When it comes to webforms and order processing, there is nothing more important to a user than an order confirmation page. It’s their peace of mind because it assures them that their order has been successfully processed. It can also be used as a reference just in case an email confirmation doesn’t arrive.

This post is part of a series on the test IO blog about real bugs that our testers have found during test cycles. In each post, we explore the details of the issue, explain its impact, and discuss what software teams can do to avoid similar problems.

Online Order Processing

Order processing allows customers to order from a particular company or service. Once they’ve entered their information all data is sent to the company’s database. Depending on what the service is, on the company side, information is sent to the person or department responsible within the organization, whether it is shipping and receiving or the billing department. On the customer side, once the last step is finalized, a confirmation page is generated for the end user. The confirmation page normally outlines key fields. Key fields can be the item ordered, delivery date, and confirmation number for the user. CustomHTML value tags can be used to implement these key fields on a confirmation page. CustomHTML tags are slightly different from the standard HTML. For example the standard HTML will show the structure of the page with doctype, title, alignment information, and more. CustomHTML shows the labeling for specific fields you want the user to see on the confirmation page and can appear as follows:

[-- SC_Payment --]

You can view an example here.

Bug: Blank confirmation page after online order is processed

While testing a web hosting site, one of our testers found a bug during website testing while checking the order process functionality. Here are the steps:

  • The tester selected a hosting plan.
  • The tester filled out all of the required information for an order.
  • The tester filled out the payment information and clicked the “place the order” button.

After the tester clicked the place order button they were redirected to a blank confirmation page.

The bug was initially discovered on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 11. However, it ended up being reproducible across browsers.

Lessons learned and best practices from test IO

This bug highlights the importance of understanding confirmation pages and implementing CustomHTML value tags. If you are using this method, you must ensure that the most important values appear on the confirmation page. For example, on the confirmation page for a web hosting service you want the user to know what plan they chose, you want to acknowledge that their payment was accepted, and you also want to generate a confirmation number. You need to ensure that there is a CustomHTML tag for each value you want displayed.

In this case, the confirmation page may have been blank because no custom tags were set for the values stored in the database. It could have been a situation where the custom value tags were implemented, but the database itself did not retain the information. Since the database where the information is stored is the most important part of the process, any failure on the backend can cause various issues on the front end. The only things that appeared on the confirmation page were the icons for printing, saving, and sharing. No text appeared on the screen for the user to view.