Test & Evaluate

In addition to reviewing the site for accuracy, correct grammar and spelling, consistent voice and tone, use of the brand and style guides for the university, college and department, and that it follows best writing for the Web practices, there are many kinds of tests that should be done for every website.

There are some interesting Browser Add-ons that can help. Any errors or issues you find that you cannot address, please bring to the attention of the Web team at cofawebmaster@austin.utexas.

Sometimes updates to a site will not appear to have taken effect and it might be just on your machine. Before you start testing follow the instructions to clear your cache. Note that you may lose data that might make browsing easier, like saved logins and autocomplete.

Usability Testing

It’s important for you to get feedback from visitors to your site. If there’s something that you want people to “get” or accomplish when visiting your site, ask a friend or family member to give it a try. If you want to get a bit more formal you can perform usability tests. Basically, you ask several people to try to accomplish several tasks  on your site while you watch and they talk out-loud through their process. Watch this 24 minute video of Steve Krug demonstrating a usability test.

Navigation and information architecture are an important part of having a usable site. You may want to perform a card sorting activity if your visitors are confused about what to click on.

Broken Links

The W3C or World Wide Web Consortium is the group that writes the standards for coding websites. They provide a tool to check for broken links, http://validator.w3.org/checklink. Review Google Analytics to see where people, who end up with a Page Not Found error, came from.

Accessibility

Wave http://wave.webaim.org/ is an online accessibility validation tool. Automated tools, such as Wave, are not able to test all accessibility issues but they can tell you if basic errors, like missing alternate text, are detected. Reviewing your site with these Easy Checks and trying some manual configurations to see if you can navigate the site with only the keyboard or using a screen reader, will be much better tests for accessibility. For a complete list see the Ohio State University Information Technology wiki.

Color and contrast

See is a free add-on for the Chrome browser that allows you to view a webpage as a user with a visual impairment. When you’re picking out colors to use on your website make sure that the contrast is high enough for most people. WebAIM has a color contrast checker.

Optimization

Google provides a tool called PageSpeed Insights that will let you know how well your page will load on mobile or desktop devices.

Browser & Device Testing

Check out your site with a browser emulator http://spoon.net/browsers/ or a mobile device emulator http://mobiletest.me. You can use http://caniuse.com to see if the code used to build a website will work on different browsers or devices.

Code Validation

The W3C also has a validation tool that you can run any website through and quickly see if there are validation issues with the code, http://validator.w3.org/. You can use http://caniuse.com to see if the code used to build a website will work on different browsers or devices.

Security

For  the college sites the Web team will have already sent them to the university Information Security office for review.  For other sites simply send an email to security@utexas.edu asking for an assessment.

Readability

The website, The Readability Test Tool allows you to enter a URL Web address and will take the text and give a score based on the most used readability indicators.

Learn More

For a complete list of tools from the W3C visit, http://www.w3.org/QA/Tools/.The developer website, sitepoint has an excellent article, The Ultimate Testing Checklist.

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The COFA Web team can be reached by emailing us at cofawebmaster@austin.utexas.edu


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