Last week I participated in a competition conducted by 99tests.com, a crowd sourced testing start-up from India. This is my approach\experience report on how I tested and won the competition.
What were the givens?
No requirement, no design documents, no test cases, no use cases, no user stories. All I had were credentials to login and the URL to test. So, do I need to agitate and not to start testing until I get requirements? Do I sit and write test cases? Any conventional scripted testers would’ve struck wondering what to do. So, here is a warning for all those scripted testers it looks things are changing because of agile approach and such crowd sourced testing services.
How did iStart?
I didn’t waste any time exploring the application. I thought the best approach with the givens (actually no givens ;-)) would be, jump straight into using the application and observing the behavior. I thought that would help with forming test ideas and then to build from there.
Being a user of such online shopping sites helped me to frame some initial expectation. So, started with Follow the (user) Flow heuristics. I decided to create my own credentials instead of using test credentials and login. Then observe how easy or buggy it is to find an item, add to cart, check out, paying through a third party payment gateway and choose a shipping address of my choice.
Did iFollow the flow?
Registration was successful upon giving correct details. But I didn’t get to see any error message, so decided to enter some invalid data to find the application behavior. What I found in giving invalid input was the error messages were not user-friendly, not just in terms of the message, in terms of usability as well. Error messages were in a different page and users needing to click back button to get back to the registration page. On click on back button the entire data entered were lost. So, this made me take a deviation from my initial plans of Follow the flow. Decided to test this module thoroughly, wondering why? Read bug advocacy of this bug below.
How iDid bug advocacy?
I didn’t just log the bug with a summary line, description, steps to reproduce and screen shots. Instead, I also explained how and why this might bug the users and impact of the bug.
The user registration page plays a vital role in giving the first impression about the application behavior. Also, users use online shopping sites mainly to save time, by displaying errors in another page and asking the user to come back to previous screen to correct the data is actually wasting sufficient time. This advocacy helps in understanding the real impact of such bugs. So, always explain how any bugs\issues found would potentially affect the user experience.
Your bugs are your representatives. The bug logging also depends on context, if you know your developers very well and if he is sitting next to you, the bug logging, or advocacy may differ from the way you log bugs in crowd sourced testing. Here you have no clue about, who is doing bug triage, developers and their understanding of the product. So always give as much detail as possible so that they can’t reject your bugs.
Always remember this most famous movie dialogs of all time, from “The God Father” movie while logging the bugs
“I’m going to make him an offer (details) he can’t refuse (to fix).”
Did iJust log bugs?
No, I went through most of the bugs logged by other testers. I posted comments, raised questions where ever I felt the bug was really not a bug or if the priority was inflated or if the issues were duplicated. Also, I neither missed to appreciate some good bugs reported by other testers nor missed to learn from fellow testers. I was actually a little disappointed that there were a significant amount of bugs without clear description and duplicates.
What were my objectives?
Than winning the competition, my objective was to log the maximum number of valid bugs. Ended logging 50 valid bugs, maximum by any tester. Also wanted to maintain a high bug acceptance ratio, 86% of the bugs were valid. Happy with that but still wanted to improve on acceptance ratio.
So, What iDidn’t test?
I found few even tested the Facebook ‘Like’ gadgets, Payment gateway and spell checks in the application’s blog. Though few of such bugs were valid, those were not from the application under test, so they got rejected. So,
Know your boundaries, so you do good enough testing in given time.
Ready to try some bug advocacy?
Here are a few other bugs logged by me, try to advocate for them. The application under test was an online shopping site.
- “Similar Items” feature is missing.
- Same book title, but displayed with huge difference in price tag.
- The amount should always be right justified.
- On entering the special characters the system through an “invalid gift message”
- Pre order items are shown as Available and Buy Now.
- Is the final price displayed in product description inclusive of taxes?
- Can’t store search results.
Happy Bug Hunting!
Some of my favorite lessons in Bug Advocacy chapter of “Lessons Learned in Software Testing” book
55: You are what you write.
58: Your bug report is your representative.
83: The summary line is the most important line in the bug report.
89: Use market or support data when appropriate.
101: When you decide to fight, decide to win!