Today, a Website is more than just a site on Internet as it turns into a way of generating money, brining product queries, having more visitors to a virtual office and finally, earning the bread-&-butter. No matter how you are acting in the Website Development field as an established Company, a freelancer or a dedicated Web Developer; you must be aware with all the expectations and requirements of a person who’ve ordered you to develop its Website. Testing is the most prominent phase of any computer-based Development process. In Website Development, it is the testing who tells whether all the requirements of the client has been met or not and how a Website will work in different browsers, at different computers and at different connection speed. In this write up, we will discuss the benefits of testing the Website Design & Code before launching it in the public domain.
What to test in the Website Design?
While testing a Website, you have to test following points:
- Validation of Markup and CSS
- Broken Link Checking
- Feed Validation
- Cross Browser Compatibility
- Cross Platform Compatibility
- Page Loading Speed
- Mobile Website Testing
- Website Accessibility Testing
In this write up, we’ll discuss the importance of each point mentioned above.
Validation of Markup & CSS
If it comes to writing the Markup & CSS code only, then any one can do this with a lot of tutorials and ready-to-use samples on the World Wide Web. However, only a few know how to customize the code as per requirement and get it validated as a proper markup language. In simple words, you should have proof that written code is in HTML4, HTML5, XHTML1 or XHTML2 and it follow all the guidelines for targeted markup language. W3C Organization maintains the standard and guidelines for coding the Website in these markup languages. It provides the Markup Validation and CSS Validation services. You should test the Website as on these services and make the required changes.
The validated code runs faster in the browsers, get ranked quickly in the search engines and gives a Website an authenticity of genuineness.
Broken Link Checking
The Web designers and developers often have to include the incoming and outgoing links in their code to connect the inner and external pages. There is large probability of typing errors while writing the code, especially the URLs in the links. A broken link checking brings out the referred URLs, which either do not exist or are misspelled. White Hat Search Engine Optimization also banishes the practice of using broken links. Thus a Website Developer should remove all the broken links from the code. For this, you can also make use of W3C Broken Link Checker.
If it is a blog Website then its Feed (RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, Atom 2.0) will be more popular tomorrow than its content. Do you know the reason? Nowadays, the readers would like to read on the latest topics in their email inboxes in form of email, updates in their RSS Readers like Google Reader, MyYahoo, Windows Live etc. In addition, RSS of a blog or Website can be syndicated within the social networking Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Digg etc. and mobile devices. Therefore, you should test the feed of a Website as well. You can make use of W3C Feed Validation.
Cross Browser Compatibility
Do you think that Internet population, across the globe, use only one browser to visit the Websites? Then you are definitely wrong. Open-source evolution has brought new players in the browser market and its share is divided into various Web browsers. The most used browsers in terms of usage are:
- Internet Explorer
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Apple Safari
and so on. In addition, there is more than one version for browsers such as IE has four popular versions IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE9.
To target the global audience, one Website should open as-it-is on all major browsers and their versions in such a browser-competitive world. And this feature of a Website is termed widely as Cross Browser Compatibility. If a Website opens up differently in the different browsers then it may lose visitors and hence lose maximum options of money generation. Hence, testing of a Website design in different browsers is quite necessary. This testing brings out the scenarios where a site look scattered in different browsers. It also points out the loopholes in the code and provides suggestions how to improve the design for cross browser compatibility.
Cross Platform Compatibility
Just like browsers, everyone have different types of machine and operating system. Yes we know that most of us are using Windows to browse the Internet. Still the users of other Operating Systems such as Macintosh, Linux, Unix, Ubuntu, Solaris etc. are increasing day-by-day. The Web designers and developers often include the specialized extensions like jQuery, Java Applets, Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe AIR etc. in order to enhance the Website’s functionality. However, these extensions may or may not work in Macintosh, Ubuntu, Linux or Solaris. Who knows it after all? Thus, Web designers should test the Cross Platform Compatibility. In addition to the automated tools, we suggest to manually open the Website on different machines and browsers.
Testing the Page Loading Speed
In today’s modern world, there are different means to connect with the Internet such as Cable broadband, 2G USB modems, 3G USB Modems, Dial-up Connections, Leased Lines, and Satellite connection. Each connection provides a different speed. In nutshell, the connection speed of Website visitors also varies. Most of them access visits a Website from high-speed connection whereas others tries to open it through 56kbps dial-up connections. You’ll easily say that cable broadband or 3G based connections are much faster than dial-up connections to open any Website in the world. But it is not so, the Website should respond adequately and loads up in a fair manner irrespective of the connection speed.
Yahoo has laid down a set of guidelines to optimize the Website code for faster page loading speed. It also provides two different tools Yahoo YSlow! and YUI Compressor in order to help the Web developers in optimizing the page loading speed. In addition, Google Inc. also offers Google Page Speed Tools & Guidelines. The Web designers should test the Website design & code as per the Website performance guidelines from both Yahoo and Google. This testing brings out the suggestions how you can improve the page loading speed of the Website and let it open easily in a fair manner on varying connection speeds of the visitors.
Mobile Website Testing
The evolution of 2G and 3G has changed the way, we used to communicate and browse the World Wide Web. The largest part of the Internet population arrives at WWW through mobile handsets and tablets rather than desktops, laptops or netbooks. Today, one likes to surf the Web on his/her smartphone, tablet or mid-range classic handsets. The number of Mobile Internet users has surpassed the desktop Internet users. Each big brand like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, CitiBank, Google, Twitter, CNET, and so on has specialized mobile version of their Websites. Let us see other facts of Mobile Web. The Mobile Website Designing is more expensive and consumes more time than desktop versions. In addition, there are different types of mobile devices, mobile Operating Systems and mobile browsers.
If it is a mobile Website then it should be tested on all major mobile devices, famous mobile operating systems and browsers. This will ensure that a Mobile website is opening up correctly on different mobile platforms without any problem.
Website Accessibility Testing
Whether it’s W3C or it’s the United States Government each has specified the guidelines in order to make the Websites Accessible to the disabled Internet users. W3C have laid down WCAG 1.0, WCAG 2.0 and the United States have laid down Section 508 containing guidelines to make the Website accessible. 20 countries including USA have adopted the WCAG guidelines framework as law, click here for more information. Few organizations have faced legal actions for not following these laws and guidelines. Therefore, it becomes quite necessary to make a Website compatible as per WCAG or Section 508. In order to make it compatible, the Web designers have to test the Website using the trusted tools for these Accessibility Guidelines.
Testing is the most prominent part of software development and Website designing. The markup code and the design must be tested on above parameters. Remember only qualified Websites are considered the best, get better ranks and more opportunities of money generation. We’ll invite our readers to provide their suggestions about the testing the Website design and code before launching into public domain.