How To Test A Web App Properly From A User Perspective

How To Test A Web App Properly From A User Perspective

How Should You Test A Web Application?

How a web application gets tested depends on the stage of its lifecycle. For this post, we will primarily focus on testing the application at the front from the end user’s perspective.

Each working piece of software deployed and ready for testing has a checklist a QA tester will run through to ensure all use cases are checked and will pass. When testing a web application from a user perspective, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do the user interface and user experience meet their standards?
  • Is the particular feature you are testing functioning as it should?
  • Are integrations and code compatible with their systems? For example, what are the minimum system requirements for using this application?
  • How does the application run? Is the performance good? Can it handle large loads of traffic or data?
  • What about security? Is it safe to use? Are your passwords hashed? Is your app from hacks?

When testing your web application, we recommend following this list of things to do:

  • Use a device that can porperly run your application. For example, a desktop ran with the latest Mac OS or Windows OS.
  • Use a browser that’s compatible with your application. For example, the latest version of Chrome.
  • Clear your browser of caching data when logged in to test on each deployment so you don’t see old data mixed in with recent fixes.
  • Limit the number of browser tabs and windows open to prevent caching and cross-browser session issues.
  • If trying to test for multiple user roles, go incognito.
  • Test on all common devices, operating systems, and browsers you know the application will be used on. If you do not have access to all the devices needed, simulators are helpful since they can mimic what the application will look and function like on those devices.
  • For each feature being tested, look at the requirements and specifications outlined for that feature and test against that to ensure it meets the initial requirements, which we call the “happy path.”
  • Then, go outside the happy path and try to break that feature to spot any potential problems for issues, errors, bugs, or glitches.
  • For new issues you discover while testing, add them as separate tasks for fixing. Don’t mix them into the current job you are testing for.
  • Tell your team about bug or regression issues when they’re discovered instead of waiting until they get worse.

Testing for User Interface and User Experience

Test your user interface and user experience to make sure they meet their standards. When testing, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the layout follow the intended flow and designs?
  • Is the content easy to access and read? Do you use elements that make your content easy to read? For example, paragraphs, spacing, etc…
  • What about readability? Is it easy on the eyes? Are the fonts big enough? Is the color contrast user-friendly? Do links and buttons work properly?
  • What about the navigation? Is the application easy to navigate?  Are tabs accurately labeled?
  • Is your application responsive? If so, does it flow the way it should on responsive devices?

Testing for Functionality

When testing for functionality, make a list of the functions you will need to test for a particular feature and go down the list one by one to make sure each part is working correctly. For example, let’s say you have to test the role of a form. Your checklist may look something like this:

  • Test fields for validation. For example, is a field required vs. not required? Is the validation showing for those that are required? Filling out the form multiple times will let you know if issues exist.
  • Test input values for fields to make sure they are correct. For example, if a lot should only be numeric, ensure it is not taking alpha or other characters.
  • Test the captcha if it is added to the form for security
  • Test form submit and verify what is supposed to happen upon submission

Testing for Performance

When testing for performance, pay attention to how long it takes the web application to load, how long it takes pages to load, and how long things take to process.

  • For example, how long does a form take to submit and return a success message?
  • How long does the main application page load after clearing the cache?
  • If there are pages with heavy content or data, how long do they load? Would the user have to wait a few seconds for everything to load?
  • Do you experience timeout errors?

Testing for Compatibility

Testing for compatibility includes ensuring the web application will run on various browsers, operating systems and is functional with multiple devices. Consider these things when testing for compatibility:

  • Test the application on all common browsers it will use. This could mean IE, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox browsers.
  • Test the application on commonly used devices. Examples include laptops, desktops, etc.
  • When testing those devices, ensure they have the proper system requirements, such as the right operating systems. For example, what operating systems will the application run smoothly on?

Testing for Security

Testing for security entails running scenarios of trying to attack the application to catch any vulnerabilities that require fixing. Some of these could include:

  • Testing for brute force attacks
  • Password hacks testing
  • Testing for malware or viruses
  • Trying to access restricted URLs
  • Trying to access permission-based areas of the application with other user roles who should not have access to those areas and more.

To minimize some of these security threats, the team can build features to track activity or use third-party integrations that will protect the application from these attacks.

As you can see, your web application has many things to test for. The idea of testing from a user’s perspective is to use the application like a regular user would and spot issues that may hinder the intended user experience you are going for. It is also a great way to spot holes, inconsistencies, bugs, and more in the application that the development team may not have accounted for since they are building the code to requirements but not using the application on the front like a regular user would.


Furthermore, for more help, here are some additional external references on testing:

  1. Operating Systems Tutorials – Role QA – Lynda Video
  2. Software Testing Help Article
  3. Guru 99 Article
  4. Usersnap Article

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