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  1. #1
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Can We Ever Test Enough?

    I would be really interested to find out what methods you all use to test and evaluate your websites. Apart from checking the code and design in the different browsers available to you, how do you test the actual website in terms of usability, ease of use, navigation requirements etc?

    Please read my article if you are interested in one of my testing techniques.

  2. #2
    Nice Mug jer's Avatar
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    I never considered myself much of a designer, so I don't expect anyone to be ohhing and ahhing when I show them the many stages of my design. I like to keep things simple basically, If you've ever traversed my pages, you'll know that I don't like anything to be more than 2 clicks away from the front page (obviously not including threads in forums or certain pages in scripts, and so on).

    I have a few people on my AIM list (Chris/TWT I'm looking your way ) who I absolutely LOVE to bug about every little detail of my pages -- unfortunately I think I'm wearing them down, so perhaps I need to find some more people to bug regularly. (obviously they need to realize that I go for them because I have a lot of respect for their skills.. not because I'm a moocher )

    Beyond that, one I feel I'm just about done I send it to friends from school and so on. They're not always the most web savvy, so I ask them to go through the whole site and tell me what they think. I fix things that bug them, and ask if they recall seeing "such and such", if they do then I can't really complain about the design. If they don't, then I know there's probably something wrong.

    Whenever I get feedback from visitors I take it seriously, and if it's a complaint I go to my other evaluators and ask their opinion. If they agree, then usually I'll ensure it's fixed.

    I'll be putting my latest site up for review in a few days, so hopefully anyone reading this thread can look out for it and give it a good thorough beating Otherwise, take a look anyway and you'll see what I'm talking about.
    Jeremy Watts :: Co-Founder
    Modevia Web Services :: Experience the Difference.

  3. #3
    Digital Warrior Renegade's Avatar
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    Testing/debugging, etc etc, never stops. At least for me it does not. I usually gather a couple friends to hammer away at a site, or a script, and get feedback from them, prior to it going live.

    Once the site goes live, I tend to get comments from users about HTML/usability/navigation/etc etc. I take those comments under heavy consideration. Especially if I get more than one about the same thing.

    I like to think of web pages as living documents, always being improved upon.

  4. #4
    Bimbo With A Brain! silver trophy Saz's Avatar
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    I have a friend in the States who just loves to pull anything I do to pieces. If there's something not quite right he'll find it and tell me.....several times over!
    Saz: Naturally Blonde, Naturally Dizzy!
    No longer Editor of the Community Crier.

    Don't mind me, I'm having a BLONDE moment!

  5. #5
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    It sounds like all of you do extensive testing and evaluation, however, time is money, what determines when you say "enough is enough"?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict rush78's Avatar
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    I guess when the criteria you put for yourself and your website are consistent with the majority of your actual/potential target market (visitors).

    each website plus its market determines the criteria i'm talking about.

    for example;
    if you're designing a website for elderly people, you definitely wouldn't set your font size on "2" or your font color on "grey"...
    elder people tend to have sight difficulty as they grow old...so they won't be comfy browsing your website. (that was a usability example)

    when it comes to usability...i find jacob Neilsen a real guru

    Rush
    Glad to be BACK

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict cyberprince's Avatar
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    I test on various systems. In cyber cafes at work and other place. It really helps to have friends who surf a lot and to have your site reviewed on forums such as this. That what you can reach a broader user base, and various systems. If you don't have the financial capability to hire someone this is the best you can do.

    Usability specialist pay "normal" computer users to surf through their sites while they sit down beside them and see how they navigatie through the sites. That way they can improve on certain bumps users may trip on along the way.

    We can do the same! I've tried it with colleagues at work, it does give you insight.

  8. #8
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I agree, but eh problem hence lies with how to choose your "normal" users! What is "normal"? I think the selection process for choosing testers can be very imnportant.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    IMO you should not try to find people which you would class as normal testers. Whenever I test a website, I ask people with all sorts of connections, resolutions, browsers to take a look at the website.
    This allows me to get feedback from almost all the possible future visitors of the website.

  10. #10
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Well..pretty easy, I ask my mom and dad to take a look =) They hardly use the internet =)

    And I ask friends and almost everyone I know who can express their opinion.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Aes's Avatar
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    I post on SitePoint.
    Colin Anderson
    Ambition is a poor excuse for those without
    sense enough to be lazy.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru coiL's Avatar
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    forums..

    I only just recently started making web pages. I've only made a couple of personal ones so far. But basicaly I've tested them by asking friends and family what they think. And being very critical of it myself. I may have only just started designing but I've been surfing the web for 3 years, so I know what looks good, what sort of sites have the most hits and nicest comments in the guest books/forums.


    of course I also searched for a few hours until I had myself a nice list of web developers forums. I figured ppl who get paid to do this stuff would be able to tell me if my sites are any good or not
    coiL
    "cradled in the learning curve"

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict cyberprince's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Nicky
    I agree, but eh problem hence lies with how to choose your "normal" users! What is "normal"? I think the selection process for choosing testers can be very imnportant.
    That's very true. When I was in Collge they taughtus to identify our audience before anything else. I guess with the Internet this job has become even more difficult, you have viewers of all sorts and sizes, that's why usability experts stress for the lowest common denominator.

    Its quite sad that we have to sacrifice so much.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Hi.

    I've never tried but my teachers usually tell to show the work to children because they try all and they are the best to look for new ideas.


  15. #15
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Children are a totally different breed altogether. However, I don't see the advantage in using a 6 year old to test a website that sells lingerie.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict cyberprince's Avatar
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    I agree...children are just one part of the entire picture. Their habits and manner of srufing differ from other surfers.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Addict Drinky's Avatar
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    Can We Ever Test Enough?

    Short answer Nicky is no.

    Unfortunatly i', just off to bed so i didn't read your article.

    I'm sure i could think of something that you might not have and vice versa. There are more factors than just this too.

    During the second and final years of my Degree we looked at "Good enough Software" or how do you know when your software is ready for release.

    I'll dig out some of my work (kept it all you know) and get a few quotes from sources other than me.

    The theory of good enough software goes along the lines of; you can never be sure that there are exactly no bugs in your code, but through thourough testing you can trap and fix most of them.

    You can measure how good software is through testing to find out a bugs per lines of code figure.

    An Example of good enough software would be the Space Shuttle's flight control and navigation systems (this is safety critical software (if it fails people die)), widely regarded to be some of the most 'bug free' and 'safe' code in existance. I think the figure is like one non-serious bug per million lines of code. (there is a figure for this somewhere in my notes)
    Drinky


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