Back in June, I wrote an article entitled ‘Never stop experimenting’. In that post, I wrote about how important it is to always experiment with your website; you should be constantly tweaking and improving your site and part of this process includes experimentation.
When you experiment and try out new things on your website, it is essential that you always test to ensure that things are working as you expect and that there are no problems that you may be unaware of.
Test from an administrator’s perspective
A new feature for your website is no good if it is impossible to administer properly. You should vigourously test any new feature and make yourself an expert in how it works. Make sure you understand exactly how to administer any new feature before fully launching it upon your community.
When I first launched the email penpals section at Just Chat, I made sure I familiarised myself with the full administrative functions offered in the admin area. It is no good launching a new feature and then not being able to modify or take action on something because you do not know how to administrate the new feature properly. Worse, you may find that the action you wish to perform isn’t even supported by the software!
Test from a user’s perspective
It is all too easy to set up a new feature, see that all works well from an administrative stand-point and then presume that all is working fine. Even when you have made all your desired customisations, you should ensure that everything is working from the perspective of a regular user of your site.
When I installed Comment Relish for this blog, it was relatively easy to customise the emails thanking people for writing a comment. Once I tested the plugin by adding a comment to the blog and reading the email that was sent, I noticed a few formatting issues that I would not otherwise have been aware of.
Once I had seen this issue from the user perspective, I was able to adjust and modify the plugin to ensure that everything appeared and worked just as I wanted.
Once you have tested any new features from both an administrative and a user perspective, there is still one more task left – ensure you keep things updated!
Plugins and software scripts are often updated, and it is important for you to be aware of any new updates to ensure your site’s features continue to work as you would expect.
Do you test all your site’s features from both an administrative and user perspective? Have you spotted any mistakes that you were previously unaware of thanks to testing? Whatever your experiences or thoughts, share them by leaving a comment below.