How to QA Your Web App

ionicons-v5-kBy TyJune 3rd, 2022

From enterprise applications to startup apps, it’s crucial to QA (Quality Assurance) test your web app before release to avoid potential issues. QA testing can help identify potential problems so they can be fixed before the app goes live. Here are three things to keep in mind when QAing your web app:

  1. Have a testing strategy.
    A strategy includes having clear and concise test methods and cases and an estimated time frame for when you expect the testing to be completed. Trying to do too much at once will only lead to frustration and errors.

  2. Find someone willing to be your "guinea pig" and test out the application before going live with it. User acceptance testing will help you identify any potential issues and fix them before they cause problems for actual users.

  3. Implement sufficient logging. Keep an eye on your logs once the application is live. By monitoring the logs, you can quickly identify any new issues and address them accordingly.

You can help ensure a smooth QA process and a successful web app launch by following these tips:

QA Testing Strategy

Your testing strategy should start early in the development process and continue throughout the product's life cycle. QA should be involved in every stage of development, implementation, testing, and deployment.

Many different types of QA testing can be performed on a web application. Standard QA tests include functional, usability, performance, and security testing.

Functional testing is used to ensure that the web application's functionality meets the requirements. Functional tests can be manual or automated, though in today’s software development landscape, we highly recommend automated testing

Usability testing ensures that users can navigate the web application and use its features quickly and effectively, without encountering confusion. Usability tests can be conducted with real users or with simulated users.

Performance testing ensures that the web application responds quickly and efficiently to user requests. Performance tests can be conducted manually or using automated tools.

Security testing ensures that the web application is secure from attack. Security tests can be conducted manually or using automated tools.

Functional testing

Functional testing is essential to the development of any web application. When code bases become large, there is high potential for what is known as “regression.”

There are different layers of functional testing, and your testing strategy should include a plan for avoiding regression in each layer.

Unit Testing

This is the most basic layer of functional testing. Unit testing focuses on individual code units, such as classes and methods. It is used to ensure that each unit works as expected.

Integration Testing

The next layer of functional testing is integration testing. This type of testing focuses on how different code units work together, for example, how your server uses classes and methods to respond to requests Integration testing is commonly used to avoid regression in business logic, and is used to ensure that this logical layer of the web app works as expected.

Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing is typically your top layer of functional testing. This type of testing focuses on whether or not the web app meets the requirements set forth by the client or stakeholders. An example of acceptance testing would be using Cypress to automatically test that buttons, text, and other elements are in the appropriate place on the screen at different points in the user experience.

To QA your web app, you will need to create test cases that cover all of the app's functionality. These test cases should be detailed and specific. They should also be reproducible to be rerun in the future if necessary. Ideally, these tests would be part of an automated test suite.

Once you have created your test cases, you will need to run them and check the results. If any of the tests fail, you will need to investigate and fix the issue. Once all of the tests pass, your web app is ready for launch!

Usability Testing

Usability testing is a critical component of any good testing strategy. Usability testing ensures that your app is easy to navigate and use for your end users, and that you avoid User Interface or User Experience regression as your app evolves over time.

Experience Quality Testing

When developing your testing strategy, you want to be sure to include a method for real users (actual people), to use and criticize your application. This will help you ensure that you are building quality experiences that real people enjoy using. There are a couple of great tools out there for helping with this:

Regression Testing User Experiences

Another key component of Usability Testing is ensuring that your user experience doesn’t change unintentionally. Imagine if an engineer accidentally commented out a button from a screen, then that new code was deployed. Your users would definitely have poor experience.

Fortunately, there are some great tools for automatically ensuring this kind of regression error doesn’t happen.

Performance Testing

The Performance Testing component of your testing strategy will largely depend on the audience of your web or mobile app. If your app is an internal tool, or being released to a very small audience, your Performance testing strategy may not need to be super rigorous. However, if you plan to release your app publicly (either nationally or globally), you’ll want to test it for performance issues.

Server Performance

If you’re building an application nowadays, more than likely your application stack will include a server. If this server is going to accept public or semi-public (authenticated user) traffic, it needs to be load tested. Load testing helps ensure that your server can withstand globally scaled traffic, as well as withstanding DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks gracefully.

Client Performance

Modern frameworks like React typically come with good performance measurement tools, like react-addons-perf to help your developers measure the render performance of the screens and components they build.

You’ll want your development team to be familiar with these tools, and understand how to use them to measure the performance of your client side applications.

For native iOS and Android mobile applications, you will want your developers to review screens and components to ensure that they are running at 60FPS, especially when your app involves animations.

Running at a lower frame rate will make your app feel choppy or clunky to your users, which is not a good User Experience.

Security Testing

Whether your app is private or public, you’re going to need to include security testing in your overall testing strategy.

In today’s internet, malicious users abound, and hackers have become very good at getting private data in insecure applications.

When your developers are choosing from libraries to integrate into your app, they need to be aware of the types of common hacker attacks (like SQL injection), and choose battle tested libraries that prevent these types of attacks.

Additionally, depending on the regulatory requirements of your application (HIPAA, etc), you will likely want to engage a third party that specializes in that type of regulatory compliance for businesses.

In Summary

No matter the testing approach you take for your web app, all good software requires a comprehensive testing strategy that includes Functional, Usability, Performance, and Security testing.

Investing the time and effort in developing a testing strategy for your web or mobile application will save you time, angry users, and ultimately money, in the long run. When establishing your app development team, it’s crucial that your software developers understand this, and can contribute to developing a solid app testing strategy.

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