Testing Media Web Applications and Sites
Web applications and sites for the media and entertainment industry usually have big user audiences. In order to keep the loyalty of their demanding users, they have to be user-friendly, load-resistant, and responsive. Let’s take a look at common peculiarities and challenges that frequently come up while testing media web resources.
Statcounter states that Chrome (70.88%), Firefox (9.5%), IE (5.74%), Safari (5.15%), Edge (4.41%), and Opera (2.37%) — have been the top used web browsers worldwide for the last 12 months. Usually, testers check websites’ functionality for the named web browsers.
QA engineers often face issues when it comes to testing a website on multiple browsers. Each client wants the final appearance and performance to be flawless, and this is especially hard to achieve when there’s heavyweight content like videos, slideshows, and carousels. Here are the typical issues that QA experts detect when checking the functionality of a website on multiple browsers:
- video or image distortion
- unsupported text fonts and formatting
- unsupported latest versions of HTML and CSS
Media web applications and sites are very different from company websites or landing pages. Testing them may be as hard as testing a fully-fledged software solution. However, the latest huge progress in automation made this process much easier to establish and conduct. Selenium is created specifically for the purpose of web application testing. This is why it’s the most common framework that QA experts use to test websites and apps on multiple browsers. With its help, they can set up the automated testing process easily and quickly because Selenium does not require deep knowledge of test scripting language.
Testing websites on built-in browsers
For media websites like Distractify, Reddit, and BuzzFeed, it is especially important to perform well in all possible browsers, because users tend to share their content more often than, say, the content of event-dedicated websites like WebSummit.
Sometimes, no matter how perfectly your website works across web and mobile browsers, you still have a chance to face the issue that is hard or impossible to resolve. I’m talking about built-in browsers in social network applications like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Did you ever notice that when you tap a link on someone’s FB timeline, it does not open in Safari or Google Chrome? It opens in the built-in Facebook browser that pops up in the face of a separate single page. The reason for this is to keep users, hence all the traffic, within applications’ ecosystems.
This is a real pain in the neck for most QA engineers who work on media websites and apps. Not only they have to test a website on at least 6 standard web browsers, but they also have to test it on multiple apps’ built-in browsers to provide the target audience with the most comfortable user experience. Usually, built-in browsers are just simple WebViews and are powered by engines from standard browsers like Google Chrome. However, they are filled with lots of add-ons that usually mess up graphic interfaces of websites. On the other hand, if frontend developers change a website’s layout to adapt it to social apps’ browsers, it can look messed up in a standard browser. This is why it’s hard for QA experts to define working ways of fixing this problem.
Testing progressive web applications
Progressive web application (PWA) is not just a website but rather a combination of web and mobile applications. Ideally, it should be adapted for use on both mobile and computer web browsers. The key advantage of PWAs is that they behave like applications but you don’t have to download and install them from the App Store.
For media and entertainment websites, PWA is a great way of helping users get even more pleasant experience. PWAs are usually responsive and user-friendly, work on multiple web and mobile browsers, can work offline, support push notifications, self-update, and can be easily shared just by sending a link.
Load testing is a very important type of testing for media web resources. Thanks to active social network sharing, there are millions of daily visitors, and this is a huge load for the server. Media web resources are usually built using Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), which means, functions are logically divided into separate blocks, aka independent services.
Let’s take a look at Distractify, which is built with the help of SOA. To test such resource thoroughly in terms of loads, there needs to be a complex testing strategy. Each service has to be tested separately, step by step. QA engineers create so-called artificial data and overload the website’s server on purpose to see whether it handles the weight without errors. If it does, then it’s ready for the real loads. If it doesn’t, more work needs to be done to strengthen the server and expand the capacity of a database where user data will be stored.
The main challenge with website data loads is that you don’t always know what is the optimal maximum load capacity. Today, it can be just 500 users, while tomorrow there’ll be a piece of smashing news about Kim Kardashian’s new dress, and millions of users will visit your resource to read it and comment upon the topic. QA experts have to foresee this and make it possible for all users to access a website whenever they want.
Testing media websites and applications is important. However, testing Progressive Web Applications requires specific expertise, while cross-browser and load testing require knowledge of special QA tools. Business owners understand the risks of poorly performed testing, and this is the main reason why they seek skilled vendors of Quality Assurance services.
Expert QA engineers will help to make sure your media website is user-friendly, correctly displayed on different browsers, and resistant to huge loads. Thus, you can be sure that a resource will reach its audience and entertain them not only with the content but also with the flawless user experience.