Studio 24, an award-winning digital agency, design and build websites for a range of high-profile clients across a variety of sectors – including the UK Parliament, HS2 and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
In 2019, with a growing volume of larger web build projects, Studio 24 found that their internal testing resource was stretched to capacity and to keep pace with their increased testing requirements chose Zoonou as their external QA partner.
“Unusually for us, we had a number of large projects all needing testing at the same time. Expanding our team didn’t make business sense to solve a short-term capacity problem, so we looked to outsource our testing instead,” says Senior Project Manager Julia Sang. “Zoonou had been recommended to us by another agency and although we did talk to other test houses, they were the most professional and organised.”
“We were looking for a test partner who would not only be really thorough, but also raise issues in a way that made it easy for our developers to action. We also wanted reports of what had been tested and the outcomes for auditing purposes,” adds Julia.
Raising issues directly into Studio 24’s tracking system, with a description, steps to recreate and supporting evidence, Zoonou’s test team ensure the Studio 24 developers have extensive detail to be able to get to the core of issues quickly – allowing them to spend more time fixing the issues and less time on trying to find and recreate them.
Alongside this, a daily report gives Julia and her team a snapshot view of high priority issues and test coverage, enabling them to make quick decisions when triaging and organising fixes.
Studio 24 use a mobile-first design philosophy with the of aim of creating the best experience for users. This begins with designing for the smallest of screens first.
Julia continues, “We test all our sites against the gov.uk browser standards on small, medium and large screens as standard. However, the Heathrow Expansion Consultation website required far more extensive testing. Having reviewed the analytics for previous consultations, we identified a much wider range of browsers and operating systems people were using, and we wanted to make sure the consultation would work well on the majority of these. We needed a specialist partner who could provide both a dedicated team of people and a range of real devices to test on.”
With more than 350 devices, Zoonou’s device library is regularly updated with the newest devices and operating systems and is home to historical devices on legacy OS versions. With each website project Zoonou tests, it gives Studio 24 the confidence that its compatibility has been tested across specific browsers, operating systems and devices; as a result, decreasing time-consuming tasks such as resolving compatibility issues for a browser version, OS, or a device at a later stage in development.
“The Zoonou team tackled some tricky issues on the Heathrow project,” says Julia. “We were really impressed when one mobile issue that was occurring, which we couldn’t recreate, was identified to only happen when the keyboard was expanded. Being made aware of these critical issues early in the development cycle allowed our own team to quickly make changes to the site before it went live.”
In 2020, Studio 24 were commissioned to rebuild the UK Parliament Library Sites for the House of Commons, House of Lords and Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). These sites provide briefings for daily work in the Houses, and became especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic when many people had to work from home. The aim was to rebuild the site to meet WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility guidelines in time for the change in law requiring all public sector bodies to meet these standards, improve usability and implement the parliament designs system on the site.
“Zoonou tested the front-end page templates for the POST sites. Having them vetted by experts in testing across a range of browsers and devices gave us the confidence, that when we handed the site over to Parliament, we were delivering high-quality work,” says Julia.
Initially Zoonou supported Studio 24 with functional and compatibility testing requirements and were often engaged on projects at the later stages of a project, but as the relationship has evolved, we now work as an extension of Studio 24’s team; collaborating to define and coordinate test strategies in the beginning phases of new projects.
Studio 24 go beyond building websites that only function as expected and can be accessed on a range of devices; they create robust and scalable applications. Studio 24 utilise Zoonou’s capabilities in performance and load testing as part of their overall test solution to provide the best possible user experience.
On the Heathrow project, Julia’s team were anticipating a high volume of traffic and a range of user demographics wanting to access the site and with Zoonou’s test solution encompassing functional, compatibility and load testing they launched the site in confidence knowing it had been through rigorous testing.
“The Airport Expansion website was the main channel for people to respond to the consultation and so the user experience had to be exceptional. The site had to work for everyone, regardless of how it was accessed – by mobile, desktop or tablet. Using the latest browser – or a browser well past its sell by date!
We were pleased that following effective testing pre-launch, we did not have any support tickets raised in the first week after launch. On other projects you’d expect a few, as more people use the site and find edge case issues not previously picked up.”
Our partnership with Zoonou has allowed us to add robust quality assurance processes into our client projects. Since we started working with the Zoonou team back in 2019, we have seen a real benefit from our open and collaborative working relationship and Zoonou has become a key partner for helping us to deliver quality digital products to our clients” concludes Julia.
What started as a short term requirement has evolved into a collaborative partnership, where Zoonou works as an extension of the Studio 24 team. The relationship provides Julia’s team with the device coverage, independent feedback and technical testing they need to deliver robust, quality websites for their clients.