If you’ve just commissioned a new website for your business or organization, it’s always exciting to view and use the finished product. Releasing a new website for your business is an exciting time, especially if your previous site was old and obsolete. However, no matter how established or trustworthy your web developer may be, it’s always a good idea to conduct your own informal testing on your new website before you release it live to the public to ensure the site is free of technical and design oversights and errors, is usable for your target market and, most importantly, that it meets the specifications and goals that you set forward from the beginning of the design process. While it may be hard to believe, you can sometimes find oversights, errors, and problems that the developers missed, even if you don’t consider yourself especially Internet- or technology-savvy. In fact, having moderately outdated or underpowered computers and devices can be an advantage when it comes to finding and identifying problems that need to be fixed.

Web Development In The 1990s

There have been many advances in web development over the past two decades, and designing and developing a website is both easier – and in some ways, harder – than ever before. In the mid to late 1990s, web development was still in its relative infancy, and web developers were faced with the challenges of developing interesting and visually dynamic websites using basic development tools for an audience with underpowered computers, low-resolution monitors, incredibly slow dial-up Internet connections, and two competing web browsers (Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer) that didn’t always display websites in the same way. Things weren’t all bad, as these early developers also had a number of advantages over their modern contemporaries as well. They created websites designed for computer monitors that often had similar resolutions, and their customers often had lower expectations of what a website could accomplish based on technical limitations and the relative “newness” of the Internet.

The Internet Is Very Saturated

Modern web developers have many advanced tools at their disposal, including Content Management Systems (CMS) that offer powerful and versatile platforms for developing a wide variety of websites. Computers and other devices are incredibly cheap and powerful when compared to their 1990s counterparts, Internet connections are faster and modern web browsers now respect a uniform set of web standards that have eliminated many of the proprietary browser technologies that previously broke websites. It’s never been easy to develop a great website, and modern web developers face more modern challenges. The modern Web is an incredibly crowded and competitive place, and it is very difficult to distinguish your business, especially your Ecommerce business, and set it apart from the crowd. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also more advanced, and from a design perspective, screen sizes and resolutions have never been more varied. We expect websites to display correctly (and even beautifully) on every device we use to browse the Internet, from a large widescreen computer monitor to a relatively small smartphone screen.

What To Look For When Testing Your New Website

Because modern websites are usually built using an advanced and often mature CMS, it is unlikely that you will find a significant technical problem with your new website. Web developers have a wide range of automatic tests and testing services that can be utilized to instantly search for technical problems with your new site. However, as with all automated tests, computers and software neglect to find problems that a human may notice, including typographical or grammatical errors in the copy, graphical elements that are skewed or misplaced, and, most importantly, usability problems that could hinder or even prevent your target market from completing a purchase or locating necessary information contained in your site.

In our next post, we will discuss specific tests you can conduct at home to search for and potentially discover problems with your website that your web developer may have missed.