Quality Control

Disclaimer: The following article is satire, and the views expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of Brand Labs or its employees…except Ricki, but she’s a fish so it’s fine.

If you’re in charge of a website development project and it’s behind schedule, what’s your next course of action?

Regrouping with team members to assess the remaining work, come up with a plan, and communicate it to everyone involved? No, of course not. First and foremost, you need to panic — the crazier, the better. Then, you need to cut corners because everything’s falling apart, it’s too costly, and it needs to be done yesterday. However, the site still needs to be built and filled with content that users will see, so what can be done? Fortunately, there’s a clean and simple solution. The project can be finished more quickly by significantly reducing the time spent quality checking or skipping the process entirely.

Why target quality control in the first place?

Basically, it takes too much time to do. After all, consider all the steps involved:

  • outlining website functionality
  • designing and building tests based on said outlines
  • running the tests
  • visually comparing the design composition with the site
  • providing feedback
  • having the developers make corrections
  • re-running tests
  • repeat until everything is found to be satisfactory

Plus, not all of these tasks can be automated (that is, of course, assuming the tools for automation even exist in the first place and the person using them has been properly trained in their usage); some items must be done manually — each page, one-by-one, across multiple devices, operating systems, and browsers. Basically, when all is said and done, the entire process could potentially last for days, weeks, or even months depending on the size of the project, so reducing or eliminating that barrier would result in considerable time savings.

Moreover, think about the effectiveness of spending all that time checking a website. In the first place, no user is ever going to use the site or tool in a way other than the vaguely defined one for which it was built, and even if they do, they won’t spend enough time on it to ever notice. Take a checkout page on an e-commerce site, for example, where the customer is prompted to fill out several boxes of information (billing, shipping, payment, etc.) in order to buy something. Clearly, he or she will always start at the top of the page and work their way down, carefully reading the label in each field, never mistyping anything, having perfect vision to see the ten pixel font size, and knowing exactly what those three stacked horizontal lines that looks like a hamburger do — all on the latest computer that was bought last week. How could anything go wrong with someone so observant and tech-savvy? This standard user knows exactly what they need to do. They’re not going to read more than two or three sentences of an online company’s About Us page before moving elsewhere, so it doesn’t matter if the word “guaranteed” in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph is misspelled or if the eighth paragraph is a complete duplicate of the seventh. As a result, the time to review such a page during development can be reduced from hours to mere minutes, and nobody’s the wiser.

Unfortunately, some companies do not skip the quality control process or dramatically cut back on it in order to get a website project completed faster. Instead, they insist on performing a thorough review, claiming that creating the best possible user experience is vital for a website’s success, and there is no sign that this practice will end anytime soon. Therefore, when the best laid plans go awry and the next action is unclear, make the right decision: deal with it tomorrow.