure that the site’s server will not crash if there is a huge spike in traffic to the site.  It also seeks to measure page load times and functional performance in such situations.

To sum it up, the basics of website testing are concerned with evaluating browser compatibility, security, payment processing, usability, functionality, SEO structure, and load threshold.  Of course, there are more aspects of websites that can be tested, but the ones listed here are probably the most important.  Good luck and happy testing!

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