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Functional and non-functional testing both come under the umbrella term of website testing. In simple terms, website testing examines the overall quality of a website or app, through testing practices such as functional, regression and usability testing. These different testing practices each cover a different key aspect of a platform's structure and are essential to ensure a website or app works seamlessly by matching customer expectations.
Unfortunately, website testing is often under-appreciated or bottle-necked as businesses focus more on getting platform updates live, instead of focusing on the quality of their website or app. That is pushing new functionalities or maintaining a hectic release schedule is good in theory but if these updates corrupt the core coding of your platform, produce bugs or shake the secure structure of your website or app, then all that work goes to waste. Subsequently, users are unable to complete conversions, hackers infiltrate the platform and users experience negative customer journeys.
Read our complete guide to website testing here.
The types of website testing:
Usability testing - Ensures your platform is matching customer expectations through smooth and intuitive customer journeys. Usability testing is closely linked to increases in brand loyalty, as trust is formed through a customer-focused platform.
Regression testing - This division of testing pinpoints key customer journeys formed after an update on both live and non-live sites. Regression testing is a fail or pass type of testing that follows specific scripts to ensure your website has not been negatively affected by updates or changes.
Black box testing - Also known as specification-based testing or functional testing, Black Box testing avoids examining the internal structure of a platform and instead focuses solely on the platform's outputs. This division of testing is designed to analyse user requirements, and expectations, including design strategies.
Performance testing - Examining platform speed, reliability and responsiveness all come under the performance testing branch of website testing. Performance testing should be an essential part of a company's development and live-site strategy as loss of revenue, reduced user loyalty and a backlog of customer orders are just some of the bio-products produced from a website that fails to be subjected to website testing processes.
Website testing - both functional and non-functional - are essential at maintaining the health of a platform and reducing the impact of conversion and revenue blocking bugs or issues. When we say 'health' in relation to a website/app we mean structure, security, achievement levels and user-focused developments. These 4 pillars are essential at maintaining your platform and ensuring it continually brings in revenue and conversion rates that match yearly goals.
The problem is not all businesses understand the benefits of website testing throughout the development and live stages of a platform, and as a result hacking incidents, platform crashes and a loss of customer base due to negative experiences are all common side effects.
If you work within the digital world then it's highly likely that you have heard or read about British Airways and Marriott Hotels being subjected to hacking instances. But for smaller companies, such large scale hacking attacks might feel unlikely. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, hackers are now targeting smaller companies due to their lack of website testing and the number of instances is rising every year.
"Smaller companies are attractive because they tend to have weaker online security." - Source
For companies with customer-facing websites, transactional websites or websites which are relied upon to bring in revenue, website testing is a must to ensure your website is interacting with your users in the most beneficial and convenient way possible while maintaining the core structure of your platform.
Functional vs non-functional testing
We have already encountered some of the divisions of website testing in isolation, but these examples can be further refined into a functional or non-functional category.
Depending upon what you want your website testing process to achieve, you may benefit more from functional testing or non-functional testing divisions. Naturally, I suggest combining the two, but for a company looking to extend or begin website testing these two categories help highlight platform aims and path the way for future plans.
From the examples previously defined:
Functional testing includes regression and black box testing as functional testing analyses and examines the core coded structure of a website/app.
While non-functional testing encompasses usability and performance testing to examine how effectively and reliably your website interacts with users.
Website testing can feel like a behemoth task to undertake as there seems to be a different testing division for every part of your platform. However, breaking website testing down into functional and non-functional aspects will help you and your teams understand and integrate testing into your live or developmental platform.
This is beneficial not only for your online users as they get a more user-focused experience but also for your internal teams. Security is boosted, development teams spend less time running around trying to find and fix bugs, and spend more time developing, while C-level managers see revenue and conversions rise.