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Testing Forms: A Comprehensive Guide for QA

testing forms

In the digital world, the functionality of web form is paramount. Form testing emerges as a non-negotiable practice that assures an online form's performance aligns with the organization's intent, ensuring visitors can submit forms seamlessly, a process critical for registrations, donations, and engagement.

The need to test forms stems from the fact that technology, despite its advances, is prone to errors. Form testing is not just about checking the working conditions but also about resolving formatting errors, technological bugs, integration issues, and potential user confusion.

form testing meme

It's about the peace of mind that comes from knowing your form is not a barrier but a bridge to your visitors' involvement. Learn how to test the functionality of forms on your website!

What Is Forms Testing?

Using form testing means a systematic approach to evaluating the functionality, usability, and accessibility of online forms on a website. It involves a series of checks and procedures to ensure that every field works correctly, data is collected as intended, and users have a seamless experience while interacting with the form.

The process ranges from simple manual entry tests to complex automated scripts that simulate user behavior. The goal is to identify what's working and rectify any issues that could hinder the form's performance or lead to poor user experience.

Why Test a Website Form?

The importance of testing a website form cannot be overstated. Forms on your website are often the primary means for users to interact with your business, especially for tasks such as signing up for accounts, registering for events, or making online purchases.

A form that functions correctly can greatly enhance user experience, leading to increased engagement and conversion rates. On the other hand, a form with issues can frustrate users, lead to a loss of valuable data, and ultimately decrease the effectiveness of the website.

Testing helps to ensure reliability, increase user satisfaction, and support the overall goals of the website.

How To Test a Website Form?

Testing a form is a multi-layered process. It starts with ensuring that the form's appearance on the website is correct and checking on different devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and desktop.

The functionality must be flawless across various browsers, including Chrome, to avoid alienating any segment of your audience. Here's a rundown of the process:

  1. Preview and Validate: Form building is the most important step. This is where a form builder, especially those with WordPress plugins, becomes invaluable. Testing the form involves checking the conditional logic, ensuring that the form works and that every field operates as expected.

  2. UX: Consider the user experience and overall design. This means checking the form's validation process and ensuring that error and confirmation messages are clear and helpful.

  3. Integration and Functionality: The new form must integrate seamlessly with third-party services like CRM systems and payment processors, confirming that the information---such as an email address or phone number---flows correctly.

  4. Accessibility and Compliance: Accessibility issues must also be considered; the form should be usable by everyone, including those relying on screen readers or alternative input methods. The submission process must be compatible with computers and mobile devices to accommodate all users.

  5. Testing the Submission Process: When you test a form, don't just focus on the front end. Ensure that the form submission leads to the correct thank you page and that all notifications are triggered appropriately.

  6. Monitoring and Analytics: After the form is ready, and even when it's working properly, it's always a good idea to use analytics tools to check performance and collect accurate data. Information that you'll get can help improve forms and identify any new accessibility issues or bugs that might arise.

  7. The Importance of Regular Updates: Nonprofits might also use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to ensure their forms are easily discoverable. This, coupled with regular updates and tests, ensures that forms continue to work as intended, even as browsers and devices evolve.

Strategies to Test Your  Website Form

  1. Visual and Functional Inspection: Begin by previewing your form on your site. Check for aesthetics, field inclusion, and any code snippets that might have mistakenly made their way onto the page.

  2. Accessibility: Ensure the form is easy to interpret, mobile-friendly, and accessible via keyboard navigation. Use screen readers to test auditory accessibility, addressing the needs of all potential users.

  3. Error Message Evaluation: Test required fields intentionally left blank to assess if the error prompts are clear and guide the user appropriately.

  4. Conditional Logic Checking: If your form uses conditional fields, validate their functionality to ensure they appear or hide as per the designed triggers.

  5. Submission Confirmation: Post-submission, ensure that the correct thank-you message or page is displayed, providing clear next steps for the user.

  6. Email Notification Testing: Confirm that upon form submission, the appropriate email notifications are dispatched and appear as intended.

  7. Integration Verification: For forms tied to CRM, payment processors, or email marketing tools, verify that information is accurately passed and received.

  8. Cleanup: Post-testing, remember to remove test data to maintain the integrity of your records.

Broadening Your Testing Scope

  1. Cross-Device Functionality: Test your form across various devices and browsers to ensure universal compatibility.

  2. Real User Feedback: Invite colleagues and friends to use your form while you observe their interaction, gathering firsthand insights into user experience.

  3. Performance Metrics: Leverage tools like PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse to measure site performance and identify SEO, best practice, and accessibility issues.

  4. Monitoring User Experience: Use field data to monitor real user interactions with your form, employing the PSI API or Lighthouse CI for continual performance checks.

Check also What is User Journey Testing? Guide for Software Testers.

Monitoring Form Experience

  1. Real User Monitoring (RUM): RUM tools collect performance data directly from users' browsers. This data provides insights into how users interact with forms under various conditions, including different devices, browsers, connection speeds, and more.

  2. Heatmaps and Session Recordings: Heatmap tools can show where users click, move, and scroll on your forms. Session recordings let you watch real-time user interactions with your forms to understand where they may encounter problems.

  3. Conversion Funnels: Use analytics tools to set up conversion funnels that track the user's journey through the form. This helps identify at what stage users are dropping off or experiencing issues.

  4. Feedback Tools: Implement feedback buttons or surveys that ask users about their experience directly after they use the form. This can provide qualitative data on user satisfaction.

  5. Error Logging: Keep logs of form errors encountered by users. This can help identify common issues that need to be addressed to improve the form experience.

Analyzing Forms

By regularly monitoring and analyzing your forms, you can gain valuable insights into how to optimize them for better performance, higher conversion rates, and a smoother user experience. This is an ongoing process, as user expectations and web standards continue to evolve.

For ongoing monitoring, you can use the PSI API to integrate performance testing into your continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) workflows, ensuring that any updates to your form maintain or improve its performance.

In essence, PSI can be a part of your toolkit for monitoring form experience by ensuring that the technical aspects of your form's performance are optimized, which is a critical part of the overall user experience.

However, for a more detailed analysis of how users interact with the form itself (such as field completion rates, error messages, and abandonment rates), you would need to complement PSI with other tools that are dedicated to user experience monitoring.

Conclusion

Form testing is a process that assures nonprofits that their online tools are efficient in gathering essential information. It's a practice that supports the mission of nonprofits by enhancing user experience, thereby strengthening relationships with supporters.

Remember, a form is more than a gateway to data---it's an extension of your nonprofit's commitment to its cause and community.

FAQ

What is form testing and why is it important?

Form testing is the process of evaluating and ensuring the functionality of online forms. It is important to test forms to ensure that they are working as intended, capturing the necessary information, and providing a seamless user experience.

How can I test my online forms?

You can test your forms by filling them out with different sets of data, trying various scenarios, and using form-testing tools or plugins to automate the process.

What are some best practices for testing forms?

Some best practices for testing forms include testing on different devices and screen sizes, validating input fields and error messages, and testing form submission under various network conditions.

Why is it important to test every element of a form?

Testing every element of a form helps identify any potential issues or errors that may arise during the user interaction. It ensures that the form functions smoothly and provides a positive user experience.

How can form testing help in creating an effective form?

Form testing helps you identify and address any usability or functional issues, ensuring that the form works seamlessly for users. It also helps in refining the form design and user flow based on testing feedback.

What are some common things to look for when testing a web form?

When testing a web form, it's important to check for form validation, submission handling, error messages, form length, and compatibility across different browsers and devices.

Why should marketers get involved in form testing?

Marketers should get involved in form testing to ensure that the forms capture the necessary information for lead generation and analytics tracking. Testing helps optimize forms for better conversion rates.

How can form testing help improve user experience?

Form testing helps you create forms that are user-friendly, with clear instructions, helpful validation messages, and efficient submission processes, ultimately enhancing the overall user experience.

What are the benefits of testing your online forms?

Testing your online forms helps you identify and fix any issues before users encounter them, ensures that the forms are working flawlessly, and provides the information you need for tracking and analysis.

Is it important to test the form submission process?

Yes, testing the form submission process is crucial to ensure that users can successfully submit the form and that the data is captured accurately. It helps you validate that the submission URL is correct and that the submission confirmation is displayed appropriately.

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Dominik Szahidewicz

Software Developer

Application Consultant working as a Tech Writer https://www.linkedin.com/in/dominikdurejko/

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