3 Ways to Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes
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3 Ways to Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Visitors who interact with your website may experience glitches, missing elements, or other design issues. These unexpected visual changes can make your site difficult to use, forcing users to close the page quickly. 

Fortunately, you can test your WordPress website for visual defects in many ways. Installing tools like the Visual Regression Tests plugin allows you to automate visual testing and quickly correct design imperfections.

In this post, we’ll explain why you should evaluate your website for visual design flaws and show you three different ways to perform these tests. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Consider Testing Your Website’s Visual Changes

To develop a successful website, you’ll need an excellent visual design. Small details like its color palette, font, images, and alignment can appeal to visitors or motivate them to leave the page. An attractive design can create a good impression and keep users returning to your website.

Since web design is so important, you should regularly test your website for changes. You can conduct visual and functional testing to remove errors on your web pages. This process ensures users can see and interact with your site without problems.

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

After you tweak your site’s coding or make other changes, you could unknowingly cause bugs on the front end. They can prevent users from clicking on a button or seeing the full web page:

This is where visual testing comes in. With the right tools, you can automatically scan your website for new changes in its appearance.

Once you identify these issues, you can quickly find ways to solve them. Instead of having a site that’s difficult to navigate, running these tests can ensure a positive user experience. As a result, you could reduce your bounce rate and encourage visitors to stay on your web pages longer.

3 Ways to Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

If you don’t regularly test your site for new visual changes, you could make design mistakes that negatively affect user experience. However, you can use a few methods to find and solve these issues before they harm your site’s appearance.

Here are three ways to test your WordPress website for visual changes!

1. Visual Regression Testing

One of the easiest ways to identify web design problems is with visual regression testing. This process involves analyzing your website for visual design flaws.

In a visual regression test, a tool will take screenshots of your website before and after a change. By comparing these images, you can identify differences and evaluate whether they harm visual design or usability.

Here are some design issues that can be caught with visual regression tests:

  • Missing visual elements like action buttons
  • Misaligned layouts
  • Unauthorized updates to your links, images, or text

Although you can manually take screenshots and compare them visually, automated tools make this process easier and more accurate. 

For example, the Visual Regression Tests plugin scans your website for visual changes every 24 hours (or after updating your content):

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

To implement visual regression testing, open a page in the Block Editor. In the sidebar, enable the plugin to Run Tests

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Once you activate testing on a WordPress page, this plugin will take an initial screenshot of the design. Then, you’ll receive an alert if the tool notices any changes after its daily comparisons:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Unlike the other visual tests on this list, visual regression testing can be automated. You won’t need to evaluate each of your pages manually. This automation will enable you to dedicate more time to other website management tasks.

Additionally, you won’t have to rely on your visitors for feedback. If you have to ask users their opinions about your web design, they may notice only some changes. However, automated visual regression testing can pick up even minor imperfections.

By installing the Visual Regression Tests plugin, you’ll also receive email notifications when a visual change needs your attention. Then, you can quickly fix it before visitors notice it, keeping your website functioning without much management.

2. Use a Third-Party Monitoring Tool

Another option is to run your website through third-party scanning software. For example, Visualping can detect real-time changes on your site. It’s capable of monitoring even minor differences in text, images, and overall design:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

To sign up for Visualping, enter your website’s URL and click on Go. You’ll now see a preview of your site:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Then, enter your email address to receive notifications. After this, give the job a name and select Visual as the Compare Type. It will then track:

  • Page design
  • Layout
  • Logos
  • Images
  • Banners

Be sure to define which area of your website you want to scan. You can use the entire page, mobile view, or specific folds:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

You can also set the frequency of the visual scans and specify the alert threshold. Visual changes are automatically set to 1% to prevent false positives, but you’ll also have the option of tracking any changes:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Once you save this job, Visualping will alert you if your site’s visual design changes. You’ll receive an email with a screenshot of the page. You can also view these updates in the dashboard:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Although Visualping can test individual pages for visual changes, it can’t scan your entire website. You’d have to create new jobs for every page to do this. 

Plus, it’s a third-party tool that doesn’t integrate with WordPress. You’ll have to switch between the two dashboards, which can waste valuable time. Installing a visual regression testing plugin can be more effective for that reason. 

3. Manually Scan Your Website for Visual Changes

Before automated visual regression tools existed, website owners had to manually test for bugs and other design flaws. As you might imagine, this process is often time-intensive and complicated.

In a manual test, you view the front end of your website in a new browser. You can analyze whether the design accommodates different screens by dragging the window to various sizes.

You can also review every element on your site to ensure the design doesn’t impact functionality. Simply using your website will often catch errors like unclickable buttons.

You can set up end-to-end testing with Cypress along with these basic tests. This developer-friendly framework can help you write tests, execute them, and record your results:

Test Your WordPress Website for Visual Changes

Cypress works as a functional test runner. Essentially, it can test whether an application functions as it should. In end-to-end tests, Cypress will visit your website and perform actions on the front end to evaluate your website’s usability. 

Although Cypress cannot see what a web page looks like, you can use it to write visual testing plugins. For example, cypress-image-diff can implement visual regression testing. 

To get started, install the plugin:

npm i -D cypress-image-diff-js

To configure it, open the cypress.config.js file. Here, add this code:

const { defineConfig } = require(‘cypress’)
const setupNodeEvents = require(‘cypress-image-diff-js/dist/plugin’)
module.exports = defineConfig({
video: false,
screenshotOnRunFailure: true,
e2e: {
setupNodeEvents,
}
})

Then, find support/e2e.js and enter the following:

const compareSnapshotCommand = require(‘cypress-image-diff-js/dist/command’)
compareSnapshotCommand()

Now you’re ready to run your first visual test. In the cypress/e2e folder, paste this code:

//first-visual-test.cy.js
describe(‘Cypress Visual Testing Demo’, () => {
it(‘Navigate to WP Tech Support home page’, () => {
cy.visit(‘https://wp-techsupport.com/’)
cy.compareSnapshot(‘home-page’)
})
})

Using the Cypress command line, execute the test:

npx cypress run

Since visual regression testing requires two screenshots, you must execute this test again. If there aren’t any visual changes, your site will pass. 

It’s important to note that the manual testing method isn’t ideal for beginners. Extensive web tests often require advanced knowledge in programming and development. Plus, you won’t be able to automate the process and interpret the results yourself.

Conclusion

If you quickly catch new design flaws on your web pages, you can ensure your site is user-friendly and visually appealing. It’s best to test your content regularly to prevent unexpected visual changes and keep your pages functioning correctly.

To recap, here are the three ways you can test your WordPress website for visual changes:

  1. Visual regression testing: Automated tools like the Visual Regression Tests plugin will monitor your website and alert you to any design changes.
  2. Use a third-party monitoring tool: Visualping can scan individual pages on your website for visual changes. However, it’s a third-party tool that doesn’t integrate with WordPress. 
  3. Manually scan your website for visual changes: Although it takes more time and an advanced skill set, you can perform end-to-end testing on your website with Cypress.

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