I review and test a fair number of newly launched websites. Whilst these sites have generally undergone testing before they launched, I am often asked to review sites to give them the once over even though they are already live.
Strictly speaking, all the testing should be been done before launch but agencies and freelance web developers are often under pressure to get websites finished and live sometimes prematurely.
This means that the reviews I complete usually do result in a number of issues being found, including some fairly major ones alongside the typos and small layout bugs in different browsers.
Higher priority bug examples include one site where the main navigation was completely broken in a particular major browser and so the site was unusable. On another website a large special offer graphic was still linking to the test site instead of the live site and third website had a member login page with no sign of username and password fields being displayed.
These examples were from reputable websites produced by companies and agencies who turn out good quality websites on a regular basis.
This is aside from the findings of Econsultancy recently where they discovered the newly launched Zara website to be totally broken in Google Chrome.
The bugs were fixed pretty quickly by Zara’s agency but a lot of discussion went around the Internet covering the website’s problems, which I’m sure Zara could have done without.
Pressure To Launch
I completely sympathise with digital agencies, freelance web developers and anyone else who produces websites. They are often under a severe amount of pressure to launch those sites on time and development can go right up to the wire, which squeezes the amount of testing time available.
This sympathy comes from being on the front line myself, managing fairly large website builds and I know what can happen when you are trying to get a website out the door.
The pressure to launch and the time available for testing often result in a website seeing the light of day perhaps a little too early.
Practically every website I’ve reviewed has had several bugs that needed attention with many websites having more severe issues including the examples described above.
Help Is At Hand
For those web professionals that need help either because they do not have the time available or because they need someone outside of the project due to becoming blind to issues then help is available.
A Free Trial
Update – we have temporarily discontinued the free website analysis, whilst we get through a backlog of work. The free trial will be resumed again shortly.
I would like to offer a free trial. This trial means that I will spend 30 minutes testing a website that you have produced and will then send you a list of issues that I find.
Typically, from the reviews that I have completed recently, 30 minutes testing time will result in anything from 2 or 3 bugs up to 12 or 15 issues being found. And, as we have already covered, some of those could be serious and actually be costing the business in question money.
As a final example for what a free trial can throw up, a website I was reviewing today had a contact form, which I filled in and found that the email address that the contact form was sending enquiries to was bouncing, as the email address was invalid. Imagine if this was your website or one of your client’s websites, not getting website enquiries due to the form not being tested.
You can sign up for the free trial below and there is obligation to continue using WebDepend afterwards. Plus, the trial is free and I will not pass your details onto anyone else or divulge any issues that I find to anybody else. There is 1 free trial per organisation.
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I am finding that having a person such as myself with no prior knowledge of the website, who will approach the website from a different angle, and test it thoroughly in an organised, methodical and detailed fashion, will turn up bugs and issues that may otherwise not be found.
Additionally, carrying out this final testing on your behalf, with experience and understanding of what to look out for, allows you to get on with whatever else you need to do – designing, building, project management or discussing the next piece of work with the client.
This testing need not be expensive either, a small straightforward website can be tested in a couple of hours including functional testing, browser compatibility testing and some key usability, accessibility and search engine optimisation points. Large, content managed and ecommerce sites take longer, as they are naturally more complex but we can still get through them fairly quickly and the testing is extremely cost effective when faced with issues that prevent somebody ordering a product or making an enquiry.