Performing a Risk Analysis of Your E-Commerce Website
When you operate an e-commerce website, there are probably a few things that are high on your list of priorities: functionality, usability, mobile friendliness and performance come to mind. But sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly which test cases you should spend your time and energy on. The key is understanding your application and your users. By performing a risk analysis of your e-commerce website to determine high priority areas, you can make more informed decisions when it comes to web testing.
1. Popular Places
They say that first impressions last the longest, and the same holds true for your e-commerce website. Evaluate which pages users are landing on first and which have the highest traffic by looking at your analytics. Set time aside during regression and visual testing to ensure they’re top notch in terms of performance, functionality, usability and design.
There are probably a few basics that every consumer expects when shopping online. Some might include login, navigation, search, filters, product pages, etc. Consider how the buyer journey would be affected if each of these places was broken. How important is filtering on a page that has 10 items? Does that change if there are 1,000? By determining how critical each element is, you can better understand what to test first.
3. Buyer Journey
Going from “Add to Cart” to “Order Confirmed” includes many moving parts, and if one of those parts isn’t working, it may impact your customer’s ability to complete their purchase. What’s most critical in order for the visitor to buy, and what would prevent that if broken? Testing the different ways to pay — credit card vs. PayPal — may take priority over testing autofill for form fields, for example. Make a ranking of some of the test cases that come up during payment, and make sure the ones at the top are included in testing.
Depending on your application, you may have to consider different user states. Does someone have to log in to shop? What about to check out? Think about how the experience differs for new users compared to returning users, and account holders compared to guests. Not only do you have to test these different avenues, you have to think about the risk associated with those test cases. If an account is required, the process to create one may take on a higher priority.
5. Privacy and Security
Impressing your customers won’t do you much good if they don’t trust the security of your web application. Identify where personal (phone number, email address) or sensitive information (payment and password) is required. Whenever you’re storing this type of data, security testing should be of utmost importance so that leaks, hacks and breaches don’t ruin your brand's reputation.
6. Sales and Promotions
Do you have new pages made for a certain sale or repurposed pages you’re directing traffic to for a promotion? While the risk of these may be temporary and the tests are one-off, it’s important to keep an eye on the relevancy of your tests over time. Check often to make sure that regression tests are still relevant to meet requirements, and ensure that new tests are added as needed.
7. Browsers and Devices
Last but not least, you want to make sure that your website works across various browsers and devices during exploratory testing, in addition to when it undergoes a code change. Your users are visiting your site on a wide range of configurations, which means you need to test your site on them, too. By analyzing which ones your visitors are on, you can focus on those instead of attempting to test them all.
There’s not enough time in the week to test every part of your web application. The good news is that planning and strategizing your testing means that you can target quality where it matters most. This way, your tests results will be more beneficial to your team and meaningful to the end user.
Alexandra McPeak is the content marketing specialist at SmartBear, a provider of software quality tools.
Related story: 9 Types of Web Testing for Your Business to Survive
Alex McPeak is a Content Marketing Specialist at Zaius, the B2C CRM that connects customer data and orchestrates your campaigns. In her role, she strives to assist marketers at every touchpoint in the customer journey and stay atop of the trends of retail and e-commerce.