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A/B Testing for Single-Page Applications Explained

Do you use Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, or YouTube apps in your daily life? Then you know what single-page apps (SPAs) look like.

Before they reach users, apps should go through several rounds of quality assurance and quality control to help give users a seamless experience. Read about the specifics of testing A/B scenarios for SPAs and learn how A/B testing may impact your conversion rate and help prevent unnecessary expenses.

Single page application testing
By Dzmitry Seachouk, Senior Manual QA Engineer at Solvd
January 18, 2022

What Is A/B Testing of SPAs, and Why Does Your Business Need It?

No matter how good your product is, it will require some revisions over time. The world is constantly evolving with trends impacted by fashion and the demographics of audiences are changing as well.

People need changes, and brands focus on giving them what they want. For instance, take well-known car brands: they go for minimalist rebranding to keep in lockstep with the times.

Likewise, business websites need to keep up with trends and demographic changes. Some elements of the design can become outdated, while businesses wish to keep up with the current needs of the target audience.

Before implementing any changes and updates, you need to perform audience research to foresee reactions to new features. This is where A/B testing comes into play.

A/B testing will let you check the likely results of new marketing ideas without sacrificing product quality or negatively affecting the conversion rate.
Single page application examples

Important Specifics of Single-Page Applications

In a nutshell, single-page applications (SPAs) differ from multi-page applications (MPAs) in providing a set of tools for user interaction with the app. For a better understanding, try to imagine these apps: SPA is your email client page, and MPA is your web store.
Single page application examples
One Page Love as a single-page application
Single page application examples
Nike web store as a multi-page application
A user first logins to SPA, and then the rest of the content will be changing dynamically, depending on user actions within a single page. This app will respond to user actions without opening any other and will only update a part of page content.

It may seem that the functionality of a SPA is restricted and may affect user engagement. However, if the placement of UI design elements is well-planned, your web app will provide users with everything they need. Besides, SPAs have high load speed because the time for interacting with design elements reduces.

That means you need a professional UI/UX team who will map out interactive features to improve the usability of your web app. They will identify the most efficient layout and placement of UX elements matching one with other application types and libraries used. Identifying the users' happy path and unhappy path requires plenty of effort, and that work should be completed before the development and testing phases.

Specifics of A/B Testing with SPAs

Given that an app contains only one page, the UI/UX challenges a team to revise the dynamically changing content, A/B testing of SPAs will have its specifics.

The testing goals will be ensuring an app's high conversion, smooth user interaction, and user-friendly layout that will enable all the necessary functionality within a single page.

Following QA and testing best practices, specialists have to run black-box testing to verify that the app sends data correctly and examine API for its correct functioning.
Single page application examples
Testing API for SPAs
While planning testing suits and approaches, it's vital to consider that the apps are multiplatform. The same elements will look differently on mobile platforms and on desktops and must be adapted accordingly. That is especially true for correctly displaying UI/UX elements. Without testing that aspect, you might end up with an app having a broken layout. For checking an app's functioning under realistic conditions, testers need a predefined pool of real devices or, at minimum, emulators in a browser.

Your visitors need to feel comfortable navigating your website, so don't disappoint them. Your professional testing team will focus on smoothing out user interaction with page components and conduct not only formal testing but also exploratory testing.

Developers of SPAs commonly use JavaScript, and your tester should be aware of that. Styles applied to page components are permanent, and related testing issues will pop up repeatedly if not addressed on time. QA and testing teams often stick to the Agile methodology, and if one team misses errors, other teams will run into the same errors later. That makes thorough professional testing mandatory.

SPAs are limited in page reloading capabilities. If you own e-commerce websites, the number of events on page and user interaction scenarios will multiply dramatically. Your testing team should verify the work of each element and ensure the events on the page go in line with the documentation.
Single page application examples
The work of analytics with SPAs
Finally, a professional testing team will check tests to detect and fix all possible regression testing defects or changes that might affect A/B scenarios. Testing engineers will do that for comparing testing scenarios and control metrics and, in case of a failure, reverting back to the initial version.

Summing Up

Your single-page application requires A/B testing to unearth the best functionality and ways to successfully achieve many business objectives: increasing conversion while controlling expenses.

To make sure A/B testing will bring desirable outcomes, your testing team should check if each UX/UI element is in working condition. Meanwhile, the task of your product managers is to describe the metrics and expected results clearly, using an in-depth understanding of your business needs. QA and testing specialists will be responsible for the website tools, focusing on the correct work of JS Framework and call-to-action buttons.

Those joint efforts may help your business increase your client base, use fewer resources and achieve a better SPA by trying different testing scenarios and choosing the right ones for you.