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NYCTesters July Meet

July 18, 2015

I was invited to do a two hour workshop on mobile application testing at the #NYCTesters July Meet. I was thrilled and excited to speak in the gorgeous New York city.

The workshop was on Modelling Mobile Apps and the LONG FUN CUP model. So, started to model the session and planned to cover these during the workshop.

StoryBoard

The background of the audience was unknown, so explored the Meetup RSVP to model the  audience first and then tried to structure the workshop to benefit a variety of audiences.

DinosaurWhisperer

The modelling of the audience helped to recognize that a number of people are new to testing. So, it became important to explain what is a Model and why modelling is required during testing, before the start of the workshop.

The venue was not hard to find, Google Maps helped not only to reach the venue, but also to explain about model &  the importance of modelling. Followed with demonstration on how to model a mobile app & apply LONG FUN CUP test model to it. Later, the audience was given a mission to work for 40 minutes, then debrief.

Intro

Exercise

I acted as the stakeholder and the debriefing was interactive,  participants discussed enthusiastically with lots of observations and bugs. Personally, it was a good learning for me in many ways, as I was doing it for a totally new audience. Later the discussion continued in the nearby bar with some bottles of IPA. That’s the beauty of hanging around with passionate professionals.

Now, looking forward for me full day tutorial at CAST 2015.

User’s Mistakes and his experience

July 11, 2015

Typing on the mobile device keypad is harder compared with a physical keyboard. An app that gets minimum input from users will easily win users’ heart. The reasons are the keypad is smaller & user needs to toggle between alphabets, numbers, special characters and to change the letter case. Because of this, the password setting pattern is changing after the popularity of mobile apps.

I stumbled upon a claim from a To do list mobile app, that it is the simplest To do list mobile app, so decided to give a try. The tester instinct within me never sleeps, especially if I see these two words mobile and simple. Being a big fan of Jony Ive, I always look for the simplest and cleanest of things.

In general, most apps work fine if the user makes no mistake. But, the user experience starts degrading the moment user makes mistakes. This is true for most of the apps. I make this conclusion based on the apps I test and use. My user experience test report always includes the experience, once when the user never makes any mistakes and once running the same scenarios by making all possible mistakes.

When I tried with a password that didn’t meet the app’s password rule, here is the error message I got.

Error Message

It took close to a minute to read and understand the rule, then dismiss the message to create a new password. I have already lost a minute, but haven’t completed setting my password. Now, when I started typing I was not sure and again failed to meet their policy. Unlike the web, I cannot keep the error message window and type the password. Finally, after two minutes of struggle I was able to register into the app, that claimed the simplest of all. In mobile world two minutes is a long time. Two minutes in mobile is like two hours in web (Please refer Nolan’s movies like Intersellar or Inception ;-))

For those who still think, it’s fine and the message is not so bad, users has to read and dismiss the message to enter the text, there are better solutions.

Wait!

Before scrolling down to see the embedded video, think for a while if we can provide a better solution.

This is how  Dashlane app solved it. It didn’t take more than 20 seconds to set the password. More importantly, the app avoided user from making mistakes.

This is how a Context Driven Tester thrives, always exploring, observing, relating and learning.

Also, the mobile application testing needs a different approach compared to traditional desktop softwares. My CAST 2015 tutorial on Mobile Application Testing has more such things to offer.

A Full Day Tutorial on mobile app testing & mindmaps at CAST 2015

May 28, 2015

CDT Blogpostand CAST are always close to my heart. I have had a fantastic run with the CDT community and take pride in being a part of the CDT family. I always enjoy meeting and learning from this community that does what is dependable, but not what is easy.

In CAST 2014 I gave a 40 minute lecture and met a lot of wonderful testers. This year I am taking one full day tutorial on Mobile app testing and mind maps. This tutorial was a suggestion from the master, James Bach, after he sat through my talk in CAST 2014. This is what he stated after my talk “DS, this content is worth a two-day workshop”. This is a blend of my last year talk and the tutorial I conducted in 2013 EuroSTAR.

I am glad that I am capable to do a full day tutorial in CAST 2015. This year’s theme is moving testing forward and I believe mobile testing is definitely a moving forward topic. This and This blog post would give an insight of what you can expect from this tutorial. Apart from this, I blog exclusively on mindmaps here.

Catch you at the beer city of US ;-)

Fish Tank , a Test Model for Android and iOS apps

January 8, 2015

For better software testing, I believe in three factors, a good test model or strategy, right set of tools and testers with the right frame of mind.

Fish Tank is one such test model, a collection of various  testing framed from the experience of  test many consumer mobile apps designed mainly for Android (upto) 5 and iOS (upto) 8. If not all some part applies to Windows Phone too. An app tested from initial design phase needs a different strategy from testing an already released app. Some of these ideas were designed upfront considering the hardware, software capabilities of mobile phones, LONG FUN CUP is one such example. Some others were framed during the time of testing, for instance Content optimization was an idea that was framed while testing an app that looked weird in smaller screens with too many texts. When this issue was raised, initial fix was to reduce the font size, later I realized instead of reducing the size cutting down unwanted text would be a better solution.

Fish Tank

I am fond of the tanks built during World War 1, so I used to call most of my work as tanks until I get appropriate name, after completing this post was just looking at my fish tank and wondering what to name it, bingo! On a side note, read this article on how to get ideas!

“People don’t invent things on the Internet. They simply expand on an idea that already exists.” – Evan Williams.

This mind map is just the What part of the model, organised under various stages of app life cycle. I will be publishing a series of post on how to do each this in coming days! Stay Tuned!

Producing Software Is Not The Purpose Of Software Development

November 3, 2014

Originally posted on Think Different:

Producing Software Is Not The Purpose Of Software Development

[Tl;Dr: All too often we can all get so wrapped-up in the joys and frustrations of creating software that we lose sight of the real purpose.]

I often invite my conference audiences to spend a few minutes discussing, amongst themselves, some question or other relevant to the session. One of the questions which I regularly pose is:

“What is the purpose of software development?”

This question tends to confound the audience for a few moments, prior to their entering into animated discussions on the subject. It always seems like a few minutes is nowhere near long enough to do the question justice.

I ask the question for a number of reasons, not least because of Dan Pink’s assertion that the three keys to intrinsic motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. I rarely come across people and teams who can articulate their purpose.

View original 476 more words

Testing != test execution

August 18, 2014

Originally posted on Jeff Fry on Testing:

Testing includes:

  1. Building a useful mental model of the application under test, including what value it should provide and what risks could threaten that value,
  2. Designing powerful tests, using that model to investigate important questions about the application’s quality,
  3. Test execution (which might be automated entirely, partly, or not at all),
  4. Analyzing the results to determine if there’s a problem, how severe it might be, or otherwise answer stakeholder questions, and
  5. Test reporting that clearly communicates the impact of the bug, and how to quickly reproduce it.

We often talk about testing as if it’s only test execution, yet often the most interesting, challenging, skill-intensive aspects of testing are in creating a mental model that helps us understand the problem space, designing tests to quickly and effectively answer key questions, analyzing what specifically the problem is, and communicating it effectively.

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Mobile App Test Coverage Model : LONG FUN CUP

August 17, 2014

Smart phones changed the way we interact with software. Once mobile apps were used to kill time but now there are apps those could save lives.

They are changing the way live, thus we need to change the way we test.

Smartphone applications are developed with immense creativity and effort. Mobile users demand a sleeker experience with applications compared to desktop users. The mind set of mobile users is very different from web or desktop users. Smartphone apps are used on the move (e.g.: while walking or using a toilet), and mobile devices have a lot to offer through hardware location tracking, gyroscopes and other integrated features.

LONG FUN CUP model helps to achieve coverage at UI  level. This is designed factoring in the new touch generation mobile devices hardware, software and users mindset.

LONG FUN CUP

Location: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, get out!

Location tracking is a key feature offered by mobile phones, which any app must make use of it based on its core functionality. For instance, if it’s a cab booking or food ordering app, app should be smart enough to track your current location and provided suggestions surrounding your locality. Unlike web apps, where you expect user to enter location details, here the work flow should be different. Never test such apps sitting at your desk. Check if the app asks for user permission before tracking the location, does app allow users revoke the permissions? Both Android and iOS provide options to mock your locations for testing the app using emulators and simulators.

Orientation: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, lie in the couch.

People can change the orientation for various reasons, any mobile app should be able to provide a consistent user experience across different orientations. Test all your screens, pop-ups, toast messages, forms in all supported orientations. There are instance where the filled in form data disappears when you change the orientation. Never test a mobile app just sitting in your desk, take it to rest rooms, lie down in a couch and use it while traveling and test if it gives the same user experience with all different orientation.

Network: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, switch networks.

Mobile devices supports both cellular and wi-fi, they can automatically switch between any available networks. How does your app behave when the device switches between networks? These are critical especially if your apps core purpose is to send and receive data to remote server like e-commerce, banking, broadcasting apps. Make sure all such functionality behavior is tested for all such varying network switching, network strengths.

Gestures: In mobile world, app responds to gestures not clicks.

Does your app supports all standard gestures? Is it consistent across the app? If it uses any new gestures, is it easy for the users to understand? I would recommend to play The Room game (a paid game available for both iOS and Android) to understand the unlimited potential of gestures.

Function:

Any function that defines or distinguishes the product or fulfills core requirements. Test for interactions, error handling, starting and closing of the app, file access, navigation, multimedia, and sync. Did you try tapping all GUI? Did you fill in all the input fields? Did you navigate to all the screens? Are you able to navigate back?

User Scenarios:

How easy or how hard is it to complete a task using the app? Is the first time user able to understand the work flow? Any scenario should have a story that is credible, motivating, complex and easy to evaluate. List possible users and list them the ways they might use the system to accomplish a task. Try to think about disfavored users and how they might try to exploit the app. Compare with competitor or web interface to get more real life scenarios. Refer: An Introduction to Scenario Testing

Notifications:

Notifications enable an application to inform its users that it has something for them. How does your application use notifications? How easy is to turn on or turn off your app from notifications? Does the application use local or push notifications? How does your application behave if device is in sleep mode? Does the app provide too many notifications? Test for all available types of visual notifications, sound and vibration.

Communication:

These days’ people use mobile phones for various purpose, but the primary purpose for voice calls. How does the app behave after interruptions by an incoming call or an SMS? Test for such interruptions from voice communication and all necessary functions of your app. Many times app will not be able to recover after attending a voice call for a longer duration.

Updates:

Unlike desktop mobile app gets frequent updates. Not only app updates but as a tester one has to be aware of OS updates as well. How the users are informed about updates? Does the app support the silent update? Track what changes or new features are available in the latest OS update. Analyse if the app needs any modification because of the OS updates.

Platform:

It is very critical for any mobile app tester to have a good understanding of the popular mobile platforms especially Apple and Android. Be a  fan-boy of either one of these platforms (it’s impossible to be a fan of both ;-) ) So, you know why Apple and Android does certain things in certain way. You need to be aware of the history and also the latest trends in the mobile platform. What tools are available for testing and what kind of test-ability layers are provided by the platform. Example Developer Options in Android, Instruments in Xcode.

Testers also should have good knowledge in App store Approval process, HIG, Android Design guidelines. This helps to take the app to the market very quick. It takes one to two weeks to get it approved by Apple App Store, so rejection wastes a lot of time. So, testers has to have a checklist handy to check those approval and guideline tests.

Testers should also should be aware of android fragmentation, you will never know in which device your app works and which it may fail. So, should keep an eye on the popular devices, new devices and the android OS market share to select an optimal device matrix to test.

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