Quality Assurance (QA): What is it, and what does it do

You’ve probably heard the word ‘QA’ referenced if you work or dabble in website development. While those who work closely with the development and implementation of websites understand what quality assurance is and how important it is in the process, people who aren’t aren’t always aware of it. So let’s draw back the curtain on this process and make it more transparent for everyone.

So, what exactly is quality assurance?

Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the process of ensuring that a website is provided and functions as planned. While QA developers are responsible for this process, they are usually kept apart from the site’s design and development, serving as a link between them and a final check to assure user happiness. They strive to find any mistakes or faults on a site through their examination and inquiry and verify that the staging site follows the designs in both the UI and UX.

The quality assurance process is a never-ending procedure that can rarely if ever, be deemed complete. Device kinds, screen sizes, and browsers are continually changing due to the rapid advancement of modern technology. As a result, QA usually ensures that the site works as intended on all significant and widespread mobile devices, desktop screen sizes, and browsers. These are typically defined at the start of a project and can be informed by existing site metrics in the case of site redesigns. Essentially, the QA developer’s goal is to guarantee that the website works properly and as intended across the most extensive possible range of devices.

The time necessary for this process varies based on the project’s complexity and scale. A Drupal site, for example, will often take far less time than a B2B eCommerce site. And there are many more areas to focus on and ensure functionality when it comes to eCommerce of any scale. Generally, any custom-built features will be assessed separately to ensure that they work as intended and then within the context of the entire site.

So, how does the quality assurance process work?

Each project’s QA process will be distinct, and most firms will have their methodology and checklist in place. The eight stages of a process are listed below. Some can be mixed depending on the site, and others can be omitted.

1. Front-end Review: You should double-check that the staging site fits the designs you’ve provided at this point in the process. This involves both the user interface and the user experience.

As previously noted, each organization has its unique QA process, and some companies may conduct this review early on, sometimes before any front-end work has been completed. This check confirms that the site works as it should, and while it includes components of UX, it is usually treated as a separate stage.

2. Content Review: This phase entails examining content such as imagery to ensure that it is of good quality, that it is cropped correctly, and that it does not cause loading issues, among other things. The total material is also evaluated to ensure that it does not slow down page loading times, critical for retaining users.

3. Link Validation: QA developers manually verify every hyperlink on a site to ensure that it points to the correct page or document in this step.

4. Forms and Input Validation: In this step, all input fields and form submissions are validated to ensure that they work as expected. Functionality such as necessary and compulsory fields and any other behaviors will be checked to ensure they follow the requirements.

5. Review of Interoperability: This stage, which we mentioned previously, entails evaluating the site’s design and functioning across various device kinds, screen sizes, and browsers. It’s worth noting that this stage can be referred to by multiple names depending on the firm and team, so you may have heard it referred to by a different title.

6. Custom Functionality Review: As previously said, this is the process by which any custom-built/coded features are tested for functionality and to see if the way people would interact with them is acceptable.

7. Payment Gateway Review: While this is solely applicable to eCommerce sites, it is an important step and review. The QA developer will test the payment process from beginning to end, acting as a user, confirming that it works on all agreed-upon devices and browsers, and ensuring that any integrations and payment methods work as expected.

The foundation of development

As you can see, quality assurance is an essential aspect of any development process. Without it, errors, defects, and UI/UX concerns may go unnoticed. QA developers serve as a link between developers and designers, ensuring that the user is constantly informed while balancing requirements and technical constraints.