A Step-by-Step Guide to Web Application Testing

By Gowtham Raj on February 18th, 2021

You have just developed a new application, and you are super excited to launch it to your awaiting customers and fans.

But wait!

There is no quicker way to damage a developer’s reputation than launch a broken product riddled with bugs. You only have to look at recent gaming news to see this in action.

This is why web testing has to be part of your development plan.

Let’s look at the essential stages of testing a website that you absolutely cannot miss before launch.

Functionality Testing of a Website

The first step in your testing plan needs to be Functionality Testing. This round of tests aims to ensure that the essential website functions are operating as expected.

You should be testing all the links on your site, including internal, external, and anchor links. You can do this through automation if your site is large and has a lot of links.

Test all forms on your website for successes and failures. You should be checking error messages to give users the correct feedback when they fail to complete them correctly.

Look at your HTML and CSS and detect syntax errors in your code. These errors could be stopping search engines from successfully crawling your site. Make sure that you are complying with web standards like W3C.

Also, perform tests on your cookies. Enable and disable cookies in the browser and test how the application responds. Make sure they are encrypted and can expire at the session end.

Recommended tools to use: Selenium, QTP

Usability Testing

Usability testing will look at how easy it is for humans to interact with your system. It can be easy to build an application that runs well on computers, but the application has failed if a user can not interact with it.

Test for how easy it is to learn how to use the application. Can they navigate with ease? Does it make sense to them how to do so? Do the controls work as expected?

Can users understand any instructions that are built into the application? Are the help pages accessible and functional?

This stage may require some external testers as it is difficult to be objective about something you have built or written yourself.

Any content should be checked for readability. Look at the color schemes. Is the text visible and easy to read? Do links make sense? The same goes for any text on buttons. Does it do what a user expects when you click it?

Check your search function. Does it return what a user expects? People often overlook the search results when performing usability testing, but it is a key part of testing a website.

Recommended tools to use: Clixpy, Feedback Army, Chalkmark

Interface Testing

The next test is to look at the server-side interfaces and ensure that communication with any databases is working correctly.

Check server-side compatibility between the application server and the webserver and between the application server and the database server.

Are all errors being handled correctly? Is the application server returning the right error messages to the user? How are user interrupts handled between the interfaces?

Ensure all these interfaces respond as expected and can handle any unexpected resets before moving on with your testing plan.

Recommended tools to use: Ranorex, Alertfox

Compatibility Testing

These tests ensure that your application works across a variety of platforms and devices.

You need to test your web application on different browsers. If you have built your application in one browser, it may not behave the same in another. Test your scripts are working as expected, and security is not compromised.

You should check not only across different browser applications but across versions as well. People do not update their software as often as developers would like.

Compatability testing also needs to look at how your application reacts to different operating systems. Check how the application displays and functions. Check to see how different systems display colors or text.

Mobile testing is also an essential part of this stage. Mobile devices make up over half the market for web users, so your application must work across various devices.

Check how your application displays on different sized screens in both portrait and landscape modes. Check if the web controls are functioning. Are forms aligned as expected?

If your application allows a user to print, you should also check the printer options as part of your website test.

Recommended tools to use: LamdaTest, Experitest, Netmechanic

Performance Testing

Testing a website properly means putting it under a lot of stress. You want your website to be a success and hope that lots of people will use it. So, you need to be prepared for success.

You will need to test for two things: Stress and Load.

Web load testing will look at how many users your application can on the same page simultaneously. How many users can your application handle before it fails?

You will need to simulate a heavy load on your database and lots of user requests. Do individual pages handle it better than others? Can your application handle a large but expected surge of users?

Load testing will identify weaknesses in your server infrastructure as well as your application.

Web stress testing, on the other hand, is about pushing your application to breaking point. 

Test forms and signups. How many times can you click something before it causes an error? How much data can your form really handle? When it crashes, how does your application handle the crash?

Load testing is about testing the peaks, and stress testing about continuous pressure.

Recommended tools to use: WebLOAD, LoadNinja, LoadRunner

Security Testing

Finally, you a web test need to look at security. How secure is your application?

Can you bypass any security protocols in the URL bar? Can you access internal pages without a login?

Check whether your captcha is working correctly. Make sure all breach attempts are being logged and reported.

Identify the vulnerabilities before launch and plug the holes.

Recommended tools to use: ImmnuiWeb, Vega, Wapiti

Web Testing is an Essential Process

It may seem like a long list of additional activities to add to your development plan, but web testing is essential.

It would be best to catch as many problems before launch rather than lose credibility in the eyes of your users by releasing a shoddy product.

Want help with developing a web application? Please have a look at our services page for more information about how we can help you.

By Gowtham Raj

February 18th, 2021