Testing Your Web Application - A Quick 10-Step Guide

Written by Krishen Kota

Continued from page 1

Step 7 - Usability Testing

In usability testing, you'll be looking at aspects of your web application that affectrepparttar user's experience, such as:

∑How easy is it to navigate through your web application?

∑Is it obvious torepparttar 118044 user which actions are available to him or her?

∑Isrepparttar 118045 look-and-feel of your web application consistent from page to page, including font sizes and colors?

The book, "Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability" by Steve Krug and Roger Black, provides a practical approach torepparttar 118046 topic of usability. I refer to it often, and recommend it highly.

In addition torepparttar 118047 traditional navigation and look-and-feel issues, Section 508 compliance is another area of importance. The 1998 Amendment to Section 508 ofrepparttar 118048 Rehabilitation Act spells out accessibility requirements for individuals with certain disabilities.

For instance, if a user forgets to fill in a required field, you might think it is a good idea to presentrepparttar 118049 user with a friendly error message and changerepparttar 118050 color ofrepparttar 118051 field label to red or some other conspicuous color. However, changingrepparttar 118052 color ofrepparttar 118053 field label would not really help a user who has difficulty deciphering colors. The use of color may help most users, but you would want to use an additional visual clue, such as placing an asterisk besiderepparttar 118054 field in question or additionally makingrepparttar 118055 text bold.

For more details, refer to http://www.section508.gov. Another great resource that can help analyze your HTML pages for Section 508 compliance can be found at http://www.cast.org/bobby/. If you are working withrepparttar 118056 United States federal government, Section 508 compliance is not only good design, it most likely is a legal requirement. You may want to utilizerepparttar 118057 following information regarding techniques for accessibility evaluation and repair tools, which can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR/AERT.

Step 8 - Load Testing

In performing load testing, you want to simulate how users will use your web application inrepparttar 118058 real world. The earlier you perform load testingrepparttar 118059 better. Simple design changes can often make a significant impact onrepparttar 118060 performance and scalability of your web application. A good overview of how to perform load testing can be found on Microsoft's Developer Network (MSDN) website.


A topic closely related to load testing is performance tuning. Performance tuning should be tightly integrated withrepparttar 118061 design of your application. If you are using Microsoft technology,repparttar 118062 following article is a great resource for understandingrepparttar 118063 specifics of tuning a web application.


People hate to wait for a web page to load. As general rule, try to make sure that all of your pages load in 15 seconds or less. This rule will of course depend on your particular application andrepparttar 118064 expectations ofrepparttar 118065 people using it.

Step 9 - User Acceptance Testing

By performing user acceptance testing, you are making sure your web application fitsrepparttar 118066 use for which it was intended. Simply stated, you are making sure your web application makes things easier forrepparttar 118067 user and not harder. One effective way to handle user acceptance testing is by setting up a beta test for your web application.

One article to help you get started planning an effective beta test is: Supercharged Beta Test by Joshua Grossnickle and Oliver Raskin, May 14, 2001 which can be found at: http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/01/20/index1a.html?tw=design. This article points outrepparttar 118068 critical aspects of setting up a beta test including how to identify beta testers and how to obtain their feedback. The main point to remember in user acceptance testing is to listen to whatrepparttar 118069 people using your web application are saying. Their feedback will be critical torepparttar 118070 ultimate success of your web application.

Step 10 - Testing Security

Withrepparttar 118071 large number of highly skilled hackers inrepparttar 118072 world, security should be a huge concern for anyone building a web application. You need to test how secure your web application is from both external and internal threats. The security of your web application should be planned for and verified by qualified security specialists.

If you think security is a subject that is over-hyped, check out Steve Gibson's account of how a 13 year old hacker took his company's website down for an extended period of time at will. You can find this eye-opening security case study at:


Some additional online resources to help you stay up to date onrepparttar 118073 latest Internet security issues include:

CERT Coordination Center http://www.cert.org/

Computer Security Resource Center http://csrc.nist.gov/

After performing your initial security testing, make sure to also perform ongoing security audits to ensure your web application remains secure over time as people and technology change.

Testing a web application can be a totally overwhelming task. The best advice I can give you is to keep prioritizing and focusing onrepparttar 118074 most important aspects of your application and donít forget to solicit help from your fellow team members.

By followingrepparttar 118075 steps above coupled with your own expertise and knowledge, you will have a web application you can be proud of and that your users will love. You will also be giving your companyrepparttar 118076 opportunity to deploy a web application that could become a run away success and possibly makes tons of money, saves millions of lives, or slashes customer support costs in half. Even better, because of your awesome web application, you may get profiled on CNN, which causesrepparttar 118077 killer job offers to start flooding in.

Proper testing is an integral part of creating a positive user experience, which can translate intorepparttar 118078 ultimate success of your web application. Even if your web application doesnít get featured on CNN, CNBC, or Fox News, you can take great satisfaction in knowing how you and your teamís diligent testing efforts made allrepparttar 118079 difference in your successful deployment.

Copyright © 2002 Krishen Kota, All Rights Reserved

Krishen Kota is a 10-year veteran of the information technology consulting industry and is a Certified Project Management Professional. Krishen serves as President of AdminiTrack, Inc. (www.adminitrack.com), which provides a web-based issue and defect tracking application designed specifically for professional software development teams. Krishen can be contacted via email at kkota@adminitrack.com.

How to create lists in HTML and control the way they look

Written by Milana Leshinsky

Continued from page 1

Every Ordered list begins counting with "1" by default. Every time you create a list, it automatically display "1" asrepparttar first item. But what if you don't want a list to start with "1"? Is it possible for you to control what number it starts counting at?

Let's say you are explaining different features of a product on your web page. You listrepparttar 118043 first 3 features, but then would like to stop for a moment and talk a little more aboutrepparttar 118044 3rd feature. You have to endrepparttar 118045 list by usingrepparttar 118046 tag. Then you will addrepparttar 118047 extra explanation about it inrepparttar 118048 next 2-3 paragraphs.

Now, you want to continue with your list. Oops! But you already closed it. If you start a new list, it will automatically begin with "1" again. But you need it to start with "4", right?

Here is what you do:

  1. This item will be number 4
  2. The next one will be 5 and so on.

All I did was addrepparttar 118049 word "value" and gave it a number. That number will start your list, and allrepparttar 118050 following list items will be counted from there.

And here isrepparttar 118051 sprinkles onrepparttar 118052 frosting. And this will REALLY blow you off!

In an Unordered list bullets look different in each browser. If you would like to have control over how bullets look on your web site, you can specify their type (options are - square, circle, and disc):

  • This item has a black circle bullet
  • The next one has empty circle as a bullet
  • The last one looks like a square

So there you have it. Three types of lists that you can mix, match, combine and completely control with enough practice and experimentation. Use them often. Especially when you have long web pages filled with text. Be easy on your readers' eyes and they will be more likely to read what you have to say.

Milana Leshinsky is the author of web design manuals for new and intermediate level webmasters. Her latest e-book "Mesmerizing Website Power" includes 65 web design tutorials, and a special report on how to design and lay out your web site to sell more of your products, "Web Design Psychology & Asthetics". Check it out at: http://www.instantwebanswers.com/?html-lists

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