Test Your Site Like a Pro–Part 1: Fixing Site Bugs

by Matt Montaruli on January 26, 2012

You complete your much-anticipated, year-long project and happily upload all of your development files onto your production server, only to find some embarrassing bugs.

The issues are live on your customer’s site and you need them fixed, fast!

Buckle down—you have some bugs to fix, but you also have to learn from your mistakes in letting these issues slip out.

Part one of this article will discuss fixing the issues at hand, while part two will detail how to prevent future blunders such as these.

Prioritize and make a list

Having an unorganized mental list of what needs to be fixed can be impossible to complete. In order to fix these bugs effectively, you first must list all issues you notice—either on paper or in your favorite task management app. Then, you should prioritize—what are the most embarrassing bugs that need fixing immediately?

I’d suggest prioritizing in this fashion:

  1. Most embarrassing
  2. Moderately embarrassing
  3. Low hanging fruit
  4. Less embarrassing

1. Most embarrassing: bugs that impede functionality

If your viewer can’t interact with the site, they’ll leave right away. You want to make sure your site is as easy as possible to use. Bugs that impede functionality include:

  • Broken navigation/links
  • Missing elements essential for the site to function
  • Non-working JavaScript

Having the above working is critical. Fix these issues immediately.

2. Moderately embarrassing: bugs that cause ugly rendering

This is just slightly lower priority than functionality issues.

Your users can now interact with your site, however unattractive rendering still hurts your credibility. Even patient viewers will end up leaving your site with a bad taste in their mouth. These bugs may include:

  • Incorrect element sizing and positioning (where the design is materially affected)
  • Incorrect element colors (where the colors really deviate from the site’s color scheme)
  • Noticeable missing design elements

You want your site to be easy and pleasing to the eye. Any messy rendering such as this can be distracting to the user and may prevent them from making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

3. Low hanging fruit

After the above issues are resolved, concentrate on fixing up the easiest and quickest-to-fix issues.

This will also help your task list be more manageable and less overwhelming.

4. Less embarrassing bugs

Now that you’ve taken care of some of the more visible site issues and easier-to-fix bugs, it’s time to tackle the smaller eye-sores.

These issues won’t necessarily drive your viewers away (many will not even notice them), however fixing these will give your site the polished look you intended.

Implement the best solution

Taking the extra time to implement the best fix for each issue (instead of a quick fix) will pay off in the long run. This could mean the difference in search engine rankings, customer interest, and of course, avoiding unnecessary problems in the future.

This will also ensure your site coding is easiest to maintain.

Continue testing

The above tips should fix most issues that will emerge. However, some bugs may reveal themselves as content is added.

The best remedy is to proactively test and review your site on a regular, scheduled basis.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article, which covers the steps needed to minimize bugs being released onto your production site. Have anything to add to the list above, or would you do things differently? Let us know in the comments below.