How Quality Assurance is Crucial for Protecting Your UX

December 28, 2021
Genevieve Nelson

While design and development usually take the spotlight, quality assurance plays a large role in digital success. Learn how QA best practices and a well-tested website can benefit your online experience near- and long-term.

UX & Design

When we sit down with clients to review the scope of a project, they often ask us: "Do we really need this much scope for quality assurance?" And without hesitation, our team always answers “yes”.

It is easy to get caught up in creative design and innovative functionality, but quality assurance (QA) is a critical step in fact checking our design and development work. This ensures every website or application is a functional, sustainable product. QA is a proactive process focused on preventing defects before a user finds them and can save an organization’s reputation, time, and money.

Unlike other organizations who rely on UX or development teams for QA support, C2 has a dedicated Quality team. This ensures that every website gets specialized attention to produce a quality experience.

What is quality assurance in web development?

QA is completed independently of the design and development process and is performed to test the functionality of a digital product. The QA process serves as a filter for design issues and development errors while testing a digital product’s user interface and overall experience.

C2’s Quality team uses several testing methods to ensure that the client’s solution will function as expected after launch:

  • Functionality testing: checking that all UX/UI functionality is there and working as it is expected to for templates, blocks, properties, add-on products, integrations, and connectors.
  • Visual design testing: checking if the website or app design is what the client wanted and expected it to be.
  • Cross-browser/device testing: using responsive testing tools to check that the site is compatible across various browsers and different desktop and mobile devices.
  • Performance testing: checking to ensure the site or app loads quickly and efficiently with performance testing tools.
  • Accessibility testing: Offered at an additional cost, we can help customers access your website even easier by ensuring that the website or app meets WCAG AA guidelines and is accessible to users via keyboard and other assistive technologies.
  • User acceptance testing (UAT): allowing client content editors to create content, such as landing pages, blog posts, and more, using normal workflows. UAT happens after client training.

Why is quality assurance important?

It is impossible to develop and design a website that will work flawlessly without a single error (though we give it our best effort). To deliver a high-quality product consistently, QA standards must be in place. Sticking to guidelines reveals hidden bugs that can impact usability, functionality, and performance.

Besides producing a well-tested digital product, QA can help business benefit from:

  • Saving time: While you can expect added time upfront to define specifications, it takes far longer to fix errors later. Pay once to do it right, rather than pay twice to fix it.
  • Saving money: Clients often question the cost of QA, but again, it saves money in the long run. Paying to prevent problems will always be cheaper than paying to retest, replace, or fix them after they have launched.
  • Boosting client and customer confidence: Rushing a digital product out the door without QA does more harm than good. If a customer (or even your internal web team) has issues using it, they won't want to come back or continue to use it. QA is just one way of letting customers know you care about them and their experience with your brand.
  • Ensuring clear expectations: A proven QA process sets clear expectations and standards from the start. There's less room for error or misunderstandings of the final product when everyone knows what it's expected to do.
  • Improving SEO performance: With the growing expectations of today’s modern web users, search engines like Google have doubled down on UX with their ‘Page Experience Update’ to ensure search results show the most relevant and best experiences first.

C2’s quality assurance process

We’ve spent years honing a proven process that works for not only our team, but our clients as well. We use a combination of automated and manual testing to ensure every aspect is accounted for. While QA is assumed to take place after a solution is built, we are involved from beginning to end.

Step 1: Align

Kicking off in the Discovery phase, QA works with the UX team to align and understand how the solution is expected to function and perform. We look to understand both business and user needs to ensure both sides of the experience are fully considered.

Step 2: Define

QA further works with UX to define specifications (specs) of the solution. Once specs are established, they are handed off to Development so they can begin developing the solution. Meanwhile, QA moves forward defining test plans for functionality, design, cross-browser, performance, and accessibility testing.

Step 3: Execute

Once the solution nears completion, QA begins testing against each page and module type and submits tickets for any bugs to be remediated by developers. We think of it as peer review, diligently inspecting that the solution was built and functions the way it was intended to. We use TestPad, a tool for creating test plans, that makes it easy for us to show real-time progress with clients.

Step 4: Empower

Near end of testing, QA creates custom client training based on the solution’s anatomy, including out-of-the-box (OOTB) functionality, fundamental features, and best practice workflows. QA trains client web teams over several sessions on how to create content, blocks, and templates. This ensures client teams are empowered with the proper training and documentation to manage the new website once it goes live.

Step 5: Optimize

After training, we enter user acceptance testing (UAT), where we instruct client teams on how to test functionality and ensure every click works the way it was expected. If bugs arise, client teams submit tickets for C2 to review, where we check to see if the issue can be reproduced, needs to be enhanced, or further training is needed.

Once the website or application goes live, we offer extended, post-launch support to ensure client teams adequately adopt the new solution and can make changes as business and user needs evolve.

Quality assurance is one of the most undervalued and potentially impacted roles within the software development process. Most people only think of quality assurance testing at the launch of a new website or app. Realistically, organizations should be continuously running their digital products through QA testing. Over time, a website will start developing issues as more content is created, new modules and templates are added, and search engine algorithms change.

By incorporating quality assurance into your web development and digital creation processes, you can ensure that your website or app delivers excellent usability, functionality, and performance. Having a regular testing cadence will allow you to quickly find and correct any issues as they arise long before they become a problem for users, clients, and search engines.

Should you need help introducing or improving your organization’s quality assurance best practices, C2’s Quality team is a great resource for customized training, robust documentation, performance and accessibility audits, and more. Connect with us if you could use some help, and we'll be in touch.