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Testing of Web Applications

The quality of a web application can be pretty evident right from the onset (from the beginning of testing). Some of the key things to check for, and that are visible right in the beginning are:
– Slow response time,
– Problems with the accuracy of information,
– Bad design / workflow problems or not having ease of use will compel the user
to click to a competitor’s site
Problems such as these that are easily visible directly translate into loss of users, declining or stagnant sales and a very poor image of the company.

These are outcomes that companies seek to avoid at any costs, and that is why there is the need for a strong QE effort. As a part of this, the following techniques can be used to do a more thorough checking:
1. Good Functionality testing – This sort of testing makes sure that the features that are visible to a user and affect interactions are working properly and as desired.
Some of these objects in a WebApp include: User enterable forms, Searches and their results, Pop-up windows (most users hate them because of their heritage), shopping carts.

2. Usability testing – Many users have a low tolerance for anything that is difficult to use, making having a usability testing program a critical part of the testing of any WebApp. You need to ensure that a user’s first impression is very important; what makes this more complex is that now-a-days applications have become complicated and cluttered with an increasing number of features.

The main steps involved in usability testing are:
– Identify the purpose of WebApp.
– Identify the intended users.
– Define the tests, review them for thoroughness and conduct usability testing.
– Collect information through various mechanisms.
– Carry out an analysis of the acquired information.
– Make the necessary changes based on the acquired information.

3. Navigation testing – Navigation testing makes sure that all navigation syntax and semantics are exercised to uncover any navigation errors. It should not happen that a user clicks on a navigation aid and then either reaches a dead end or goes off into a wrong direction.

4. Forms testing – WebApps that use forms requires tests to ensure that each field is working properly (including the validations such as not allowing users to enter more than a certain amount of text, fields not being left blank, etc) and that the form posts all the data as intended by the designer.

5. Content testing – Content is evaluated at both a syntactic and semantic level.At the syntactic level, spelling, punctuation, and grammar are assessed. At semantic level, correctness, consistency, and lack of ambiguity are all assessed. It creates a very bad impression if the user finds spelling mistakes (user assumes that there must be something wrong if the company put wrong spellings or wrong grammar and did not find it till now, or the company does not care that there are problems on the site)

6. Compatibility testing – This testing is done by executing the webApp under every browser/ platform combination to ensure that the web applications are working properly under different environments. This sort of testing is easier said than done, since the number of browsers and operating systems in the market are huge.

7. Performance testing – This testing evaluates the system performance under normal and heavy usage. An application that takes long to respond may frustrate the user which could result to move to a competitor’s site. This testing ensures that the website server responds to browser requests within defined parameters. The system should work perfectly and speedily under normal expected usage, and if possible, should be handle some amount of extra load.

8. Load testing – The purpose of this testing is to present real world experiences, typically by generating many users simultaneously accessing the web application. Typically, companies use automated test tools to increase the ability to conduct
a valid load test as it emulates thousand of users by sending requests simultaneously to the application. Critical, as failure under heavy loads does not convey a good impression, and may make the system susceptible to attacks by recreating heavy loads.

9. Security testing – Security is one of the primary concerns when communicating and conducting businesses over internet. One break-in can spoil the reputation of a company and lead to loss of business, stealing of user data, and other such cases with horrible consequences. Finding the vulnerabilities in an application that could grant an unauthorized user to access the system is important. Equally important is being able to track all access to the system, and do a frequent scan of these accesses.

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