Your association’s website is, above all, a marketing machine. You want it to represent your professionalism and mission and generate leads for you in the form of new members, new partnerships, and new opportunities.
Given the significance of your website, it’s always a good time to test your website through the eyes of your users. Things that are obvious to you may not be as obvious to visitors to your site. They may encounter hiccups and setbacks that make for a clunky or off-putting web experience.
The attention spans of our users grow shorter by the day, and we only have a small window to impress potential members. Putting your website through a detailed user acceptance test through the eyes of your users is essential for a successful website.
The following checklist is a detailed list of things to keep in mind when testing your site.
Make Website Testing a Priority
Properly testing your website takes time, and most association staff are already short on time! Given the amount of testing each page and feature of your site requires, it may not be realistic to do it all in one sitting. Make a plan to devote a small amount of time to thoroughly testing your website over the next few weeks or months.
Bring up your calendar and schedule time on your calendar. Either small daily time slots or longer weekly blocks to budget time to complete your website testing.
Correcting the bugs you find or improving the user experience issues you encounter may take more time. You may need more time to clean up outdated web copy or lead magnets or create fresh content and member resources. Remember, a little bit every day goes a long way. You can do it!
Professional Website Audit
If testing your website is a priority and you don’t have the time for it, this is a good time to bring in a third party to help you test your website. We even recommend a third-party web testing audit because there is nothing like fresh eyes to catch any issues.
Our company offers membership website user experience testing audits. Book a call with us to learn more.
Web Page Inventory
The next step is to make a list of every webpage on your website membership site. You’ll need this list so you can keep track of the pages you have already reviewed, and the items you tested to make sure you didn’t miss anything. This is also a great tool when you have divided the testing tasks between multiple team members.
A good place to start is by reviewing your website’s site map. Add a feature list specific to your site to test everything your web users interact with. Add any screen or email that your users engage with, such as login screens, password retrieval, membership registration process, and membership renewal process.
We want to list it all to catch any confusing (or even missing!) events so that we avoid users having to bring it to our attention!
Understand Your Audience
Before you dive into testing your website, take time time to meet with your team to discuss who uses your website. What is their user profile? We call this an avatar.
By managing your association members, you’re likely aware of the importance of keeping your members happy. Whether you’re trying to sell products or services, engage with an audience, or keep things running smoothly on the day-to-day level, it’s essential that you feel confident in your ability to satisfy your members.
How can you know what will make them happy? How can you know if they are satisfied with what they see?
To answer these questions, you must first under who your audience base companies. When developing new products or services, the demographics and psychographics of your target audience can assist in influencing the design and development process.
Member Lounge is a tool for providing the best member experience possible. It starts with understanding the people who use our products and services.
We believe that when you know your members, you can better understand their needs and build a website that is acceptable to them. Find out more about your audience through Member Lounge.
Build out a detailed profile of the average user of your site — your average member is a great place to start since we want to use our website to capture prospective members to get them onto our membership site.
For more information about the difference between your public website and membership site, read our blog: A Tale of Two Entities: The Benefits of Keeping Your Membership Site and Website Separate.
Add to your user profile their level of tech knowledge, language ability, age, goals, and fears — the more detailed the better. Use this profile to think on their level when testing your site.
Uncover Big Fixes & Wishlist Features
Testing a well-built website is likely to uncover a few errors, but it is still worth doing. Testing older sites may uncover issues that require development support.
It is also possible that the audit makes you realize your wishlist for the website is larger than you first realized! To manage your feature wishlist, check out our blog: How to Strategically Prioritize Your Feature Wishlist For Your Website.
You may need to leave some wishlist features out of your immediate plan due to time and budget constraints. A skilled developer can offer alternative solutions to creating your wishlist items, or at least make placeholder tweaks to your website so that you can easily add your dream features in the future.
Compile Your Testing Inventory
- Prepare a list of all screens that need to be tested.
- Jot down some notes on what you want to test on each screen.
- Identify the criteria for the feature to pass your test.
- Identify if a page or feature needs to be run on a special browser, e.g. Google Chrome.
- Share this with your test team so that everyone is on the same page.
Web Testing Checklist
Now it’s time to get down to testing! Group the checklist items below into Functionality, Usability, Basic Security, and Design Testing for your website. We advise testing all of these items at once for each screen on your webpage/web feature inventory list.
- Test your website for broken links.
- Test outgoing links from all pages from a specific domain.
- Test internal links including the ones that jump to the same page.
- Are links properly styled and named?
- Check field validation for each field.
- Check the default values in each field.
- Go through each of the create, delete, or update forms as needed.
- If there is a multi-step form, check if it shows you what stage you are at when completing the form.
- Does the form tell the user what to do next, e.g. submit, next, continue, save?
- Does the form show proper confirmation messages after each action?
- Check to see if cookies are encrypted.
- Check session cookies for login sessions and user stats.
- Check the effect on application security when cookies are deleted.
- Identify the top five things people will want to know or want to do when on your website. Check the overall navigation to see if users will be able to do them easily.
- Check that a navigation menu is provided on each page and is consistent.
- Provide clear instructions to indicate the purpose of each screen.
- Test how users use buttons, search or filter boxes, and navigation links.
- Check to see that the website is easy to use.
- Check to see if the content is organized logically with good use of headings, subheadings, paragraphs, and bullet points, so it is easy to understand.
- Avoid big blocks of text.
- Check spelling and grammatical errors in content.
- Check for solid background colors that may distract users.
- Check that the content is meaningful and is relevant to the page.
- Ensure all content is accessible through the main navigation menu.
- Validate all items for User Interface (UI) testing.
- Check that a search option is included only if needed.
- Check that a site map is added, with links.
- Compare the original design to the end product to ensure the coded version is true to the design approved by the designer.
- Check image quality on various devices and the time to load them.
- Test font colors and sizes on different browsers and devices.
- Test the website with other browsers.
- Test website with various screen resolutions.
Basic Security Testing
- Check that protected pages do not open without proper login.
- Check how features behave when nonsensical information is provided in form fields, for example, the last name like “Fake123.”
- Check that directories and files cannot be directly accessed without a download option provided from a page.
- Test the CAPTCHA for automated script logins.
- Check if SSL is used when sensitive information is presented or accepted on the website.
- Check to see that all payments, error messages, and security breach attempts get logged in log files on the server.
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