The article this blog post is written about can be found here.

This article gives an overview of web application testing, which has several aspects unique to it compared with other software testing. I chose the article from a few sources on web testing because it was easily understandable while providing enough detail to get a feel for what’s involved.

One of the forms of testing highlighted in this article is usability testing. This includes verifying that there’s a consistent look and feel throughout the site, the application is easy to navigate, and it’s clear to users what options they have available to them. The article also makes note of the 1998 amendment to section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which outlines accessibility requirements for people with disabilities on information technology systems belonging to the US federal government. Section 508 compliance isn’t necessary for any non-federal website, but making sure to include accessibility features opens your web application up to a wider audience. The article gives the example of what your application should do if a user fails to enter a required field: simply changing the field title’s color to something noticeable like red, as is commonplace, wouldn’t be useful for someone who has trouble distinguishing colors. Another visual cue like an asterisk would be useful in this situation.

HTML verification is another form of testing for web applications. Testing for correct syntax is the obvious form, but it also includes testing the way your application displays across different internet browsers, OSes, screen resolutions, and device types. Your application may be usable and look great in one context, but break in another.

Load testing must also be done on applications that are intended to be accessed through the internet. They have to be able to function during times of high traffic, and testing of this sort can be used to find bottlenecks. In addition, performance tuning is prudent. All pages of your application should load quickly – the article suggests within 15 seconds.

User acceptance testing is used to determine whether your application does what it set out to do and makes something easier for the user instead of harder. One way this can be done is with a beta release.

Finally, of extreme importance in web applications is security testing, which should be done by qualified security specialists. The damage that can be done if this is neglected is immense.

This article gave me a good introduction to the additional testing required for web applications. Of all the details, I found adherence to section 508 especially interesting. It might not be a legal requirement for anything I design in the future, but if I ever do design a web application destined for the real internet, I will definitely want to make it accessible.

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