Quality assurance for your web project: stages, methods, & practices
The quality of your website speaks volumes to your potential customers. So when discussing web development, you will definitely hear about quality assurance as an indispensable part. Without quality assurance, you cannot dream of website success and customer satisfaction. In this post, we review what quality assurance is, how a QA works, and what key stages and methods there are in quality assurance.
What is quality assurance (QA) in web development?
Quality assurance is a set of activities to ensure that a website meets the specified requirements, the agreed-upon standards and procedures, and the best practices. It checks the website for any errors, weaknesses, and potential points of failure before it goes live, or becomes available to real users. Another popular and less official name for quality assurance is QA testing.
Quality assurance is meant to monitor and improve the whole development process to make sure any problems are found and fixed in time. The earlier bugs are found, the cheaper it is to fix them, and the less impact they have on your business, so the huge role QA plays in web development is hard to overestimate.
Quality assurance VS quality control: what's the difference?
You may hear these two terms — quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) — used interchangeably. They are quite similar in practice and are very closely related. However, if you dig deeper into the terminology, there is a key difference between them:
- Quality assurance (QA) is focused on preventing defects. It is pro-active and ensures that the right approaches, methods, and techniques are developed for the correct project implementation.
- Quality control (QC) is focused on identifying defects. It ensures that the developed approaches, methods, and techniques are followed correctly. Quality control can be considered a subset of quality assurance.
How QA works
Let’s take a closer look at the intricacies of the work of these reliable quality guards — QA engineers. The way they work nowadays is greatly influenced by the Agile methodology used by most development companies. Let’s learn more details about it.
How QA works in Agile
The Agile methodology is based on the iterative approach when the development process is divided into chunks called “sprints.” This helps consider early feedback from the customer and the team, as well as the changing priorities, and make timely improvements in a highly flexible manner. This leads to the early delivery of a high-quality product to the customer.
Agile has changed the quality assurance engineer role and responsibilities by making them much broader, taking them far beyond writing test cases and checking the product’s quality:
- QAs in Agile are deeply integrated with the development team right from the project start. They need to have excellent communication with the developers.
- QAs attend daily scrum meetings and sprint planning sessions and help the team by sharing their experience and vision.
- QA experts also attend sprint retrospectives to look back at the successes and failures.
- Instead of waiting until the end of the project they perform their job throughout the sprints. QAs work in parallel with the developers and discover bugs as soon as they appear.
- Quality assurance engineers also regularly meet developers face-to-face (or by Skype in the case of remote teams) for a quick presentation of each feature.
- In Agile, a QA engineer often asks questions directly to the product owner to clarify the requirements and priorities if needed. In the absence of the product owner, QA engineer can perform their role.
- Another Agile practice in quality assurance is the detailed documentation of all test cases.
Quality assurance process and stages
The quality assurance process stages may vary depending on every development team. However, in essence, they include the following:
- Requirements analysis. First, QA engineers analyze the functional and non-functional website requirements. If needed, they clarify them and make sure they are clear and consistent. This helps the team deliver the expected result and avoid fixes later.
- Test planning. Based on the information gathered during the analysis, QA engineers move on to the planning stage. A comprehensive plan should include the strategy, scope, budget, deadlines, resources, types of testing, required software, bug reporting procedures, and more.
- Test design. Quality assurance engineers design test cases that cover the project requirements. The cases outline the conditions and steps needed to check if the particular feature works properly. If the project includes automation, they also create automation scenarios. They also prepare the testing environment.
- Test execution and bug reporting. At this stage, QA engineers execute the created cases or run automated scripts. They list the bugs in the special bug-tracking software or generate automated reports.
- Regression testing. When these bugs get fixed or when more related functionality is added, QA engineers perform regression testing to make sure everything works properly and nothing has been affected by the new changes. Later, it should be performed every time new features are added.
Quality assurance methods
QA engineers use a wide set of methods in their work. Let’s compare some of the most prominent ones in pairs. The best approach is to use them in combinations.
Black box VS white box testing
Black box testing is performed without knowing the system architecture — treating it like a “black box.” The QA does not see the code. They just interact with the interface and check if the website does what it should.
The opposite of this is white box (aka structural) testing, which is done already knowing the internal logic and structure of the code. This way they can find out which piece of the code does not work as expected.
Scripted VS exploratory testing
In scripted testing, the QA engineer is guided by the precise cases and steps outlined in advance. Everything is well documented.
On the contrary, exploratory testing lets the QA use their intuition in exploring the website. Sometimes, this may offer a fresh look and discover errors not provided by documented test cases.
Manual VS automated testing
Manual testing is performed manually by humans, using the test cases and steps. It is very helpful for usability testing, exploratory testing, and provides the best price/quality ratio for simple tasks.
Automated testing is performed with the use of automation tools and scripts. Among its advantages are high accuracy, reliability, and speed. Once written, tests can also be repeated. Automation quickly covers plenty of cases, browsers, devices, etc.
Order our quality assurance services
The impeccable quality of your website in every aspect of its work is a pledge for your business reputation, more achieved conversions, better profits, and more.
The quality assurance team at Wishdesk digital agency is ready to take care of making your website completely free of bugs. Contact us and we'll do it in accordance with the best quality assurance practices.