You want to upload a bunch of new features and some bug-fixes to your site? Great! You want to avoid nasty side-effects and make sure that it works the same way like it was planned before? …then you will have to do a lot of testing!
Basically this Quality Assurance Phase should take place 2 times:
One time in a test-environment before the deployment to the production server and once again after the new web is live!
To maximize the efficiencies of your testing take care not to do the following mistakes that might lead to wrong observations, unnecessary time-waste or you will end up in overlooking faults:
Forgetting to do a QA test in multiple browsers
Sure, you don´t need to test with all browsers that exist, but you should check if your website still works ok with the most popular browsers that your visitors have used according to Google Analytics. Especially the old IE6 is well-known for design-troubles and is still quite popular. If you want to do a quick test with lots of multiple browsers check the cool free online service browsershots.org to get some quick screenshots. Fancy: they even offer screenshots for a Win2000 + Internet Explorer 4 machine (=almost 10 Years old software!!!) which is I think more for fun than really usefull, because no modern webdesign will work well in this kind of superold software! 😛
Not deleting the browser cache
Whenever you start a new test the first thing you should do is deleting the browser cache. If you do not you are in danger that you are accidentally viewing a webpage version that is still in the Cache from the last session.
Forgetting to update the hosts file
For the case you have to do a test in a test environment that requires that you have a special version of a hosts file, make sure that the domain names and IP´s are updated and confirm this before the test with the development team.
Always check cookie-requiring functionality like logins etc. with and without activated cookies. Webdeveloper is a quite useful Firefox plugin that allows you to temporarily disable active cookies.
Forgetting to Test in multiple screen resolutions
Especially floating designs are bug-prone with very small or big screen resolutions. Worth to take a look here in Google Analytics, which screen resolutions are the most common ones and make sure that at least these are looking good.
Not using Selenium tests
Especially for very “click-intensive” or repeating parts of a test it is very helpful to have an automatic Selenium test. Just download the Selenium Firefox plugin and design the testscript once and hit the replay button… it is almost like cinema 😛
Last not Least: Wasting time by testing stuff that tools could test for you
There are many cool free tools available that can help you a lot with QA testing. Actually some of them make it possible for you to test parts of your website that you cannot test manually. For example it is impossible to check all the thousands of links on your site manually. There are tons of Online Linkcheckers for this available, if you prefer to run a automatic linkchecker from your own machine I prefer Xenu Linkchecker or the Linkevaluator Firefox Plugin
I hope I could help to make your QA day easier with this tips! Feel free to add a comment if you want!