Should We Test It a Bit More?

[Editor’s note: Do read the comments of this posting about Jokakoti.fi.]

Always the big question; how much should we test it? When is it ready?

When should we launch the product? Should we launch alpha or beta (private or public)? Is it ok to launch so called perpetual beta (take Gmail for example)?

Pretty good questions.

Lately I’ve read that one should always launch early (see Startups in 13 Sentences for one example).

Well, today I received an e-mail from Mtv3 inviting me to beta-test their new real estate service (jokakoti.fi). I can’t actually remember if I signed for invite – might have done that.

Anyway, used the link provided in the e-mail. Whee, HTTP-basic authentication set to protect the pages! Professional? Not so, IMHO. Typed in the general user name and password combo (was there an ad agency who came up with these?) – what follows?

Screen capture below:

MTV3's new real estate service, Jokakoti.fi as seen with FF 3.0.6, newest Flash installed (and working), running on WinXP

MTV3's new real estate service, Jokakoti.fi as seen with FF 3.0.6, newest Flash installed (and working), running on WinXP

Pretty nice, isn’t it?

Plain blue, small tick mark from Adblock showing that there’s some Flash present.

A quick peek at code;  almost valid HTML, awful conditional comments used for IE and yeah, that’s about it. Flash and Ajax, which don’t seem to work with my sturdy old computer.

Nice.

Accessibility? Can’t even evaluate it as I don’t see the content. Oh wait, I can, can I?

Yes I can: accessibility is not that good.

Lessons learned so far:

  • In order to use the site I have to have Flash 10 (latest version) installed.
  • Beta testing is a fine way to catch some bugs – as we see here;)

Small test with IE7 – no surprise – it works. (Screen grab below)
Pretty nice, though the slides are sluggish and so on.

jokakoti viewed with IE7

jokakoti viewed with IE7

Lessons learned so far?

  • not all users have the latest plugins installed
  • not all users have up-to-date computers (I’d reckon this works like a charm with my laptop)

Last but not the least, a small test with my favourite mobile browser, Opera Mini, using their wonderful Simulator/Demo. (Screen grab below, screen states that one has to have Flash and JS support).

jokakoti viewed Operamini simulator

jokakoti viewed Operamini simulator

Conclusions?

  • Developing cross-browser, accessible websites is not easy
  • One can’t rely on users having newest versions nor fast computers
  • Beta testing is worth one’s while.