Creating high-quality user experiences is essential to the success of your application. It’s how users judge your app. If it feels clunky, confusing, or slow, users will abandon it and likely not return.
With that in mind, you want to be confident that your app has a user experience that will stand up to scrutiny from normal users who just want to get things done. That means testing it thoroughly and finding any usability issues that can be fixed before release. Testing components adds value at every stage of development.
Whether you’re evaluating if a new design is effective or testing if code refactors have introduced regressions, component testing helps you find problems quickly, so you can fix them before they go live in production. This article shows you how to test components effectively and efficiently.
When to Test Components
Anytime you make changes to a part of your app, you should test it thoroughly to understand if the changes are having the effect you intended. You should be testing components as part of the following activities: – Evaluating Design – You likely have a design or wireframe that shows the layout of your app.
You can use that to build a clickable prototype that lets you test interactions and get instant feedback. – Defining Functionality – As you start to implement functionality, you can use unit tests to define behavior and make sure that what you expect to happen does happen. – Refactoring Code – As you make changes to the code, you should be refactoring and introducing new functionality.
You can use unit tests to ensure that the refactoring didn’t introduce any regressions. – Testing Release Candidates – As you get closer to releasing your app and want to be confident that everything is working properly, you can use end-to-end tests to make sure that your app is able to handle realistic user scenarios and workflows. – Conclusion
How to Test Components
Testing components is all about understanding how they should behave and then building a test that confirms that behavior. You could test anything from the expected layout to the loading time of a component.
You can test anything, but make sure that the test has a clear purpose. – Define the behavior – Before you can write a test, you must define the expected behavior. What does the component need to do? What is it responsible for? – Create a unit test – A unit test is a way of defining the expected behavior of a single unit of code, like a function or a method.
You can use unit tests to define the expected behavior of components like buttons, dropdowns, or inputs. – Write an end-to-end test – An end-to-end test is a way of defining the expected behavior of an entire system, like an app.
You can use end-to-end tests to define the expected behavior of full flows, like logging in to the app, adding an item to the shopping cart, and completing a purchase.
Testing Tools for Component Development
As you write tests for your components, you can use tools to make the process easier and more efficient.
These tools allow you to care less about the details of the test and focus more on the expected behavior of a component. – Selenium – Selenium is a testing framework that allows you to write tests in an easy-to-read format.
It lets you test the functional parts of your app, like clicking a button or typing into a field. – Appium – Appium is a testing framework that allows you to write tests in a language designed for automating native mobile apps. It lets you test the UI parts of your app, like inspecting a visual layout and typing text into an input.
Finding potential usability issues with a click test
People notice when something feels off with your app. They notice when the layout doesn’t feel natural. They notice when the app takes longer than expected to load. They notice when something is broken.
A click test is a way to simulate user interactions and see if there are any problems with your app’s usability. – Create a test that simulates a user clicking on every element in your app.
You can do this using Selenium or Appium, or you can do it with a tool like InspectUX. – Test all the expected functionality. Test all the functionality that you expect to work properly. If you have a login button, click it and verify that the app loads the login page.
If you have a dropdown menu, click on every item in the dropdown and verify that the expected functionality works as expected. – Test all of the non-expected functionality too. If you have a help button, click on it and verify that the app navigates to the help page.
If you have a button that opens up a modal, click on it and verify that the modal opens. – After you’ve completed the click tests, take a look at the app and see if there are any issues. Did the app load slowly? Did it take a long time to navigate between pages? Did the app fail to load at all?
Finding potential performance issues with a speed test
A speed test verifies how quickly your app loads and how long it takes to perform actions.
Depending on the type of application, you might have very specific expectations for how quickly your app should load, but the general rule is that if your app takes longer than 3 seconds, it’s too long. You should take a look at all parts of your app, from the network calls to the rendering time. – Create a test that simulates a user using your app and triggering each part of it.
You can do this using Selenium or Appium, or you can do it with a tool like InspectUX. – Use a tool that measures the performance of individual parts of your app. Use tools like New Relic or SpeedTest to measure the performance of each network call, the overall app performance, and the loading times for individual components.
Finding potential code quality issues with an linting test
An linting test verifies that your code has been properly formatted and follows your code conventions and documentation.
It also verifies that you haven’t introduced any new bugs while refactoring the code. – Create a test that verifies that your code follows your style and documentation standards. You can use a tool like Rubocop or Lintly to scan your code and report any issues. – Once the tool has finished running, take a look through the report and see if there are any code quality issues, like missing documentation or incorrect formatting.
Testing components is important at every stage of development. Whether you’re evaluating if a new design is effective or testing if code refactors have introduced regressions, component testing helps you find problems quickly, so you can fix them before they go live in production.