This page covers the following topics relating to testing and reviewing the website. Although much of the website’s content is text that mainly needs proofreading an editing, all interactive elements involve some background code and require testing. For example: do all links work and do all interactive blocks have the desired behaviour? Also make sure that the relative size and resulting placement of blocks (especially images) align properly screens of different sizes.

Administrators, see also Creating Test Users on page Administering the LLIR Website.

First Principle of Testing

Test Early and Test Often

Two best practices testing in software development are especially important for website creators:

  • Incremental testing means frequent testing and getting a little bit to work at a time. It may seem counterintuitive as we often prefer to write a whole page or implement a set of related changes all at once, but experience tends to show that building up gradually saves time overall.
  • Testing on a variety of devices means testing not only in your preferred environment but also on large screens, mobile devices (such as iPads) and smartphones. What works well on on your home computer may be hard to read look less pleasing on different hardware. Taking a first look by visiting the website from the WordPress Dashboard is worthwhile, but lets you test only as logged-in administrator. For more robust testing:
  • Open a different Web Browser to the URL https://llirto.ca/ and check pages in the public area of the website.
  • Login as a member who is not an administrator and check pages in the member-only area.
  • On all pages: make sure that the layout in not distorted, images appropriately sized, functionality is as intended and the overall visual effect is pleasing, especially on handheld devices with small screens.
Warning

When you create or modify any page and then update/publish, WordPress immediately makes the page visible to users of the website. Our development platform provides no way to gather updates into a batch or test them on a staging platform before publishing them to the live website. Use incremental testing to reduce the impact of mistakes or inconsistencies that inevitably occur during periods development.

Testing After a Major Revision

Testing Forms

Pages that contain forms require intensive testing because forms let users trigger operations, typically performed by back-end code, that can affect the integrity of the database. Here is a list of suggestions for testing forms:

  • All tests that apply to ordinary pages, also apply to forms. For example, check whether each form displays property on screens of different sizes.
    It is acceptable if users must rotate smartphones to complete a form.
  • The first and most obvious test is to verify that the correct operation occurs when the user enters good data and then submits the form.
  • If possible, check what changes in the database.
  • If appropriate, test by reopening the form the menu to verify that data initially appears with the expected values.
  • The most important set of tests check whether the system reacts appropriately when something goes wrong. Usually, the appropriate response is displaying an error message.The form should remain active if the user can recover by changing their input.
  • Try every sort of user mistake you can think of:
  • Exploit opportunities to misinterpret the wording or purpose of the form.
  • Submit an empty form, submit prematurely and click every button on the form.
  • Enter several sets of bad input into every field that takes data in a specific format.
    Type invalid email addresses, phone numbers, post codes, and the like.
    When input fields accept free-formatted text, provide very long, very short and empty answers.
  • Deliberately break the rules. For example, try to give two users the same email address if that is not allowed.
  • After completing the form, ask yourself whether all users would feel comfortable with the outcome and know what to do next.

Testing Ordinary Pages

Thorough testing involves visiting every page several times looking for different kinds of problems during each pass. Potential problems are listed below more-or-less in order of importance.

  • Verify that every page displays without distortion on different screens. Let different testers use high-resolution screens, older low-resolution screens, smartphones and other mobile devices. Ask them to open every page in the website and look for misplaced elements, especially on pages that include images or have unusual layouts such as multi-column presentations.
  • Check for broken links. Make sure every menu option, in-page link and button opens the correct page. Do all images appear?
    Note: Links that include the full URL (addresses starting with https://llirto.ca or llirto.ca) must be adjusted if the domain name changes to anything other than llirto.ca. Most of the links used by the Kadence Account feature and the Developer Notes are in this category.
  • Look for security loopholes, mainly by checking that no button or link in the public area of the website opens a member-only page.
    Refer to Don’t Break Login Security in the first page of these Developer Notes.
  • Make sure all pages that users should not see are marked Hidden in the right-most column of the All Pages view. Hidden pages are not visible to the WordPress Search feature. Search is not included in the Public Header. It is in the Member Header so that members can find information by looking for all occurrences of words or phrases throughout the website.
  • Search must not find pages that:
    Contain forms or return results after users submit forms
    Belong to the Developers Notes, including this page
    Are for administrator-only use, temporary work pages, files saved for archival purposes and the like
  • Make sure all or temporary content within pages that is intended for the website administrations and developers is deleted. Such content often has a brown background.
  • Proofreading goes without saying and is most relevant for new content.

Reviewing at Intervals

Reviewing all content from time to time is a valuable exercise. Schedule such reviews during quiet times after periods of active updating end. Before you start, take the opportunity to make sure you have the latest versions of WordPress, Kadence and all plugins, as they install bug fixes and enhancements to your tools. Begin by reading the overview of our platform if you are not familiar with it. Then read the section warning about updates, which describes how to see what updates are available.

The following issues do not break the website and users many not even notice them as flaws, but they can build up to detract from the overall quality the website.

  • Clean up the Media Library after the end of each term or academic year. The Media Library view does not support subfolders so a large collection of media files is unwieldy. Perhaps a future current Web Master can create a naming convention to add organization.
    Delete all files no longer needed, ideally keeping archive copies elsewhere in case you accidentally delete a file that is used.
    Suggestion: Edit the Description box for each file in the Media Library to list the pages that display or refer to it.
  • Check the Search Exclude setting on all pages. Any pages that member should not be able to find by searching on word and phrases should be marked Hidden in the rightmost column of the All Pages view.
  • Remove lapses in style or consistencies introduced by a variety of page authors.
    Recommendation: Re-read the page Writing for Websites and Conventions for Highlighting Text on page About Colours and Styles before performing a style review of existing content.
    Note: A quick way to find deviations is to Search for words like “will”, “should”, “although” and “very”. The pages that the resulting search finds are likely to contain sentences with mixed tenses, convoluted wording and extra words.
  • Look for pages should be rechunked, especially after an interval during which content that has been expanded or extensively modified. A natural way to add small pieces of information or clarifications to insert additional text into existing pages. That approach can feel safe, but over time tends to produce pages that become collections of miscellanea, have titles that are no longer accurate or that repeat information given on other pages.
  • Always look for ways to add links and interactive features. The goal is to engage users by giving them more control over what they see and providing more paths through the website.
  • Try to prevent pages becoming stale. Over time, users stop looking at content that never changes. Finding a balance between updating reviewed text that has no problems and generating unnecessary work can be tricky. One approach is to focus on the updating visual components within pages. Fresh images, changing layouts and new interactive features can help retain the users’ interest.