Testing

Website Testing Plan

A testing plan for any website or new media product should really be split into multiple layers. First and foremost, the website should be tested on its main function and ideal path. For example, an e-commerce model should be tested on the ability to a) find the desired product b) add the product to the basket c) finalise payment, and perhaps d) have the product dispatched to the customer. After these factors are tested, it then makes sense to test the lower-level functions and aesthetic continuity. For this reason, the first port of call for testing will be the blog application.

Testers

I hope to be able to gather some beta testers on a variety of different system configurations – a mix of PC and Mac users running older and new versions of operating systems together with a decent spread of browsers. However, in the pre-production stages, this may be a little problematic seeing as Ruby on Rails must be set-up on the users’ machines. I will certainly be getting a selection of users of different abilities to test the system on my own machine using various browsers; of which I currently have installed: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer running Windows Vista. I will also be testing on an iMac running Safari and Firefox with OS X 10.5.5. The benefit of having users test the system in front of me is that I will be able to observe the way the users interact with the site and how long it takes them to accustom themselves to the layout and functionality.

With this in mind, it is important that the intrinsic factors are put on trial first – these being those relevant to the product itself. Extrinsic factors then would be those relating to the system configurations on which the product is being tested.

Intrinsic Factors:

  • does the site work?
  • do the functions work? (again with the functionality, because it is so basic)
  • do the links work?
  • are the files present and accounted for?
  • are the graphics MIME types correct? (I used to think that this couldn’t be screwed up)

Extrinsic Factors:

Once the intrinsic factors are squared away, then start on the extrinsic points:

  • cross-browser and cross-platform compatibility
  • clients with cookies disabled
  • clients with Javascript disabled
  • monitor resolution
  • browser sizing
  • connection speed differences

(Philosophe.com)

Feedback & Analysis

I will be designing a questionnaire-style form for users to fill-in after they have used the system which will firstly ask a few basic questions about usability: for example;

  • Were they able to create a comment one of the posts?
  • Were authoring controls hidden from unauthorised users?
  • Did all links lead to the correct pages?
  • Did the gallery function as the user expected?
  • Etc…

I will also then include a less-structured section that asks for users’ opinions on the product broken-up into separate functions such as blog, gallery, contact page, etc. The last part of the testing feedback form will be a general opinion section that allows users to comment on the look and feel of the site.

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