This article was born out of an active discussion that sparked during one of our retrospective meetings. Our team was discussing the issues that our clients often bring up during calls: what is the most important type of testing today? Which testing activities require particular attention from human testers? In other words — which tests can’t be skipped and must be done by an attentive testing specialist?
Many experts focus on more or less similar tests, only adapting the definitions in accordance with the respective target audience. In this article, we won’t name all the testing types once again, but we’ll talk about the most important one — UI/UX testing.
SO, WHAT IS UI TESTING?
User interface testing (UI testing) is a type of testing in which testers need to make sure that all buttons, fields, labels, and other items on the screen work as specified. UI testing involves checking screens with controls, such as toolbars, colors, fonts, sizes, buttons, icons, etc., and how they respond to the user input. Simply put, with the help of UI testing we see how an application, website, or software will interact with the end-user.
Essentially, User Interface testing checks how the tested product performs based on the following criteria:
- Ease of use
- Consistency and logic
In order to achieve effective results during UI testing, the tester must answer at least two important questions:
- 1. Are all features of the tested software clear and easy to use?
- 2. Can a user navigate through the app without experiencing system errors or malfunctions?
There’s also a bonus question:
- 3. Will the interface guide users towards making the right decisions?
Usually, User Interface testing is applied to end products, but I suggest making it an integral part of testing throughout the entire product development process.
Small changes made at any stage of the development can have an disproportionately big impact on the UI.
So, it is important to configure the user interface in accordance with these changes and provide feedback that is received during the testing sessions.
It turns out that even a minor issue such as lack of a button or a typing error can lead to a huge problem in the overall design. It goes without saying that it is much cheaper to fix UI bugs at the development stage. But unfortunately, bugs are sometimes missed, so companies have to deal with fixing them after the product is released, which is, unsurprisingly, very costly.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO PERFORM UI TESTING?
The development team can spend a lot of time creating a product with powerful features, but if there are any problems with using the interface, that is all the users will remember.
In other words, if there is anything that makes it difficult for a user to work with your app, even the best and most unique functionality won’t save you from negative feedback. So, in order to provide the best user experience possible, never forget about UI testing.
One of the approaches to user interface testing is manual testing. This implies the presence of a human tester that will perform a set of operations manually to ensure that the app is working correctly and that the graphical screens meet all the requirements.
If you want to ensure the speed and quality of UI testing process, it is recommended to use automation tools that have been specially developed for this purpose:
Also, UI testing can be partially performed with the help of browser extensions, such as Visbug, What font, Web developer, Page Ruler, Color Zilla.
CHECKLIST FOR UI TESTING
As with any type of tests, in order to ensure the smooth process of UI testing, it is always better to have a checklist (which can be changed and adjusted to meet the product needs). But the basic parameters that are usually checked while performing UI tests are as follows:
- Type and font size
- Icon styles
- Visual inconsistencies
- Required fields
- Data type errors
- The width of the fields
- On-screen instructions
- Progress indicators
- Confirmation of action (save, change, delete)
- Drop-down lists
- Error messages
WHAT IS UX TESTING?
In short, UX testing is a process of testing various aspects of the user experience to determine the best way for a project and its elements to interact with its audience. Why are UX tests so important? Let’s look at a real-world example:
Imagine that you own an online store, which is not that different from many other stores, and yet it offers something special — it has a unique design or some cool additional features, it is AI-enabled, or simply has a unique range of products. But here is where the problem starts: while working on your website, developers have made a mistake and as a result your navigation or buttons don’t work as intended. This means only one thing — your users have no chance to experience the unique features of your store, which obviously results in customer loss and negative feedback for your company. Moreover, your product imperfection may affect your business even after the issues have been resolved. Reputation damage tends to stick around. This is why you need UX testing.
Here are the things you must pay attention to when performing UX tests:
- navigation through the website (or application) must be easy;
- the user must have access to information about the product;
- the order placement process must be effortless;
- the performance of the site (or app) must meet user requirements.
Often, UX testing is done with the help of automation tools that allow understanding the user behavior better as well as predict his expectations about software products. The most popular ones include:
- Automatic record of screen activities of the user sessions
- Heat maps
- User questionnaires to evaluate the product and understand what needs to be improved
- Analysis of the competitors’ products
UX testing can also be performed manually. As the main criteria of the UX tests are “best practice” and “common sense”, this type of testing should be carried out by the specialists who have worked with similar products before. Relevant experience is required so the tester can understand the requirements for the UI elements – what is the right location of those elements, what color should they come in or how should they change when the users interact with them.
WHEN DO WE PERFORM UX TESTING?
The necessity and the frequency of the UX tests performed usually depend on the goals the company is pursuing. For example, if the company adds some new features to its product – UX testing is a must. It is also highly recommended to regularly analyze client feedback with the help of automated tools.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TOOLS TO ENSURE A QUALITY UX TESTING PROCESS?
GTmetrix – creates a final report for the pages and offers various recommendations to resolve the issues.
Optimizely – allows defining the conditions under which the income grows, registration, downloads and content increases.
Crazy Egg – a heat map service that helps to understand how visitors interact with the website.
Zurb – helps to understand whether the users like your web design and what they remember after interacting with your site.
BrowserShots – a web service that allows making screenshots of your site in different operating systems and browsers.
UXPunk – often used to understand the best hierarchy of website content as well as the most important pages that should be visible on your site.
UX TESTING CHECKLIST
Like with UI testing, there are many important parameters you should check while performing UX tests.
- Navigation – throughout the site, as well as through the sub-modules including several pages (for example, Blog)
- Buttons and Calls to actions – sizes, colors, and clickability
- Links – colors, clickability and redirects
- Content (formatting).
- Forms – size, content, friendliness and understandability
- Messages (informative, about errors) – colors, understandability, and compliance.
- Additional elements – such as Back to top button, Help, Calendly.
- Mobile version (if any) – view in landscape/portrait mode.