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Breadcrumb trail for Web Design:
Web Design -> Planning -> Best Practices -> Basic Skills -> Building -> Special Pages --> Publishing -> Testing -> More

Testing Your Website

It's not a bad idea to test as you begin uploading your website to your host and to continue to check periodically. Things change. Sites may move or close down which can create a broken link.  New browser versions may make changes that can affect how websites are viewed. There's always something trying to take the joy out of website creation. Here are some different things you can test in no particular order:

Spell Checking and Proofreading

There are some programs that will do some spell checking for you, but it's not a bad idea to also ask a friend to look at your site also. Somes times a different set of eyes will catch something that we don't see when we are composing.

Checking for Broken Links

w3schools has a validator http://validator.w3.org/checklink that is free to use and will check for broken links. Once your site is uploaded, you can enter the site URL, make some choices and let the validator run through the links. It will tell you if there are links that are broken and/or being redirected to a different link. Then you can make the necessary changes to your pages.

Validating

HTML 

Check your HTML with the w3schools HTML validator.  http://validator.w3.org/ You could also choose the option to have Tidy clean up the HTML, if you want. Personally, I prefer to do the cleaning up myself.

Another online tool for validating your HTML is the WDG HTML Validator. As well as having the choice to validate a published website, you can also choose to validate files on your computer or enter your HTML directly.

CSS

Check your CSS coding with the w3school css validator http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/ This is best done after you've validated the HTML.
Viewing how it looks in other browsers
You can go to browsershots.org http://browsershots.org/ and enter the URL of your site. Then you can choose which browser you'd like to view it. Screenshots will be taken and you can see how your site looks with that browser. There is a wait time involved, but you can ask for extended time. There is also a limit on how many browsers can be checked a day, so you might want to choose the versions that are most important to you for the first go round.

Accessibility

You might create a really beautiful website, but if your website is difficult to navigate or folks have other issues in accessing your site, your website is certain to fail. There are some online tools availble to check if your website is following various WCAG and section 508 accessibility guidelines. If problems are identified, you can choose to make changes so that more folks can view and enjoy your website.

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. WAVE shows the original web page with icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page. There is no complex technical report.

The tool at HiSoftware Cynthia Says portal is designed to identify errors in your content related to Section 508 standards and/or the WCAG guidelines. Results are shown in a table listing the guidelines and how whether or not your site met the guidelines when applicable.

HERA is a tool to check the accessibility of web pages (sites) accoridng to the specification Web Content Accessibility Guidelines(WCAG 1.0). The test is fast and identifies areas where your site might need match the guidelines. The results also show the section of the guidelines that are involved.

Browser Simulators

Browsershots takes screenshots of your website in various browsers and platforms. You choose which platforms (Windows, Linux) and which browsers. It does have one choice for Macs. There is a wait time involved and a limit on how many can be done in one day, but can be a very helpful tool.

NetRenderer is a tool you can use to see screenshots of how your website looks in the Internet Explorer, versions 5.5 through version 10. This site could be especially useful if you have used some hacks or code to compenstate for differences in how IE renders sites compared to other browsers.

Testing load time

You can use the Online Ping and Traceroute Tool http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/  to see the order items load, how long it takes to load and which items may be causing trouble. Great tool to help you improve the load time of your site.

The Web site Optimization Free Load Test  http://websiteoptimization.com/services/analyze/ is another tool to test how long it takes to load any web page. Just put in the URL and it will give you a report.
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