Business BootStrapping Tips – 11. Testing Websites 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 11. Testing Websites 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 11. Testing Websites 101

This article originally appeared in issue 213 of .net magazine – the world’s
best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Inexpensive tools for testing websites

When designing on a shoestring, testing is doubly important, whether dealing
with perceived UX issues or fixing display and functionality bugs

For usability testing, Mac app Silverback comes highly recommended.
At $69.95 it’s not cheap, but as UX consultant Leisa Reichelt (disambiguity.com) says,
“You get all the features you want from screen-recording software without the
ridiculous price tag we were used to paying for software like Morae.”
If you’re strapped for cash, though, she recommends you “send PDFs via email
to research participants and pick up the phone”. In the middle ground,
Usabilla.com offers one free active test with 10 participants.

For in-browser testing, free options exist for online, local and mobile testing.
Adobe BrowserLab is the best choice for providing screen grabs of how sites render.
For working locally, explore free x86 virtualization system VirtualBox –
it’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux, but it’s handy for Mac users wanting
to test in Windows without dual-booting. For dynamic sites, use MAMP (Mac),
Wampserver (Windows) or XAMPP (Windows/Mac/Linux) to create a local
Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. For multiple Explorer installs,
use IETester; for debugging, work with Firebug; and for mobile tests,
Opera Mobile Emulator, Opera Mini Simulator and Firefox for Mobile Simulator.