Written by Colin Grey on October 16, 2015
in Digital Marketing

Working in the digital world, I find that one of the most important steps in a successful project is often overlooked – Quality Control (QC).  Many companies don’t have dedicated QC resources, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t follow QC best practices. Here are 5 ways to improve your QC processes for digital projects:

  1. Break it. A lot of people approach digital QC under the premise that it only needs to validate that their digital entity works correctly. This may be fine for the bare minimum, but to be truly effective at QC your aim should be to break the website, software, etc. This means trying all sorts of crazy combinations in a form for example. What if you added letters to a phone number field? What if you set your birthdate in the future? You have to remember that the end product you are testing is going to be used by thousands, and one of those people will almost certainly try something crazy. You need to think of it before they do, and fix it.
  2. Don’t forget the backend. You have tested your website, and everything looks great! There are no spelling or grammar mistakes, it renders in all the proper browsers, and the form validates the fields properly. Your job is done, right? You need to check that the data you are submitting is making its way to the database (whatever that might be) correctly, because if it’s not, it doesn’t matter how pretty your website is. If you aren’t capturing data correctly, all you have is a nice electronic poster. This isn’t just for forms, either. You must ensure that your site analytics are tracking correctly, that triggered emails are being deployed correctly, and that any other custom functionality you have developed is working properly.
  3. Live QC. Proper QC does not stop on the development environment. Though we do not care to admit it, issues can still occur when the final product goes live. Maybe you did not whitelist the IP address of the production server, maybe the links within the webpage were coded to the dev environment and were not updated to production, etc. To ensure that the final product is clear of errors, so you can sleep at night, run through the website one final time. Complete a similar testing plan to what was completed during the dev stage. The level of detail is dependent on the level of risk you are comfortable with. But, you would rather catch these issues now before your customer does.
  4. Fresh eyes. A lot of project managers (PM) will QC their own work, which is ok most of the time. However, the PM has been looking at the same creative, content, and dev environment for days or even weeks. Over time, the PM may fail to catch details or issues because they have seen it 100 times and can’t pick up small differences. This is why you need bring in a fresh pair of eyes that have not seen the product before. They are coming at this project fresh, and are more likely to question and notice issues because they have not worked in it day after day.
  5. Do not rush or multi-task. QC is often the first task to be rushed in a project due to tight timelines. If you have to make this call, consider this – the faster you want QC to be completed, the more likely it is that issues will be missed. It’s like trying to read a sign on the wall as you run past it: you might catch about 90% of the details, but the remaining 10% could be completely wrong. Now, if the QC team is given the correct amount of time to complete the testing of the product, do not also have them complete a dozen other things at the same time. Having the QC resource distracted may mean that they skip a step, miss a critical bug, or take even longer than expected. Just leave the QC person to their testing, and you should be happy with the results.

Colin Grey is a Senior Digital Project Manager at Ariad Communications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can we help you today?

Are you happy with your results? Do you feel you have a true understanding of your customer, their goals and their journey? Perhaps you’re looking for new and innovative ways to connect with them?

Ariad understands the value and power of consumer-centric programs and can arm you with the right tools to help your buyer buy.

We can help you on where to go next

Talk to us today