9 11, 2015

Aggressive Timelines – The Cohesion of Web Design, Web Development, and Testing

By | 2017-06-16T12:20:09+00:00 November 9th, 2015|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , |

Where do you start on the importance of the synergy between design, development, and testing when faced with an aggressive timeline when their importance has been written about for years? A good place to start is to discuss the real life impacts of testing on E-Commerce and site redesign projects. Beacon recently completed an e-commerce upgrade and site redesign for a local client. While challenging, the project was worthwhile for the client, and a learning experience for those involved as to the benefits of effective design, coding, and testing. Our client had requested a very aggressive design software testingtimeline to get their new site and upgraded e-commerce engine into production. Beacon accommodated that request and our client was rewarded with a robust design with clean lines, a strong e-commerce engine in AspDotNetStorefront 9.5, and a responsive web presence to allow them to focus on selling their products and using their new web/commerce engine to further that pursuit. Beacon was able to accomplish this goal in a short period by compressing design, development, and testing without losing our focus on quality and the end goal. Being constantly quality focused throughout the software development life cycle pays its own dividends. As the old saying goes, a quality effort produces quality results.

Design

Beacon makes it a point to generate strong designs that fit our clients’ needs and that follow their organizational personalities. Extensive work is put into the designs and includes feedback from Beacon developers and clients throughout the process to produce a synergistic site that is functional, adaptable, and attractive. Beacon designs for style and functionality, but also tries to match the client’s organizational personality. Beacon successfully delivered a project like this very recently. The client was using a design that had been in existence for five+ years without change and sought to upgrade their presence. Beacon was able to create a design that met or exceeded their expectations and that brought them into the era of responsive web presence.

Development Developers should be highly focused on producing quality code. It should almost be a competition of quality to ensure that a developer’s code was better than the time before, or better than their office neighbor. This shows in the results of code releases. Before our testers are given the opportunity to test applications or site design modifications, our developers have already exhaustively tested their own work. I understand that is supposed to be the norm but many software development organizations do not approach their work in that manner. As a result of that approach, we are able to eliminate a large portion of our bugs before our own internal testers touch the product. The benefit to the client is quicker time to production and reduced downstream error rates.

Software Testing

Following the testing by the developers, the code and site were released to our testers to put the site through its paces. The site was extensively tested for desktop, mobile, and handheld responsive traits. The design itself was robust, and handled the testing very well with very few hiccups. The e-commerce engine, AspDotNetStorefront 9.5, was also very strong, and its new responsive skin features were easy to implement and adapt. As a result, Beacon was able to employ a very aggressive timeline for development, and deliver a quality product to the client.

 

Successful cohesion of design, development, and testing. The siren song of software development and a goal that is attainable. As an aside, for further more in-depth reading on AspDotNetStoreftont 9.5, I would suggest this article regarding the new release of aspdotnet storefront 9.5.

24 11, 2010

Pre-launch testing

By | 2016-11-18T14:25:01+00:00 November 24th, 2010|Categories: Cascade CMS|Tags: , , |

I’ve spent the last two weeks system testing a large ecommerce site that we are about to launch.  Testing is a vitally important phase of a project here at Beacon and something we don’t take at all lightly!  We usually build a minimum oftwo weeks into the time line for internal testing and two weeks for client testing, if the project plan can possibly accommodate it.

Don’t forget the following steps when doing your own site testing:

  • Test in multiple browsers— It is not good enough to view the site in the browser that you, or your developers, most prefer.  You MUST view the site as your customers will see it, and unfortunately different browsers (and versions of browsers!!) can produce massively different results.  Based on current browser statistics, Beacon currently system tests the entire site in Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 2, Firefox 3, Opera and Safari.  Though Beacon tests the site with actual installs of each browser on separate computers, you can also consider using a browser emulator like Spoon.net, though be aware that the simulations aren’t always “perfect”.  For even more info on cross-browser compliance testing, please see my co-worker’s blog on the subject.
  • Test the site without Flash enabled— If your site uses Flash animation at all, you need to test how it will function without that plug-in enabled.  All Flash players should display a static image and warning to download Flash if it is disabled or an older version.
  • Test the site without JavaScript enabled— If JavaScript is required for your site to function correctly (make sure search engine bots will still be able to crawl it!), at least inform the visitor with a message if the browser detects that it is disabled.  javascript message
  • Test the print view of the site— It is always helpful to the visitor that wants to print a page of your site, if you provide them with a “print-friendly” view that doesn’t waste a lot of ink and paper on navigation, background images, etc. that they won’t need in a printed copy.
  • Make sure the logo in the site-wide header links to the home page– This has become an industry standard but is sometimes forgotten
  • Check for accessibility (minimally alt tags on all images) and 508 compliance, if required– Not all sites require these standards, but don’t abandon visitors that use non-traditional methods of browsing the web (like screen-readers)!  Use http://www.w3.org/WAI/ and http://www.section508.gov/ as guides.
  • Check to see if the order of tab entry in forms makes sense— Not all customers will use their mouse to click through a form.  Make sure that if they choose to use the “tab” key to navigate from field to field, that the order makes sense.
  • Make sure all external links and PDF files open in a new browser window– Don’t you hate it when you finally find the info you need on a site in a PDF and when you are done reading it and close, the site disappears?  Prevent this by always opening links to other sites and internal PDF files in a new browser window so that your site stays open in the background.

With these tips and, most importantly, devoting time and effort to testing, I hope that you will have a very successful site launch!

-Annette