7 steps for DIY web testing

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Web application testing is a vital step for any business that uses the internet for e-commerce, online ticketing, and even some communication options. This is doubly true if you work in a regulated field.

And trust us. Web apps are everywhere.

If your website includes any kind of custom web app—from a storefront to a basic contact form—then you absolutely need to include web app testing in your development process. The level of detail you’ll need changes with the complexity of your web app, but the same thing is true at all levels.

Make sure your web apps work before you make them publicly available.

Why web app testing matters

Web app testing is important because it has a huge effect on your internal efficiency, customer experience, data integrity and cybersecurity. If your web applications don’t work, your staff will have to put in extra time shifting through the mess.

And that extra time? Customers will feel it, as well as frustration over the shaky experience of trying to use your web app. Plus, data integrity can all to often be compromised in the process.

And as if all that weren’t enough, web apps can expose you to dangerous cybersecurity risks. Remember the Equifax data breach back in 2017? That was due to a flaw in one of their web applications. Web app testing is an important factor in lowering your overall cybersecurity risk.

“100% of web apps have at least one security vulnerability.” – TechRepublic

How to do your own web apps testing

The absolute best way to do web app testing is to enlist the help of a pro. But if you don’t have the IT budget for that and your web application is relatively simple, you can take on the most critical parts of web app testing all on your own.

Just remember, the more thorough you are, the better the chances your web app testing will actually protect you.

1. Test for functionality

Start at the most basic level. Does the web app appear to do what it’s designed to do in test scenarios?

If your web app is a ticketing system, for example, can you log in, create a ticket, access the ticket, update the ticket, and close the ticket as expected? This isn’t a deep-dive test. You’re just seeing if things appear to work at the most basic level.

2. Test for usability

Next, you’ll want to give some attention to the UI (user interface). Can a new user easily navigate their way through your web app? Or is there an important option that’s buried in an obscure menu that no one would intuitively think to check?

A bad user experience will make a web app basically useless.

3. Test the interface

The UI is just the face of your web application. The real work is done on the backend on a web server. So you need to check to make sure the UI is communicating with the web server the way it should.

This includes ensuring that an interruption (from the user or on the web server side) doesn’t derail all functionality.

4. Test the database

Think of this as the deep-dive aspect of step 3. Really examine the data in the database on the server-side and make sure it’s what you expect it to be based on your test scenarios.

Just one minor flaw in the data could wreck the functionality for your entire web app.

5. Test the compatibility

You know the browser you like to use, but there are still several well-used options out there. You need to test your web app on all of them. Be sure to include Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge at a bare minimum.

Also test your web on mobile devices to make sure it works there, too.

6. Test the performance

Okay, so your web app works when you’re being nice to it. What happens if you hit it with a lot of traffic all at once. You need to know.

Get a large group of testers and instruct them to hit your web app with everything they’ve got for a while. See if it maintains performance when there’s high demand.

7. Test the cybersecurity

Finally, no web app testing is complete without some consideration for security. Be sure that unauthorized users (like your customers) don’t have access to menus or data they shouldn’t have access to. Also, check to see that users are logged out after a period of inactivity.

After all, the data housed and accessed by your web app is valuable. Cybercriminals will want it if they can get their hands on it.

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