what is website functionality testing?
Functionality testing means making sure that everything on your site works correctly, both from a front-end user perspective and in terms of back-end administration and system integration.
why is testing functionality important?
If your website isn’t functioning correctly, you may be losing users who give up when they encounter a link that doesn’t go anywhere, a form that won’t submit or a payment system that doesn’t work. Alternatively, even if everything is functioning for users, data may not always be effectively transferred into your inbox or database, such that you miss out on the opportunity to record important information, collect payments and/or engage with users.
how can you test your site’s functionality?
We recommend starting with Nibbler, a great free tool which tests your site and provides a comprehensive report scoring overall performance. It also provides more detailed breakdowns in terms of accessibility, marketing, user experience and technology, with suggestions for the most important areas you should improve.
These are our top five recommendations for testing site functionality:
- Webforms – make sure that any contact/signup forms are working correctly. This means checking that fields are displaying effectively, users are able to type in their information, address finders are working, and error messages are coming up when mandatory fields are not completed. Also make sure that data is being submitted to a live database or email address and not getting lost in cyberspace. It’s advisable to make forms as simple as possible by eliminating unnecessary fields, and give users clear information about what will happen when they submit their data, as this will encourage form completion.
- Links – regularly check links across your website, including those directing to internal pages, those going to external websites and any buttons/links within your site menu or design. Make sure to set up redirects for any pages that you delete or change the URL for, and have a 404 error page to encourage users to stay on your site even if they encounter a broken link. Find out more on our broken links blog.
- Search boxes – check that your search box is working and displaying relevant results for users. If it’s not finding all of the relevant pages on your site, listing things in an illogical order or not showing what each search result relates to, you may need to update your search box design or add a Google search box instead.
- Calls to action – does your site have a clear message for users? A clear call to action helps guide users as to what they should do when on your website, whether that’s to read articles/information, purchase your product, sign-up to your mailing list or make a donation. Check whether your site conveys what you want users to do with an easily clickable message and/or button.
- Payment processes – make sure that users can make payments or donations on your site in a quick and simple process to avoid them dropping out at the checkout stage. Ideally users should be able to do this without providing too much personal information or having to login. Ensure that any costs (including additional postage/admin fees) are clearly explained, that users have a choice of payment methods, and that error messages come up when card information is incomplete. Also double check that payments are made securely and that your security certificate is displayed.
Finally, don’t forget to check everything both on desktop and mobile/tablet as well as across different browsers.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to leave website functionality testing to the experts, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.