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Website Quality Assurance: 6 Steps to Respond Like a Pro Despite our best efforts, sometimes a "bug" on your website will appear during the development cycle or after your website launches.

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Posted by nick on - Read

Despite our best efforts, sometimes a "bug" on your website will appear during the development cycle or after your website launches. It is not a glamorous part of the industry or one that is frequently talked about, but website quality assurance issues happen. If you notice any issue with your website, we encourage you to respond vs. react and follow the steps below to get any "bug" resolved faster.

As we know, real bugs (the crawly kind) come in all different shapes and sizes. Their look and speed catch us off guard and especially if they are on the bathroom ceiling. Most people's first instinct is to probably squish them as fast as possible. But what about putting them back outside. If we take a step back, what kind of bug was it? Where was it found? Is there an open window nearby? These are all good questions to provide answers about how it got there. The difference between these examples one is a reaction and the other is a response.

When we call 911 we are not calling "first reactioners" to come to our house and panic with us that there is a fire, we call first responders. What do first responders do? They ask good questions, understand the situation at hand and solve the problem. Like real bugs, we want to approach "website bugs" with an understanding and response. These "website bugs" could be anything from your website's contact form isn't submitting, something isn't loading fully, or you're not ranking for a particular keyword phrase. By following these steps, you will help ease the panic and be able to quickly ease the problem.

Below you will find a short list of steps to help you become a website first responder:

1) Identify: Someone in your organization reported the issue. Ask them questions about what the issue is and have them explain it in detail. Get a good understanding of the issue at hand.

2) Verify: Ask the original reporter to reproduce the behavior. Ask them if there is a pattern to the behavior.

  • Does it only happen on their computer?
  • What about another computer?
  • What web browser and version are they using?
  • Did they try a different web browser?
  • When did it happen?
  • Has it happened again?

3) Reproduce: Ask other (relevant) people in your organization about the reported behavior. Don’t forget to include yourself here.

  • Can they reproduce it?
  • Have they encountered it before?
  • If they did, how did they get around it? 

4) Change: Try changing the steps to reproduce the behavior. This can be the order of the steps or the data in each step!

  • Is there another angle to test from in a different part of the system?
  • What happens when you change certain steps?
  • Do you get different results?
  • Do other people get different results?

5) Review: Aggregate the results from steps 1-4 and hypothesize on what is going on. Make sure to include the data you entered in your submission. Screenshots are a great way to capture both the behavior and data entered.

Example:

  • Before steps 1-4: “Our users cannot use the search box to find people’s names."
  • After steps 1-4: “ Internet Explorer 11 users cannot search last names with apostrophes. Example: O’Malley. If they use Chrome or Firefox they do not encounter the issue.”

6) Evaluate: How does this behavior impact your business operations? Are there workarounds?

The longest delays in getting website quality assurance issues fixed tend to be when it gets stuck in the phase of "gathering more information." If the “more information” stage can be reduced or eliminated, the faster a response and resolution can be made. And the sooner you will get back to your fully-functional, lead-generating website.

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