Website testing explained

Why test your website?

Why test your website?

Not testing your website comes with risks.

It can be time consuming, and is therefore one of the many corners often cut when building websites to a tight budget.

Sufficient testing is one of the many corners often cut when building websites to a tight budget

Website testing explained

Website testing comes in many shapes and sizes, and can range from a few simple checks to see if a new page looks okay, to very meticulous and intensive functional testing to ensure that everything on each page works under all conditions and variations.

What could happen if don't test my website?

How much of an impact would it have on your business if your website stopped working for a couple of days?

If your website is at the heart of your business, where it enables customers to buy products, book tickets, subscribe to an online course, make hotel reservations, book a holiday or rent a car, you would be really concerned if your website web down even for a few minutes.

There are many reasons that a website stops working properly, and a lack of testing is often why website problems go live and your customers find the problems before you do!

Following appropriate testing procedures should reveal any problems with your website, and then those errors can be fixed before they become costly errors.


Reality Check

The reality is that when websites get updated, although the intention is that with careful planning and development everything will work as intended, things DO happen.

Quite often the updating of existing code or the introduction of a new feature or section of a website can result in something not working as intended, especially where different use cases or scenarios need to be catered for.

Even if the new features or updates work perfectly, it’s not unusual to find that it has had an impact on something else without you or your web developers realising it.

We added this, but broke that... So now what?

This kind of problem is common on large websites, especially on e-commerce platforms, but websites for small businesses can suffer from updates too. For example, updates to the WordPress website platform, or updates to plug-ins which you might have applied to your WordPress website often happen outside of your control and without your knowledge.

In most cases your website will continue to work fine, but there have been times when such updates have suddenly caused things on the websites which use them to stop working.

So to keep your website up and running as intended, frequent testing is essential.

Beyond the website

In many cases websites are just the front end of a larger system.

Larger organisations are likely to have websites which interact with back-end systems, and those same systems might also serve their customer support or telephone sales teams in addition to the website.

So having an awareness of the architecture of a system beyond the website, and having appropriate testing, reporting and bug tracking procedures in place is vital if you’re to minimise the risk and impact of things breaking.

Subjective versus objective testing

Particularly where design and styling are concerned, people will be somewhere on the scale between loving it or hating it. We can call that subjective and it's not unusual to find that collating the opinions of a number of people is necessary for you to determine whether your website, pages or individual elements are liked by the majority, especially the audience you're targeting.

Rarely will it be unanimous because you'll never please all the people all of the time, and opinions and trends change over time.

On the other hand there will be functional things which will only pass the test if they work as designed. So regardless of your or anyone else's opinion, if something is supposed to do X and it does X, it will pass. But if it's supposed to do X but does something else or nothing at all it will fail.

The range of website testing includes...

Website Audits & Health Checks ⇨

A website audit aims to identify areas of improvement to help your website work better, improve customer experience, and also help to improve search engine results.

Our audits cover more than 380 checks, but are flexible to cover all aspects and variations of bespoke websites.

Website Audits

Free Website Audit Download ⇨

Our FREE website audit checklist contains more than 135 visual and technical points to check on desktop, mobile and tablet. Download it now... No strings attached and no small print!

Free website audit PDF

Website Usability Testing ⇨

What do your customers think about your website? Are they happy with it? Is your website easy enough for customers to engage with? How do you know?

Let Targa test it for you...

Usability Testing ⇨

Cross Browser Testing ⇨

Don't cut corners on cross browser testing! There are many browser versions in existence. Certainly some are more popular than others, and there is also a wider range of screen sizes and mobile devices than ever before.

Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge and Safari are all commonplace, and manufacturers of phones and tablets such as Samsung and Huawei have their own browsers.

Cross Browser Testing ⇨

Website Functional Testing ⇨

Functional testing covers many areas... There will certainly be common things across all websites such as whether the navigation works correctly on all devices, and that all links on each web page work and access their intended target?

Some websites might need to allow users search for products, compare them with other products and purchase them. Perhaps the user will also to need create or log into their account. The is so much functionality involved, and potentially hundreds of failure points that testing absolutely had to be factored into every piece of development work. For SEO purposes, functional testing could also include Schema Markup and Open Graph tag testing.

Some websites might need to allow users search for products, compare them with other products and purchase them. Perhaps the user will also to need create or log into their account. The is so much functionality involved, and potentially hundreds of failure points that testing absolutely had to be factored into every piece of development work.

Functional Testing ⇨

User Acceptance Testing (or UAT) ⇨

For most web projects, business requirements should be clearly defined, documented and communicated to the development team and any other people who will be involved in its implementation and testing.

However, before the new project goes live it will need to be tested to ensure that it meets the business requirements. So a level of testing called User Acceptance Testing needs to be carried out.

Regression Testing ⇨

Regression testing (also known as sanity testing is carried out to make sure that things which worked prior to coding updates still work as intended afterwards.

Regression testing also applies when bugs are fixed, as it means going back and re-running previous test cases to make sure that not only are the bugs fixed, but no new problems have been created as a result of the fixes.

Regression testing can be carried out manually, but there are certain aspects of functional regression testing which can be automated and quickly executed with the use of testing application tools such as Unified Functional Testing (UFT).

There may be the opinion that regression testing shouldn't be necessary if the web developers did not make mistakes. But even without mistakes there is always the potential that something can go wrong, and often it does!

Mobile Device Testing ⇨

With very few exceptions, all websites should be responsive, which means that websites should be compatible with mobile devices as well as desktops or laptops.

Instead of web pages shrinking down to the size of a narrow mobile phone screen, they should be designed to display in a way that is optimised for mobiles, both visually and in terms of images and data structure.

With more than 50% of internet users using their phones, it's essential to make sure that websites are responsive, and therefore mobile friendly.

Mobile App Testing ⇨

Testing a website on a smartphone is NOT the same as testing an app on the same device.

Apps on mobile phones have different characteristics and capabilities compared to websites.

Apps can make use of some of the features of the individual smartphone, such as location information, ID security and other information which may be used and stored in the user's profile.

Tablet Testing ⇨

Even though a tablet in landscape orientation is similar in proportion to the average laptop, unless each page of a website has also been designed to display correctly on the taller, narrower aspect ratio of a tablet in portrait mode, the vertical orientation of the device can cause some web pages to display poorly.

Also bear in mind that when using a desktop or laptop you can hover your mouse pointer over links and features on a web page, which could cause things to happen, such as the expansion of a menu, buttons might change colour, or a display panel to transform in some way when you hover over it. On a tablet there is no hover over and so the user needs to tap the screen, and so the differences in how events are triggered should also be factored in to testing a website on a tablet.

Also be aware that tablet browsers can differ in many ways between those on Android and iOS (Apple) devices.

Price and Cost Calculation Testing ⇨

If your customers discovered pricing anomalies on your website before you did and reported them to you, what would you do? Respond but hope that nobody else notices? Take the time to test and replicate the problem, and then test other scenarios to see if other errors occur, and carry out the necessary analysis to diagnose and fix the problem?

It's not hard to find examples of pricing discrepancies on social media. Don't be amongst them... Pay due diligence, test as many scenarios as you need to, and fix any errors you find.

If you rent cars online, get in touch to ask about comprehensive car hire website testing...
Targa's founder spent over 20 years in global eCommerce at Hertz International

Car Rental Website Testing

Do you rent cars online?
See what we can do...

Car Rental Websites

Website testing explained

Bear this in mind...

If a bug makes it to the customer, it's either because the quality team missed it, or you didn't have anyone test it. So whether you have a one off need for testing, or the need for ongoing testing and collaboration for new sections or features being added to your website, get in touch.

Need help with your website testing?

Whether you have a one off need for testing, or the need for ongoing testing and collaboration for new sections or features being added to your website, get in touch.

Depending on your preferences and requirements, feedback of issues found can be compiled into a single email, PDF, Word.doc or PowerPoint, or you might use systems such as Jira or Trello for reporting, tracking, fixing and retesting bugs.

Whatever your preferences, experienced website testing, reporting and bug tracking is at hand.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Get in touch...

Ether use the form on the right, or if you prefer you can email or phone:

Either email, phone or use the form below:

01406 373511

07564 372222

Fields marked with * are mandatory

security code 1st charactersecurity code 2nd charactersecurity code 3rd charactersecurity code 4th character

Targa Web Solutions Targa Web Solutions logo
01406 373511