HighEdWeb Assocation
The Annual Conference for Higher Education Web Professionals, Austin, Texas, October 23-26, 2011

Session Details

How to Break Things Really Good

MMP11 Marketing, Management, and Professional Development Track

Big Bend


A non-developer’s cheat sheet on testing websitesDevelopers are some of my best friends, so please don’t take this the wrong way, but: Never trust a developer — at least when it comes to whether their latest web project is ready to go.But isn’t it hard for a non-developer, someone outside the technical thick of things, to evaluate the quality and launch-readiness of a web-development project? It can be, but this session will offer a set of principles, disciplines, and tips that can turn you into a top-notch quality tester. At long last, you’ll learn how being judgmental, skeptical, picky, and paranoid can actually be professional assets.I’ve got some deceptively simple principles (for example, “Don’t assume it works”) that we’ll dig into with real-world examples, so that you can learn how to break your own site first, before your visitors have the chance. We’ll talk about such wonderful things as usability, consistency, and security, and how to tell a launch-blocker from a nice-to-have. We’ll talk about what kind of bug-tracking tools can help and how to catch some often-overlooked steps. And we'll talk about that delicious, secret satisfaction when you break something really good.But it’s not all smashing glass and banshee shrieks. I’ll also share tips about how (and why) to love on your developers, and what you should include when you report the problems you find. In the end, they’ll truly thank you for being so good at breaking their handiwork — and helping them fix it.Above all, we’ll always keep in mind the most important thing: your users.