What To Check Before Launching Your New Web Site
I’ve seen more than a client or two get the site-launch jitters just as it’s time to reveal their web site for all the world to see. Usually, the problem is that the client is concerned that the site is not perfect. As it has been said by others, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.”
Suppose you are moving into a new house. Are you going to say, “I am not moving in because there is a broken light fixture in the bathroom on the 4th floor”? Of course not. You know you can fix that once you are ensconced in your castle.
That analogy works for site launches. Web development is evolutionary. Changes can – and should – be made post-launch.
Nevertheless, here are some major areas to check out before you launch – or relaunch – your site.
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1. Testing Environment
As you do your review, you should be looking at as many user agents (browsers), operating systems, screen resolutions, and zoom scenarios as you deem necessary. Your goal is not to make each page look exactly the same **in every environment. However, the site must have design and functional integrity within any single environment in which it is used.
No need to test your site in the oldest possible User Agent you can find. Who cares if it doesn’t work in IE 6 (unless a sizable part of your audience is using it)?
Review the copy used for your pages, posts, and any custom post type.
Are the font types and sizes for all elements correct? (**Are paragraphs, page titles, headings, subheadings, buttons, link text, and any other text content as desired?)
Is the line height for running copy ideal for reading?
Is the overall organization and presentation of page content as desired? Are there too many columns on a given page **or too few?**
Margins And Padding
Is there proper distance between all elements, such as the space between headings and paragraphs, paragraphs and images, or between rows and columns?
Where borders are used, are they the desired color, style, and width? Should borders be used in places where they are not currently being used? (Borders can be at the top, right, bottom, and/or left sides of any element.)
Are images sized correctly relative to the surrounding content? Do images look right or are any pixelated, fuzzy or in any way not acceptable?
Is the color of the palette of the site as desired? Color applies to all text elements, backgrounds, and images.
4. Special UI Elements
Pay close attention to all “non-standard” elements for your site. Some of these are:
Are your forms performing correctly? When a user completes a form, what happens when the form data is submitted? This is critical for all sites, more so for an eCommerce site.
Do you have the proper fields and input types for each form? Do you have too many fields (input boxes) for any form? Does the UI work correctly in all environments?
If you allow for user account creation, does that entire process (from account creation to user editing account data) work as designed?
If you have a Search box, do the search results make sense?
Pay attention to all of these before you launch.
- Header navigation
- Footer links
- Sidebar links
- Social links
- On-page links
(Links within pages which are not noted above)
Because it may not be possible to click on each link for your site, check out plugins like Broken Link Checker to help you find if any link is broken.
Your site may – or may not – be required under the operation of any law, to provide a predefined level of accessibility. For example, some sites are required to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 Level AAA which is a very high bar to achieve.
You may wish to consult legal counsel who is knowledgeable in this field.
But at a minimum, all images must have an alternative text description.
You may also wish to check on how the site operates if a user does not use a mouse for navigation.
There are many accessibility checking tools online.
8. Privacy Laws
If you haven’t already, reach out for legal advice on your requirements to meet the wide scope of data Privacy protection laws. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are the two standard bearers in privacy law.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources and privacy statement generators online to help you craft an appropriate policy. Plus, you’ll find many plugins to help you such as the Cookie Notification plugin.
How well are pages loading? This will vary based on many factors such as a user’s CPU, network, user agent, and device to name a few.
So Much To Consider
There are so many things to be aware of before your **launch. It’s** best to use some common sense and work all of these factors into the design and development process BEFORE you get close to your big moment.