Website and app development is a necessary facet in today’s tech-based company culture. But as technological developments speed along, so too do the strings of potential bugs in new tech code.
To discover the best methods for testing a product for errors before launch, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from YEC the following question:
When developing or updating your website or app, what’s one tool or method you rely on to test the front end before a launch?
Their best answers are below:
1. Rapid design methodology
Before any update, we first identify and diagnose the current problems to justify the reasons for making the update. To diagnose problems, we use tools for click-and-scroll tracking as well as user session recording. Other in-company tech provides eye-tracking heat maps to show where visitors look as well as form analytics to learn how your forms are performing. Then we design based on data. – Nick Chasinov, Teknicks
2. Beta/staging environment
No matter how small the change or fix or improvement, we never upload it straight to the live site — we always test thoroughly on our staging environment. Make sure you have this staging area so that you can make any changes that you like without disturbing the public domain. – Alex Miller, Upgraded Points
3. Qualitative observational research
Have your design team put mockups into a prototype and get them in front of unbiased users in your target demographic. Ask the user to perform tasks and see where they would naturally click/tap. Make sure to watch and see if anything confuses them. Adjust your designs as needed. This simple process will save you from retooling designs after being coded, which will save you lots of time and money. – Tony Scherba, Yeti
4. User testing
No amount of automated testing will ever be able to predict the weird things humans will do on your website. Doing user testing is an important first step, but only if you can bring in a diverse group of users. Users of different ages and abilities and with different devices will do different things, finding edge cases you don’t expect. The wider the group of testers you can work with, the better. – Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide
Blisk.io is a great tool for testing out the front end prior to launch. It’s a web browser specifically for developers that shows you how websites render on different devices. Not only is it beneficial for testing what your site will look like via local host, but it will also notify you of any bugs on various devices once your site has launched. –Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
BrowserStack is an interactive service and tests websites across a large number of browsers and devices. It’s private and secure and it has app testing services available as well. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Google Lighthouse
Google Lighthouse is a performance-testing suite included in the Chrome browser’s developer tools. It provides metrics that are useful for gauging real-world performance, such as time-to-first-paint and the point at which the site becomes interactive. It also throttles network and CPU performance, which makes it handy for checking how quickly a site loads on mobile devices. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
We use web/apps testing framework Selenium, which helps us automate and speed up testing of websites/apps on multiple browser platforms. Apart from testing tools, we have a staging environment which our employees actually use while working. This usability testing helps a lot since it gives direct input on how real users use our websites/apps. – Liam Martin, TimeDoctor.com
9. Split testing
The best way to determine whether or not your website or app is optimized to its fullest potential is by split testing them. With split testing, businesses can make subtle, but significant, changes to variables such as button placement, fonts, templates, forms and menus before pushing them live. The test results will offer valuable insights regarding how these changes will increase conversions. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
10. Social media groups’ feedback
As an e-commerce company, we are constantly making changes to our website and testing new ideas. I am in several Slack channels and Facebook groups where I share my updates and get critical feedback. I find that the smaller, more intimate groups will provide much deeper feedback. I try to pick people who are not in my industry so they can test it from a true user perspective. – Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs
11. User acceptance testing
To ensure code launches are bug-free, we carry out extensive user acceptance testing. This is critical to ensure customers will not come across bugs and errors that might hamper their experience. We have a nontechnical team run through common user scenarios with no guidance and see if they hit any barriers. This ensures we have delivered a good code release without errors or critical user paths. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
12. Manual quality assurance
We always have our product manager and tech team test the new version of our app or website before it goes live. Who better knows the product? Having someone who has in-depth knowledge of how the website or app should work can usually find bugs that need to be fixed before the new version is launched. – Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.