How to Make Your Final Testing and Reviews Count

September 2018
 minute read
web page design rough sketch in a notebook with pen

If completing a web design project is like running a marathon, you’re in the home stretch. You’ve set goals with stakeholders, wireframed, iterated through different designs, and now you’re here. All that’s standing between you and launch day is a little bit of final testing and polishing. Awesome! With all the excitement leading up to your project going live, it can be tempting to skimp on testing a bit-- after all, you did just spend a ton of time and energy putting it together in the first place. But don’t worry. We’ve got your back.

This quick checklist will help you get through the review process and on to launch day festivities in no time:

  • Take a close look at your design
  • Review the details
  • Make sure functionality is up to snuff
  • Double-check your links
  • Think about cross-browser compatibility...
  • ...And compatibility with different devices
  • Audit your content
  • Get your SEO strategy in order
You’ve put a lot of work into your design so far. Make sure all of those carefully-made decisions are reflected in your final product.

Take a Close Look at Your Design

The main purpose of this final testing stage is to make sure everything is functioning as it should be, but that doesn’t mean you can completely gloss over the design. Before you dive into the nittier grittier stuff, take a little bit of time to make sure everything looks the way you wanted it to. Did you remember to swap out the old logo for the new logo? Did you change the background from millennial pink to rose gold like the client requested?

colors under a magnifier glass
Now’s the time to take a close look and make sure all of the little details in your design are executed just right.

With all of the details, opinions, and revisions involved in the design process, it can be easy to overlook something, and it’s much better to catch any little mistakes now. Nothing’s worse than proudly pulling up your site on launch day only to discover…. your paragraph fonts are Arial when the should be Avenir.

Review the Details

Beyond aesthetic details, there are a lot of little facts in your project that need to be double-checked. Every image and product description has to be reviewed, especially for ecommerce projects. Alternatively, if you’re designing a site for a brick-and-mortar business, do you have their hours of operation correct? Their street address, customer service email, and phone number?

meeting between two people
It may be helpful to call in an expert on your client’s brand to help you review the information on your site.

A mistake here could lead to a lot of frustrated customers for your client and a very frustrated client for you. It may even be a good idea to enlist the help of someone from your client’s team, a brand expert who can verify whether or not your information is up to date with the greatest degree of certainty. Just make sure you give yourself and any reviewers you bring in to help you out enough time to look things over before launch day.

Make Sure Functionality is Up to Snuff

Websites have a lot of moving parts. Now’s the time to test the functionality of any part of your site responsible for collecting data. That can include lots of things, like:

  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • Request forms
  • Shopping carts
  • Etc.

Make sure that any forms you have on the site have clear instructions and fields because confusing forms can drop conversion rates dramatically. Similarly, if your site has a checkout, make sure that everything there is running smoothly as well. Shopping cart abandonment is a big enough hurdle as it is-- you don’t want a typo or unclear piece of information to drive that rate up any higher than it has to be.

shopping online
Making sure your forms, shopping cart, and other elements of your site that collect data work well is a great help to your conversion rates.

Since you’ve been looking at this project and poring over all of its details for so long, consider bringing in a fresh set of eyes. Have someone from your client’s company fill out the forms and go through the checkout process, providing you with feedback on their experience. They’ll help you catch anything you might have missed.

Double-Check Your Links

Links are the roads that allow visitors to navigate your site and also, therefore, to progress through your conversion funnel. Needless to say, that’s a pretty important task. If you haven’t already checked to make sure all of your internal and external links work flawlessly, now would be a great time to do it.

computer code
Make sure any internal or external links in your code take your visitors where they’re supposed to.

Think About Cross-Browser Compatibility

Ask any internet-using individual what their preferred browser is, and they’ll have an answer for you. Why? They’re all a little different. Unfortunately, when you’re playing the role of website designer that means that your site has to be compatible with a number of slightly different set-ups. If downloading all of the popular browser and using them for testing isn’t your idea of a fun Friday afternoon, explore browser compatibility tools like Browsershots or Browser Sandbox to streamline the process.

Think About Compatibility Across Devices, Too

Similarly, don’t forget that today we live in a word where a huge percentage of online activity happens from mobile phones or tablets. Everything about your site including buttons, links, and interactive elements should work just as well on these smaller touchscreen devices as they do on a laptop or desktop computer.

Laptop, tablets, and phones
Visitors can access your site from any device. It’s your job to make sure your site looks good on as many of those devices as possible.

Audit Your Content

You’ve surely read through the copy for your site and any content you might be putting out a million times over the course of the design process, but do it just one last time. For us. Please? Keep in mind that a little grammar mistake, a single typo, or even some unclear phrasing can have a huge impact on the way visitors perceive your client’s brand. For that reason, make sure that the text on your site is as polished as the design is.

Additionally, your content should be valuable and easy for readers to get through. A few good practices to keep in mind are:

  • Make your headers mean something
  • Write simple paragraphs made up of just a few simple sentences
  • Bulleted lists are your friend
  • If there’s copy that doesn’t add meaning, it doesn’t belong on your site
  • Copy should also be consistent with your brand’s voice
  • There’s no excuse for errors in grammar or spelling at this point in the game

Get Your SEO Strategy In Order

There are some SEO strategies-- like coding with proper heading and paragraph tags or using well-researched keywords in your copy-- that you’ve probably been keeping up with throughout the design process. But don’t forget to include meta titles and meta descriptions. These play a huge role in how your site looks when someone finds it on search engines like Google, so make sure they’re crafted well. Keep in mind that meta titles should be under 70 characters or so, and meta descriptions should be under 160 characters.

graphs on a paper
Thinking about SEO from the get-go will really help your site succeed.

And that’s it! With your site reviewed and any loose ends tied up, you’re ready to move on to the most exciting stage in the web design process: launch!


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