Keep Testing To Ensure a Good Peak Season

September 14, 2016

Image source: http://mobilelabsinc.com/solutions/mobile-website-testing/manual-mobile-website-testing/ 

By, Roland Campbell, Director of Solution Engineering

Summer’s over, Fall is here and preparations for the Holiday Season are shifting into high gear. Chances are your Peak promotions are designed and your team may already be at the keyboards developing. Aside from developing a great promotion strategy, effective testing is key to ensuring a successful Peak season.

Start off with well-designed test cases that will ensure your UX and UI is implemented the way it was supposed to be. Keep your test cases up to date as things change. Take those test cases and automate them. Automated tests allow you to do smoke tests (quick tests to make sure a release isn’t a disaster) or regression tests (full tests of most of the site) at the push of a button.

Automation will allow your manual testers to spend more time doing real-world style testing and will give your developers a way to test new stuff right away, further reducing the load on your QA staff.  You can also take that automation and use it to test the site for real-world performance during your peak period when you expect a lot more traffic. 

Testing strategies need to address problems of scale.  By measuring actual web performance over time from remote locations, you will be able to see real-time performance and get early warning of scale problems.  By using the same tool for all your testing, you will have a great baseline to start from.

An often-overlooked aspect of testing is accessibility testing. It is important to ensure that all users can access your products/services online, and peak shopping seasons are no exception.  While your team is developing the Holiday promotion you should do a fast but comprehensive accessibility audit to find out how hard it is for disabled users to navigate your website overall. The audit will test your UI for problems with accessibility and a good audit will provide you with suggestions on how to fix the problem. Then you can make sure that your Peak promotion doesn’t suffer from the same accessibility issues.

Don’t believe claims that an automated tool can find all accessibility problems. Fundamentally, your site has to be tested by real users with disabilities. Automated tools can find the easy problems to find, like missing alternate text on images. But it can’t find keyboard traps or unannounced focus changes.  Remember, the purpose of addressing accessibility is not only to meet a standard, but rather to make the site usable for all consumers, and reduce your risk of getting sued for discrimination by groups representing users with disabilities.

Every company doing business online experience traffic and shopping peaks, albeit at different times of the year. The promotions play out online across multiple screens and devices. Being ready to have a successful Peak means paying close attention to the UX and UI of your promotions and offers, as well as testing the impact of changes across all the stages of the digital customer journey.  Once you have a good promotional plan in hand, don’t leave money on the table by excluding users using assistive technologies and readers from accessing your products and services. A complete testing plan and comprehensive implementation can make sure that your next peak season produces nothing but smiles.

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