Web Applications are programs that use browsers to function. They are getting more popular with each new day and for good reasons. Web software development allows for features unattainable for regular software. The biggest advantage is that you don’t need to download and install a web app to use it. Also, web applications are always up to date and are easier to maintain and operate.
Web apps come in all imaginable shapes, varieties, and forms, serving many purposes. An example of the least sophisticated and complicated web app is the contact form, which can be found on almost every website. On the other end of the spectrum are apps like Google Docs, website builders, photo and video editing programs, format converters, email, and instant messaging programs, etc. So, what are the 5 crucial steps of web app testing?
Functionality and usability
There many details one should test to ensure the proper functionality and usability of a web app, including:
Check links leading to other websites and the internal links, both, the ones that help you jump to a different place on a webpage and those that navigate users between different pages of your website. If there are links leading to your website that you are aware of, make sure they work too. If one or more doesn’t (is broken or outdated), try to contact the person in charge of the website where it is located. Getting this in order is important as it can improve the visibility of your website and even make search engines display it higher on its lists.
Forms are great at allowing potential customers to reach you, so make sure that these miniature web apps are running smoothly. Fill in the data in all the forms, send them, and check whether they have entered your database. If your website supports several languages, you may want to check each individually. Be extra careful when different alphabets are involved. Some forms give feedback to the user when they are typing in the wrong type of data in a certain field, such as email, without the at-sign (“@”), followed by a dot, or a phone number that contains something other than numbers. If your form supports such functions, do not forget to test for wrong input. Make sure that once the user has submitted their data, they receive a message reassuring them that the action was successful.
Whether your cookies expire by the end of the session, or are more permanent in nature, testing them is necessary for the quality of user experience. A common technique for this type of testing is using the web app with the cookie option enabled and disabled in the settings of your browser.
HTML and CSS
Your website should be easily accessible for search engine crawlers. Verify that there is no syntax errors and no CSS rules conflict with each other. Confirm that it is working properly on different browsers, including mobile browsers (more on this later).
Content and navigation
It goes without saying, but the content of your web app must not contain any spelling or grammar mistakes. Everything should be steering the user towards the end goal, whatever it is. Check whether the menu and all the buttons work as they should. If your website contains images, it should have “alt” text.
There is a great variety of browsers for internet users to choose from. While trying to check the compatibility of your web app with every single one of them might seem like overkill, checking the most widely used ones is only prudent. Some of the most popular browsers in 2021, among PC users, are Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera. More privacy-conscious folks tend to prefer Brave and Vivaldi. Mobile users favor Chrome, Safari, Samsung Internet, UC Browser, and Opera. Do not forget to verify that the web app works on different browser versions and in combination with various operational systems. For PC visitors these are Windows and Linux, for mobile users – iOS and Android.
Interface testing is a procedure, during which connectivity, compatibility, and a proper workflow between the software, the network, and the hardware are tested. Make sure that information is transmitted smoothly without distortions between your web and database servers.
Check what happens when the connection request is interrupted or resubmitted mid-execution by a user. If the connection cannot be established (for example, when the network is down), decide if the error message is displayed properly on the screen.
Performance and Crowd Testing
Confirm that your web app responds as expected at different connecting speeds. Perform a load test to see what happens when many users try to access the web app at the same time. This test helps to determine the potential of the software towards scalability, as well as identify its weak points.
You can hire a group of people to perform crowd testing. Many previously undetected bugs and weaknesses can be uncovered due to the sheer variety of ways in which software can be used by a diverse group of individuals.
This is probably the most important step. Whenever a person submits their contact info or any other sensitive data to you, they trust you to keep it safe and secure. Different tests should be performed, depending on the functions of the application. Do users have a personal cabinet? Do they need to log in to access it? If so, verify that the login page cannot be bypassed by simply copying the URL of the personal cabinet to an address bar. Test whether CAPTCHA is working as it should. Make sure that any attempts, successful or not, to break the system are cataloged.
Make sure that links send your users to secure websites only. Alternatively, a warning sign should be displayed.
Testing is a necessary step in quality assurance. In general, it can be divided into 5 parts, described above: functionality and usability, compatibility, interface, security as well as performance, and crowd testing. However, it is worth remembering that the process may vary considerably, depending on the software and the functions it must support.