At Ascedia, we believe that everyone plays a part in contributing to the quality of our projects. From creative and development to sales and account services, all team members are involved in making sure our clients receive the highest quality product, and we have really high standards. But we also have a dedicated Quality Assurance team that is focused on testing our websites. Most people assume that we are only involved once the site is ready to go live, completing final testing to make sure everything works before it’s released to the public. Not the case! Here’s how we help throughout the design and development process.
During the early stages of project planning, our team helps ask the right questions. Because we offer a different perspective on website work, we can suggest helpful tweaks to site features or call out potential red flags in the project. We also contribute to the statement of work and make adjustments to estimates based on QA effort and analytics. I’ve also found that the project runs more smoothly if the entire team works together early on to establish a process around defect reporting and resolution.
By getting involved at the start of a project, we can understand the overall requirements and make accurate estimates about the actual potential effort required to thoroughly test a site to prevent overages in hours – and budget – down the line. The earlier a defect is found, the cheaper it is to address: the cost to fix a defect post-release is 60 times more expensive than it is to fix it in the requirements phase of the project.
COMPLETE USER STORIES
An agile development process breaks the project into smaller chunks, or sprints. These sprints contain user stories that clearly define what we are building and how it will work. The QA team contributes to these user stories by expanding them into more detailed test cases that include negative scenarios. We help make sure that all angles are considered.
We tend to think differently and see things others don’t. When you spend all day trying to break things rather than trying to fix them, you develop a new outlook on user experience. Our job requires us to think of all scenarios. Instead of just the basic tasks and a single approach to using the website, we consider all of the different ways a user could approach a website. What are all of the negative things that could happen? For example, if a user is required to enter their contact information into a form, what happens if they enter invalid information, like letters in the phone number field? What happens if they click the Submit button multiple times?
Throughout the testing process, we run through our test cases and work with other teams to ensure everything is working as expected. The QA team works closely with the creative and development teams to validate display and functionality. We also do load/stress testing to make sure the website can handle a high volume of traffic.
Another big part of our job is testing against different platforms. Again, we take a different perspective when it comes to which versions and devices to test. We have to think ahead to new technology instead of focusing solely on what exists today. My team reviews analytics to help predict operating system and device usage based on today’s site traffic. This not only helps us determine where to focus our testing, but it also helps our project team make decisions about where to invest development dollars.
While Quality Assurance definitely involves “breaking stuff” at certain points in the development process, in the end we help build high-quality, highly functional websites for our clients.