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Best Practices in Web Application Testing

With more and more users accessing websites on their smartphones, tablets and phablets, it has become essential for businesses to optimize their web applications for mobile devices. At the same time, each business needs to test the web application thoroughly to ensure that it delivers richer user experience across many browsers and under various conditions. While testing modern web applications, QA professionals have to address challenges related to integration, interoperability, performance, usability and security.

So, QA professionals must follow simple best practices to test the web applications more effectively.

7 Best Practices for Web Application Testing

1) Focus on Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing

Nowadays most businesses opt for responsive web design to make their web applications deliver richer user experience on each device. The new approach requires programmers to make websites responsive by using open web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. At present, older versions of certain web browsers do not support HTML5 fully. So the testers need to check how the app performs on both older and current versions of major web browsers. They can even use specialized automation tools to test the application across many browsers quickly and efficiently.

2) Test Each Important Element of a Web Application

While testing a web application, QA professionals often focus on its features, functionality and performance. But a business must ask the testers to assess each important element of the website in addition to its functionality and performance. For instance, the QA professionals must assess key elements of the web application including cookies, CSS, JavaScript, HTML validity, dead-links, browser refresh, windows resizing, and security. The comprehensive testing will make the website deliver richer user experience over a longer period of time.

3) Assess the Application’s Performance under Various Conditions

In addition to assessing the stability of the website’s functionality, the testers also need to ensure that it does not crash under heavy load. Sometimes minor flaws in its design or code also affect the website’s performance negatively. So the testers must assess the performance of the application under a variety of loads to check how it caters to a large number of visitors. They can even use open source load testing tools to assess the performance of the application under varying load on the server effectively. Likewise, they must perform load testing repeatedly to ensure that the performance of the website is not impacted by the changes made to the code.

4) Scale the Load Tests Incrementally

In addition to assessing the performance of the website under varying loads, it is also important for the QA professionals to scale the load tests incrementally. In the initial stages, they should replicate a comparatively smaller number of distribute user, and increase the number of users gradually. When the number of users increases gradually, it becomes easier for software testers to identify the exact point where the application crashes. However, the QA professional must perform load tests in cycles and analyze the load testing result of each cycle to assess the performance of the website accurately.

5) Don’t Forget to Check HTTP Traffic

While testing a web application, businesses often forget the significance of analyzing the web traffic. When the testers check the HTTP traffic thoroughly from the browsers to the server, it becomes easier for them to assess each request and response precisely. At the same time, the HTTP traffic analysis helps them to test Google Analytics tags and similar third-party tracking tags used by the web page. The testers can further use specialized tools to ensure that each tracking tag includes correct values, and the third-party systems respond to the user requests quickly and properly.

6) Test the Web Services Independently

Nowadays most web applications use a variety of web services. But the business needs to ensure that the web services used by the application are tested independently, and as isolated components. The testers must test the web services before they are integrated with the application. The option will enable them to test the web services more quickly, while exercising better control over their functionality. Also, the testers can send a variety of request to the web browser directly and assess its performance without using a web browser.

7) Pick the Right Parameters for Usability Testing

The business must focus on both usability and user-experience of the web applications to keep the visitors engaged and convert them into customers. However, it is also important for the testers to assess the usability of the applications based on the most appropriate parameters. The business must clearly define the key criterions for performing usability testing. At the same time, the business also needs to pick a number of key criterions like user interface design, speed, performance, readability of content, accessibility and navigability. Likewise, it must ask the testers to determine the amount of time required by a user to perform specific tasks.

A business can always automate its testing efforts to quickly check the look, feel, usability and performance of the web application across many web browsers. However, it also needs to focus on development, maintenance and reusability of automated tests to test the frequently changing front-end of the web application more effectively.

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