03/27/2019

11 Steps to Membership Management Success – Field Test Your New Wild Apricot Website

Step 8: Field Test Your New Wild Apricot website
Step 8: Field Test Your New Wild Apricot website

You’ve got your shiny new website, database and payment system set up! It’s time to countdown to launch day. But first, you want to make sure everything runs smoothly before you open your front door to your members.

Ready … set … TEST

You’ve worked through a lot over the previous seven steps, and you have learned a lot to get to here. But, testing is a critical step — you do not want to rush your launch!  

Testing your new system can be as simple as testing your website with the people on your board of directors and a few of your organization’s members. This is especially true if you are migrating from an old website and database system.

With Wild Apricot things probably could not be more different from what you may be used to!  Testing the new system and addressing any critical pieces of feedback will ensure your board and members deliver a well-functioning system that reflects the pride in your organization’s mission!

While it’s in development, your website is already live under a test domain name (e.g. myorg.wildapricot.org), but the site is not running under your organization’s official domain name. Here are some test scenarios you may want to review while testing:

  • Can a new visitor quickly find the information they are seeking?
  • Can a returning member login to the website?
  • Can a visitor register for an event? Can they log in to register as a member?
  • Can a visitor become a new member?
  • Can a member update their profile and renew their membership?
  • Do online payment transactions, if applicable, process smoothly and quickly?

Getting volunteers to test

An organized testing plans requires two things:

  • a list of volunteers to test your new site
  • a list of steps you wish to test

You should choose volunteers who are willing to review the site and provide constructive feedback. Create a table to identify confirmed volunteer testers and record all scheduled test appointments.

Name

Phone

Email

Tester’s tech platform (Mac/PC/Tablet/Phone)

Assigned script to test

Technology testing (browser and version)

Scheduled appointment (in person/web conference?)

The ideal approach to testing is to create a “script” of step-by-step procedures that your volunteer testers will work through. It is best to do this in a coordinated fashion (rather than letting them randomly go through it on their own). Have someone on the phone or preferably on a web conference call, which you can record for later review.

While the testing is happening, have someone take notes of issues that appear and document them on a to-do list. This list should be prioritized to determine what to fix before launch.

Writing a test script

A test script is a great way to have testers and volunteers review your new Wild Apricot website. When you work through testing in a more formal way, you will get tens and even hundreds of pieces of feedback. The more testers, the more feedback.

It may feel overwhelming, but this “customer” feedback is invaluable and should be collected as long as your site is running. This is the primary means of addressing issues that will help you serve members best, and build an easy-to-use website that will inform and influence new visitors and prospective members.

Here is a sample test script you can use to test the look and feel of your website. You can have the volunteer fill this out or, better yet, record these steps as your volunteer tests the steps.

 

#

Step

What to do

Feedback

1

Load home page

type in the domain name for your Wild Apricot site (eg myorg.wildapricot.org)

 

2

Load home page on mobile device

use your smartphone and load your website



Is your site easy to read and use on a mobile device?

3

Membership signup

click join page and try to sign up for a membership; there is need to complete a full membership at this time

 

4

Log in as a password

Click Login and try to login; reset your password if necessary

 

5

Members Only content

Navigate to Member Tools and ensure you see new pages or navigation content

 

6

Find an event

Go to Event calendar section

 

7

Register for an event as a member

Work through a registration for an event with restricted registration types for  members only

 

8

Check out online in “test” mode

Work through an online transaction (make sure online payment system is in test mode)

 

 

TIP: To test users who are logged-out but still keep your admin view up in a regular window, use incognito browser windows.

 

Testing – it’s easier than you may think

With three to seven friendly and feedback-oriented members or a few active board members, you can easily run a field test of your website online or in person.

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend at least 10–25 hours preparing and performing a usability test including five people – that’s before you actually implement any of the suggestions.

Thankfully, with Wild Apricot, each usability issue you prioritize for a well-designed Wild Apricot website needs only a 5–10 minute fix!

Still need some help …?

NewPath Consulting runs formal field tests with all of our customers during the test phase, using our web conferencing solution. Results from the usability test can be implemented before launch or over the first several weeks and months of the new website and membership system.

Contact us to learn more.

 

The “dress rehearsal” is over! In the next article you will learn the six key checklist items for launching your new site without a glitch.

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