Advice From a Project Manager: The Importance of Testing

Posted by Katie Conaway, Gian Genovesi, and Matt Trimmer

October 26, 2015 | 2:06 PM

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PM_blog_series_testingAfter spending so much time, money, and resources on creating your dream eCommerce site, there can be no more crushing occurrence than to launch your new site only to find it broken and riddled with errors. In order to prevent this situation, comprehensive testing must be a part of the eCommerce site development process.

Testing is frequently a neglected aspect of the process, but it is one of the best ways to reduce the potential for site defects before your eCommerce site becomes customer facing. Discovering and resolving errors in a controlled environment can help save time and money in the long run.

Not only is it easier to fix an issue in development, but also, bugs experienced in production by customers can impact their trust in the company, further affecting their engagement with your site. Because your business is conducted online, your eCommerce site is sometimes the only interaction a client has with your organization. Without in-person customer service, the site has to work flawlessly in order to keep the customer happy. A lot of times, there are no second chances if the site fails to do its job.

In order to properly test and evaluate sites, the Briteskies team focuses on three different types of testing: Regression Testing, User Acceptance Testing (UAT), and Performance Testing.

Regression Testing

It is very rare that any kind of site fits every business need right out of the box. There is almost always some sort of customization to ensure that the site fits specific business requirements. When implementing a new piece of code, a new business rule, or an integration point with an organization’s back end office, Regression Testing is the best way to be sure that those customized areas are being handled properly.

Regression Testing is performed when a new piece of code or functionality is added into an already established website. This type of testing ensures that the new aspect seamlessly integrates without breaking anything.

Regression Testing is most necessary when doing a software upgrade, new implementation, or when there are changes to an integration point. Briteskies most often executes Regression Testing when upgrading a site to the latest version of the software. While referencing the older version of the technology, our team applies the update and then performs Regression Testing to ensure that all functionality is executing the way it should be with the software update. If the site is not functioning or performing as it should, modifications are made accordingly.

User Acceptance Testing

When building a website for a client, there comes a point before go live when the development team needs to make absolutely sure that what they have created meets all of the client’s specifications. In order to achieve this, we perform User Acceptance Testing.

User Acceptance Testing involves running through a series of testing scripts to ensure that everything is working the way that the client wants it to. This is a very formalized and regulated process. First, the Business Analyst assigned to the project creates the testing script, and then runs the tests. If any issues arise, the Business Analyst relays the issues to the developers who then correct the code associated with the failed test script. Once the code is corrected, the Business Analyst runs the test script again. If it passes, that portion of the User Acceptance is completed; if it fails the Business Analyst engages the developers for further correction. Once the Business Analyst determines all testing scripts have passed, the client is provided with the same test scripts and they perform the final User Acceptance Testing to verify that they receive the same results.

Each script is tested by hand, and for most eCommerce site tests, the following actions are commonly included in testing:

  • Delete from cart
  • Check order status
  • Log in
  • Create an account
  • Complete order (includes testing integration points to ensure that the order registers on the back end as well as with the payment method)

The end goal of UAT is for the site to go live without any unexpected results.  

Performance Testing

Performance Testing ensures that the software being used for the web application is being used effectively and that the hosting service and web application are optimized.

The main goal of Performance Testing is to make sure that the site is being scaled appropriately so as to provide a seamless experience for the end user. Performance needs to be tested to check that memory and disc space is being appropriately utilized and allocated for the web app at hand.

Things being checked during Performance Testing include how long it takes to load images, how long it takes to complete a transaction, and whether or not the site is set up properly for the number of hits the website is getting per second or minute.

Performance Testing is one aspect of the site development process when it is really important to have the right partner. Your partner needs to be someone who truly knows the software your site is developed on so that they can better determine the type of hosting package will be the best fit. This combination gives your site the best possible performance.

Once your site goes live, you want the online application to run the way it should without encountering errors or unexpected results. Poor site performance can lead to wasting time and money down the line or, even worse, the loss of a client. The only way to ensure the desired results is to complete comprehensive testing. It is time consuming, but it is an important part of any successful implementation.

For even more information on testing, check out this blog.

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