Migrating a website to a new CMS is a complex and time-consuming exercise. Despite the challenges, a large number of businesses are choosing to make the transition. Some of the common reasons for migration include scalability limitations, performance issues, substandard user experience, lack of integration features, and new age business needs.
A clear set of goals is the first step towards a successful migration. These should include a comprehensive architecture and sitemap, a good user experience, ease of content authoring, data cleansing, improved performance, and seamless integration.
Collaboration and teamwork is the key to driving a migration project smoothly. Teams and individuals across the organization must come together to play their role in driving the migration project. The marketing team must ensure that the transition does not impact the existing traffic on the website. They should be able to capture the key performance indicators with the newly integrated as well as the existing analytics applications. The IT team must ensure the hardware and server needs are taken care of − firewalls, port, hosts, hardware and software configurations must be assessed thoroughly. A detailed analysis on the content is done at this stage to figure out which data needs to be included/excluded/transformed. Rationalization tasks are performed to ensure mapping and handling missed URLs. Data integrity and security too needs to be planned well.
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With all pre-requisites in place, technology implementors need to loop in the SMEs − architects, developers, quality engineers, digital strategists, content authors, project managers − all have their tasks cut out to ensure the smooth execution of the plan.
With the context set, let’s understand the role of a quality professional in a CMS migration project.
The role of a quality professional
A website is a collection of content, programming, and design. Depending on the strategy defined for the migration, the proportions of the ingredients will vary. Irrespective of the proportions, quality professionals need to ensure everything is rewired in the platform seamlessly. A test strategy will vary with the migration type i.e. whether it is ‘As-Is’ migration where the platform is built with a different CMS or it’s a redesign project where the website is redesigned in new CMS with some level of changes in the architecture or sitemap. The level and scale of testing is going to increase if it’s a complete re-implementation project.
The primary objective of a migration project is to ensure that this activity happens with negligible interruption/downtime, with data respectability and no loss of data and ensuring that all the predefined non-functional and functional parts of the application work seamlessly post migration. Apart from the functional tests, below are the 10 key tests that must be performed during a migration project:
1. CMS authoring tests
Performing component and template level testing is integral. There is a need to ensure the properties and boundaries defined for the components are validated. Webpages need to be authored based on the standard templates defined and errors must be resolved at the earliest.
2. Content testing
Testers need to ensure that the ‘As-Is’ content movement is consistent. They must typically look for changes in text content such as fonts, styles, and rendering on multiple view ports. They must also conduct spell checks, grammar verification, console errors, broken links, and any asset discrepancies (PDFs, videos, etc.). For non-english languages, they need to test for diacritical marks consistency. Assets should be picked from the newly configured asset repository. Assistive tools for visual regression can help a great deal for ‘As-is’ migration.
3. URL and redirection verifications
Testers must look for vanity URL configurations, https configurations, redirection pages. Various http response codes like 404, 30x redirects should be validated from the mapping sheet.
4. Form validations and asset management
Form field labels, order, field validations, data storage in the asset repository. It is important to look for custom fields, translated labels, unique selection values and opt-in fields for GDPR country compliance.
5. Responsive testing
Testers need to ensure the new pages work on multiple devices and tablets. Browser compatibility tests need to be performed to ensure the pages render well on the leading browsers.
6. Accessibility testing
The website must work well for differently abled users. You must ensure that the pages adhere to the WCAG guidelines defined. Assistive tools and techniques must be used to ensure compliance. Tools like JAWS, NVAccess, Chrome VOX, VoiceOver, TalkBack, AAChecker, WAVE can help.
7. Integration testing
Some of the major integration systems for a platform need to work seamlessly. Depending on the context there can be different components/systems like CRM, commerce accelerators, search or chat services, translation services, DAM, analytics plugins, website audit or survey tools, social media management, and content review systems that need to be integrated in the new platform.
8. SEO/analytics testing
Based on the SEO targets defined (‘As-Is’ SEO or optimized SEO plan), testers need to conduct tests to ensure the pages are searchable on internet. Tests need to be conducted to adhere to the major objective defined on indexing, ranking, searchability, user experience, speed, security, mobile friendliness, international SEO implementation, structure to name a few. Tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush and numerous browser plugins along with custom scripts can be used to achieve this objective.
Marketers need to capture visitors’ activities and traffic flow on various segments of the site to provide business insight to the stakeholders. This would not only help in extracting insights but also help make customer focused marketing decisions. Testers need to work closely with the analytics team to see that the analytics implement is made correctly and the necessary KPIs are captured correctly. Testers can use assistive tools to ensure the validations of the implementations. Tools and plugins like Observe point, Tagtician, Omnibug, DTM, Charles proxy can be of great help.
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9. Non-functional tests
Performance and security tests are mandatory tests that need to be performed before putting the system in production. Page performance, server/network/OS metrics need to be assessed and examined. There is a need to run active and passive security scans to ensure complete security of the website.
10. Launch day support
Quality professionals are the most sought-after on the D-Day. During those crucial hours when the new systems are put in place, they need to ensure that basic tests are conducted as early as possible and frequent updates are provided to either have rapid fixes or rollback in case of disruptions.
Quality professionals have a vital role to play in migration projects. Seasonal professionals need to be engaged from the inception of the project to have a complete understanding of the engagement and thus designing an effective test strategy. Be it discovery, design, implementation, pre-launch testing or launch days support or post launch verification, testers need to be an integral part of the team to ensure quality. Migration projects tend to keep all the stakeholders on the toes till the transition takes place. Effective planning and cohesive quality efforts can help in finding bottlenecks well in advance and taking preventive actions. There are far too many serious implications of a failed migration project and no stone should be left unturned to make it a success.
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