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Dariya Malakhova, Automation and Manual Quality Assurance Engineer

Nov 23, 2023 15 min read

Website Functionality Testing: How to Do It? A Full Guide

This guide will introduce you to the fundamentals of functional testing. We'll then focus on how to test the functionality of a website, especially the challenges when dealing with different technologies. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of how to handle website functionality testing. 

Website Functionality Testing

Website Functionality Testing: How to Do It?

Ensuring a successful online presence is essential for any business. Functionality is what makes a helpful site. Functionality testing will only give you something unique but is always essential. After all, functionality is exactly what a site is created for. 

A well-functioning website is crucial, as software issues can result in dissatisfied customers and financial losses. But what's the basic idea behind testing website functions? 

This guide will introduce you to the fundamentals of functional testing. We'll then focus on how to test the functionality of a website, especially the challenges when dealing with different technologies. By the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of how to handle website functionality testing. 

What is Website Functionality Testing?  

Website functionality testing is a critical phase in web development that verifies a website's core features and interactive elements to ensure they work seamlessly. It aims to identify and rectify any errors or issues before they impact users. This testing is instrumental in ensuring that a website functions correctly and provides the expected interaction with the application to its users.  

When performing functionality testing of a website, it's imperative to verify that all its features, links, forms, navigation, and interactive elements work seamlessly. It acts as a quality assurance mechanism to confirm that the website operates according to design and functionality specifications, meeting user expectations and business goals. In essence, functionality testing is the litmus test for a website's core functions, and its successful execution is a fundamental prerequisite for a successful web project.  

As you can see so far, functionality testing of a website is the step you want to consider. 

Importance of Website Functionality Testing 

The importance of website functionality testing cannot be overstated. It serves as the cornerstone of any robust testing process, as ensuring the basic functionality of a website is necessary for all other testing efforts to be successful. To draw an analogy, it's like building a car with advanced safety features and a luxurious interior but neglecting the fundamental purpose of the vehicle, which is to move. Just as you wouldn't release a car that cannot perform its core transportation function, a website must, first and foremost, function properly.

Much like a car's engine and transmission are critical for its ability to move, a website's core functions, such as navigation, forms, links, and interactive elements, are essential for user interaction and engagement. With a solid foundation of functionality, other testing types like security, performance, or usability testing can effectively address issues related to basic user needs and business objectives. 

Building a Successful Website Testing Team 

The success of website functionality testing heavily relies on the skills and expertise of the testing team. Assemble a dedicated team with the following considerations in mind: 

  • Skills and Expertise: Ensure your testing team possesses the necessary skills and expertise in various testing techniques and tools. 
  • Team Size: The size of your testing team should be appropriate for the scope and complexity of your website. Small teams can be effective for smaller projects, while larger websites may require more testers. Also, the more developers on the team, the more testers are needed. 
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Define each team member's roles and responsibilities.

Preparing for Website Functionality Testing

The preparatory phase before testing the functionality of a website is a crucial step that helps prevent the omission of important details and provides a clear direction for the entire team. It significantly saves time compared to the chaotic "try to do everything at once" approach. Here's how to get ready for effective website functionality testing: 

Setting Clear Objectives and Assembling a Testing Team  

Objectives should align with the overall project goals and help set the direction for testing efforts. Some key aspects to consider include: 

  • Functionality Focus: Specify which functionalities are most critical to the website's success. It ensures that testing efforts are concentrated on what matters most to users and the business. 
  • Performance Metrics: Establish specific performance metrics that the website must meet. It may include response times, load times, and error rates. 
  • User Expectations: Understand the expectations of your target audience. What do they need from your website, and how can testing ensure those needs are met? 
  • Business Goals: Consider how website functionality impacts the achievement of business goals. Are specific conversions, sales, or user interactions vital for success? 

Identifying Key Functionalities to Be Tested 

Not all website functionalities are created equal. Identifying and prioritizing critical functionalities for testing is essential to allocate resources effectively. Here's how to do it: 

  • Critical Paths: Determine the critical paths users will likely take on your website. These often involve actions like signing up, making a purchase, or accessing important content. 
  • User Interaction Points: Identify areas where users interact with the website, such as forms, navigation menus, and interactive elements. 
  • Complex Features: Focus on complex features that are unique to your website and are more likely to encounter issues. High-priority and frequently used features should be tested first, with many interaction scenarios, including positive and negative test cases. Additionally, it is advisable to automate the testing of such functionality in the future or from the start. 

What, How and Where to Test 

A well-structured test plan is the roadmap for your testing efforts. It outlines the scope, objectives, resources, and timelines for website functionality testing. Critical components of a test plan include: 

  • Test Scope: Define what aspects of website functionality will be tested and what won't be tested. Be clear about inclusions and exclusions. 
  • Test Environment: Describe the hardware, software, and browsers used for testing. Ensure that the testing environment closely mirrors real-world usage. 
  • Test Cases: Develop detailed test cases that cover different scenarios and use cases. These should include step-by-step instructions for testers to follow. 
  • Test Schedule: Create a timeline for testing activities, including start and end dates and deadlines. 

The most attention is usually given to test cases. They are prioritized based on the application's features and are a mandatory aspect of testing. The better the test case is written, the easier it is to conduct functional testing. Automation will be carried out in the future based on these test cases. 

Typically, test cases are updated throughout the project as new functionality is introduced, and they must always be kept current and relevant. 

Website Functionality Testing Process 

Website functionality testing involves a structured process to ensure a website functions correctly and meets user expectations. Here's a breakdown of the critical steps in this testing process: 

Test Execution

Running Test Cases 

  • Execute the test cases on the chosen devices and browsers. 
  • Follow the step-by-step instructions and interact with the website as a typical user would. 
  • Record observations, including any issues or deviations from expected behavior. 

Recording Results 

  • Document the results of each test case, noting whether it passed or failed. 
  • Provide detailed information about any defects or issues encountered during testing. 
  • Include screenshots, logs, or other relevant evidence to support the findings. 

Defect Reporting 

Identifying and Documenting Issues 

  • Identify and document defects, anomalies, and issues discovered during testing. 
  • Include a clear and concise description of each problem and steps to reproduce it. 

Prioritizing Defects 

  • Assign priority levels to each reported defect based on its severity and impact. 
  • Prioritize critical issues that could affect the user experience or core functionality. 

Regression Testing 

Ensuring Earlier Issues Are Resolved 

  • Verify that the development team has resolved defects and issues in previous testing cycles.  
  • Ensure that fixes have not introduced new problems. 
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Repeating Tests as Needed 

  • Re-run test cases relevant to the changes made in response to reported defects. 
  • Confirm that the website's functionality remains stable and consistent.

The website functionality test process is iterative and may involve multiple cycles to address defects and ensure the website's reliability and performance. Testers focus on website functionality testing to confirm that actions like form submissions, data retrieval, and interactive elements perform as intended. Effective test case design, thorough execution, and systematic defect reporting are critical to a successful testing process. 

Types of Website Functionality Testing 

Website functionality testing can be divided into several types depending on the stage of development and product readiness. Here are the key types, along with their definitions, tools, and techniques: 

Unit Testing 

Unit testing evaluates individual components or modules of a website to ensure they work correctly in isolation. It verifies that each component functions as intended.  

Unit testing is often performed using testing frameworks such as JUnit, NUnit, or Jasmine for JavaScript. Test cases are designed to cover specific functions, methods, or classes within the codebase. 

Integration Testing 

Integration testing assesses how different components of a website interact with each other when combined. It ensures that integrated modules work seamlessly as a whole. 

Integration testing can be performed using tools like Postman for manual or Playwright, WebdriverIO, and Cypress for automated API testing. Test cases are designed to verify data flow and communication between integrated parts. 

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Developers primarily perform unit and Integration testing. These testing methods mainly focus on the backend and API. 

Developers perform these tests in the early stages of development to ensure the proper functioning of various modules, considering that the application might not have a UI yet.

System Testing 

System testing evaluates the entire website as a complete system. It examines the interactions between various components and checks if the website meets specified requirements. 

TestRail or TestLink can be used for test case management. Techniques include end-to-end, usability, and regression testing to validate the system. We use various testing frameworks tailored to specific project needs for efficient and scalable automation. Some of the critical frameworks include Playwright, WebdriverIO, and Cypress.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) 

User Acceptance Testing is performed from the end-user's perspective to ensure the website meets user needs and expectations. It validates if the website is ready for production use. 

UAT is often performed manually by actual users or stakeholders. Testers follow predefined test cases and provide feedback based on their real-world experience. 

Best Practices for Website Functionality Testing

Website functionality testing is a primary testing type that ensures a high-quality web experience. To optimize this process, consider the following best practices:  

Test Automation 

Benefits and Considerations 

  • Benefits: Automation accelerates testing, improves accuracy, and allows frequent testing, especially for repetitive tasks. 
  • Considerations: Carefully select what to automate; not all tests suit automation. Keep a balance between automated and manual testing. 

Popular Automation Tools 

  • Explore automated tools such as Playwright, Cypress, WDIO, Robot Framework, and Selenium, which offer versatile web testing capabilities. 

Test Data Management 

Importance of Test Data 

  • Ensure that test data accurately represents real-world scenarios and encompasses various inputs. 
  • Protect sensitive or confidential data and use anonymized or synthetic data for testing whenever possible. 

Data Privacy and Security 

  • Adhere to data protection regulations like GDPR to safeguard user data during testing. 
  • Encrypt, mask, or pseudonymize sensitive data in test environments to maintain data privacy. 

Test Documentation 

  • Test Planning: Develop detailed test plans outlining the testing objectives, scope, allocated resources, and schedules. Include specific test cases in the planning phase to ensure comprehensive coverage of various scenarios.
  • Documenting Test Cases: Ensure that test cases do not skip any steps, even if they seem obvious. Additionally, each step must have an expected result specified after each step or at the end. All test data should also be indicated. For more details, read our article about HOW TO WRITE TEST CASES FOR SOFTWARE TESTING
  • Reporting: Create detailed test reports that provide clear insights into the findings of the testing process. Include thorough descriptions of identified defects, along with relevant testing metrics. These reports serve as valuable resources for decision-making processes. Bug reports should be integral to the testing report, highlighting issues and facilitating resolution. For more details, read our article on HOW TO WRITE A BUG REPORT
  • Documenting Test Cases: Ensure that test cases do not skip any steps, even if they seem obvious. Additionally, each step must have an expected result specified after each step or at the end. All test data should also be indicated. For more details, read our article about HOW TO WRITE TEST CASES FOR SOFTWARE TESTING

Continuous Integration and Continuous Testing 

  1. Integrating Testing into the Development Pipeline 
  • Integrate testing into the CI/CD pipeline to ensure that every code change undergoes automated testing before deployment. 
  • Trigger tests automatically whenever new code is committed to the master branch. 
  1. Automated Testing in CI/CD 
  • Automate regression, integration, and performance tests to catch issues early. 
  • Use parallel testing and cloud-based services to speed up test execution within CI/CD.  

Integrated into the development process and executed immediately post-deployment functional tests in a CI/CD  environment play a crucial role. These automated tests run seamlessly within the pipeline to promptly verify that the application functions as intended. Specifically, functional testing ensures that users can navigate the website, utilize its features according to specified requirements, and enjoy a positive user experience. This approach contributes to the early detection of potential issues, allowing for swift corrective action and ensuring a smooth and reliable deployment process. 

Challenges and Common Pitfalls in Website Functionality Testing

Website functionality testing can be fraught with challenges and pitfalls that can hinder the testing process and compromise the quality of the website. Here are some common issues and strategies for overcoming them:

Incomplete Test Coverage

  • Problem: Testing may cover only some critical scenarios or functionalities, leading to undiscovered issues. 
  • Solution: Prioritize critical test cases to ensure essential functionalities are thoroughly tested. You can continuously add scenarios, increasing test coverage indefinitely, but it is advisable based on priorities. 

Resource Constraints 

  • Problem: Limited time, budget, or access to devices and browsers can impede comprehensive testing. 
  • Solution: Implement test automation to increase test coverage and efficiency, especially for repetitive tests. 

Changing Requirements 

  • Problem: Frequent changes in project requirements can disrupt testing plans and introduce scope creep. 
  • Solution: Embrace agile methodologies to adapt to changing requirements and address scope creep more effectively. Write concise but clear documentation so that if requirements change, the team can easily see these changes and refer to them at any time. 

Test Data Challenges 

  • Problem: Obtaining and managing realistic test data can be difficult, impacting testing accuracy. 
  • Solution: Use tools to create realistic test data and maintain data privacy. Strive to periodically engage with the product's target audience and generate test data based on their feedback. 

Browser and Device Fragmentation 

  • Problem: Testing across various browsers and devices can be time-consuming and complex. 
  • Solution: Utilize cross-browser testing tools and services with automated testing to streamline testing on multiple browsers and devices. 

Communication Gaps 

  • Problem: Poor communication between testers, developers, and stakeholders can lead to misunderstandings and delayed issue resolution. 
  • Solution: Maintain open and effective communication channels among team members and stakeholders to address issues promptly. Don't hesitate to ask questions, contact the manager, and request regular meetings. 

By addressing these challenges proactively, you can enhance the quality of your website and ensure a positive user experience. 

Conclusion

Website Functionality Testing is the primary type of testing, and it's always a good starting point. This type of testing ensures that the application works as intended, helping you gain confidence in its functionality.  Effective website functionality testing involves clear objectives, comprehensive test coverage, and systematic reporting of issues. The role of website functionality testing in quality assurance is crucial, as it assures a website's reliability, user experience, and alignment with business objectives.

We recommend the following best practices for performing quality website functionality testing: 

  • Clear Objectives: Define specific and clear testing objectives to guide the testing process and focus on critical functionalities. 
  • Comprehensive Test Coverage: Ensure that your testing covers a wide range of scenarios, functionalities, and user interactions to identify potential issues comprehensively. 
  • Systematic Issue Reporting: Implement a systematic approach to report and document issues discovered during testing, providing clear details to facilitate efficient resolution. 

Using these best practices, you can enhance the quality and reliability of your website, delivering a positive user experience and ensuring alignment with your business goals. 

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