Achieving a stellar user experience is more complicated than it may look at first glance. From development and design to DevOps, it elevates the work of your entire team. Providing an end product that meets the high standards that our web design agency prides itself on could not be possible without carefully orchestrated workflow and continuous design QA testing.
Table of contents:
- What is a design QA?
- Common challenges in the design QA process
- How and where to store test documentation?
- How to ensure comprehensive testing?
- Why do you need to implement a design QA process?
- Stages of the design quality assurance process
- Our QA process checklist
What is a design QA?
Design quality assurance is a process of reviewing visual designs, micro-interactions, and copywriting by cross-referencing the developed design with your handed-off design to spot any inconsistencies.
It is much more than simply finding bugs. QA process aims to help web developers deliver products within an estimated time detecting issues that may prevent the software from functioning properly and affect the user experience. The number and the order of QA activities may vary for different projects; it depends on the extent of the work and the project aims.
Consistency is principal
Consistency is one of the main features of good product design. As a product goes through different stages of design and development, some discrepancies are bound to emerge. Over time they can pile up and turn into design debt.
Design dept can heavily affect the integrity of the user experience. If not tended to, a huge number of incremental changes can collect over time and provide a disjointed and inconsistent experience. Though it may be laboring and time-consuming to address all of the inconsistencies as soon as they emerge, implementing the design QA process is a big step towards combatting design debt.
Common Challenges in the design QA process
If your company decides to implement a design QA process into your product development, you may face a couple of challenges in the beginning stages. Here are our suggestions on how to overcome them:
How and where to store test documentation?
Since each QA engineer often works on multiple projects at the same time, it is extremely important to properly categorize test data and various other documentation and store it securely. You may find Google Drive to be useful in the beginning. However, as the number of your projects grows, you’ll probably be better off transferring the data to a more dedicated test management tool.
How to ensure comprehensive testing?
As they work on various projects, your QA engineers may miss out on testing certain features. This could enable bugs to slip through cracks and pass into production. While this is human error, you can prevent any future omissions of this kind by creating a checklist with detailed instructions on what to check for, test, and verify.
Why do you need to implement a design QA process?
The quality assurance process serves to ensure that the product is built correctly while eliminating iterations as much as possible. A thoroughly planned QA process needs to define requirements, provide testers with explanations on different features of the product at hand, as well as give a blueprint for how to proceed.
Ideally, your design QA process should support and occur in parallel with development. You will find more success with the end product if your test code is committed to the repository consistently rather than waiting until the app or website is finished just to find out that everything is in disarray.
Stages of the design quality assurance process
It is much more cost-effective to fix bugs that have been detected during testing than attempting to prevent them later on. This is why members of your team involved in the QA process should also be involved in analyzing and defining software requirements. If you provide your quality assurance professionals with consistent, comprehensive, traceable, and clearly marked requirements, it will be much easier for them to design tests tailored to the software they are testing.
Plan the tests
Your QA team should use the information obtained during the previous phase to plan necessary tests. This plan should outline the testing strategy, the scope of testing, the budget, as well as establish deadlines. The QA team should also highlight the required types and levels of testing, methods, tools for bug detection, and dedicate resources and responsibilities to each member of the team.
Design the tests
The next step in the QA process that tests design is for your team to create test cases and checklists according to software requirements. Test cases should include:
- Methods for validating functionalities
- Expected results
To familiarize themselves with the software in question, we recommend that the team start with exploratory testing. Exploratory testing is a method of checking a website or an app without a solid plan in mind. Testers mimic user behavior to discover bugs that visitors may come across.
If the test scope includes an automation strategy, automation testing quality assurance scenarios should also be crafted at this stage.
During the test designing phase, your team should also prepare the execution for the staging environment. This environment needs to be the carbon copy of the production environment that includes hardware specifics, software configurations, network configurations, databases, and other characteristics.
Run tests and report defects
First, the developers perform unit tests. After that, the quality assurance team runs tests at API and UI levels. There are two ways for the quality assurance team to conduct tests:
- manually executing previously designed test cases
- automating test scenarios with the help of automated test frameworks like Selenium, Cypress, or Appium
Run re-tests and regression tests
Each bug that is detected should be submitted and fixed. Once this is done, your team needs to test all the functions again to ensure no anomalies slipped through, followed by regression tests to verify that these corrections didn’t introduce any unintended breaks.
Run release tests
Once re-tests and regression tests are conducted, developers will issue a release notification. A release notification is a list of implemented features, fixed bugs, recurring issues, and limitations. The quality assurance professionals then identify functionalities that were subjected to these changes and craft modified tests to cover the scope of the new build. Each new build is subjected to smoke tests to ensure that it is stable before modified tests are run. Once the testing is finished, the QA team generates a report.
Our QA process checklist
We conclude today’s article with a sneak peek of our QA process checklist so you can get a better picture of how to test your own design.
Note that we prefer using an incognito browser to avoid caching issues. In cases when this is not possible, we use plugins to clear the cache on individual pages. Another commonly overlooked step is checking browser zoom level; ensure it is set to 100%. Here is the checklist:
- Step 1:Compare all the visual elements, content, and images from Figma to match the ones in the staging URL. Check colors and fonts.
- Step 2: Go over all links/buttons to see if they lead where needed. If they don’t, check with the developer or designer on what the intention was.
- Step 3: After finding errors/bugs on the staging site, take a screenshot and name it according to the bug.
- Step 4: Move the screenshots to the Alpha cloud dedicated QA folder for the project at hand.
- Step 5: Once you move all screenshots to the QA folder, use screenshot names as names for checklist steps in the dedicated Trello QA checklist in the Project card.
- Step 6: Repeat the same for mobile versions with both adaptive web design and responsive web design.
- Step 7: Inform the developer and everyone included in the Project card that the checklist has been set in place and provide a URL for the QA folder in the description.
- Step 8: Double-check completed checklists.
If you would like our agency to conduct design QA testing for your website or app, schedule a call with us.