User’s Mistakes and his experience

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.

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Fish Tank , a Test Model for Android and iOS apps

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!

Smart Phone Mobile App Needs Smart Testers

I am happy and proud to share that I will be presenting “Smart Phone Mobile app needs smart testers”  in CAST 2014.

Mobile applications are developed with immense creativity and effort. Mobile users demand a sleeker experience with applications compared to desktop users. End users set their expectations very high, based on their experience with state of the art iOS and Android platforms they use every day. The mindset of mobile users is very different from web or desktop users. The key aspects users expect from mobile app is speed, sleekness and social sharing (SSS). As a result, testing mobile apps must be on par with experience offered by state of the art mobile platforms.

This talk will cover

  • How to tune the tester’s mindset to model test approaches specific to smart phone apps
  • How to design tests at the UI level to find issues beyond the usual functional and non-functional testing.
  • How to  design mobile tests to uncover issues hidden under mobile UI.
  • How to design tests for  user experience.

Full CAST 2014 schedule is here

See you in New York!