5 Common Software Testing Gotchas

Test Fail

No matter how strong the quality of a digital agency, a solid testing methodology remains essential. As anyone in the software development industry will know, bugs and errors are an inevitable consequence in the building process and only a strong plan for testing will uncover them (before the client does!).

At Strategic apps we have a wide experience of cloud software systems and projects. Over the years we have maintained a solid method for testing and quality assurance, with some common things to check and perfect. Here are the top 5 areas to focus when testing a business software..

1. Every single option

It can be all to easy to make safe assumptions when becoming overfamilliar with a software. After many hours repeating similar processes a certain mindset sets in, then most will happily ignore a few circumstances under the confidence they are probably safe. This is where the error lies – trying every user type, every button and every variation in a process is vital to finding that one rare instance that throws an error. Sometimes this can’t be practical, there could be options that number in the thousands, at this point a judgement must be taken about the extent of rigorous testing.

2. The idiot

Sometimes when a user discovers a strange problem, and recreates the path they took to find it, the developer may think ‘only an idiot would do something like that’. This is the wrong interpretation of a strange user path and bug; fault must lie with a clearly unintuitive user experience and inefficient testing. Taking the ‘idiot’ role involves doing the wrong thing, clicking unpredictably in the wrong places and whilst a page is still loading, ticking all checkboxes and not selecting options, finding that error screen is the reward of the idiot test.

3. The validator

Sites often feature forms which have essential or required information. Simply trying to add or pass the form without entering any info is a simple test, does the validator prompt you to enter info and stop your progress without? Testing these and finding ways of ‘beating the validator’ will help find methods users may look to exploit and ensure users are helped to provide the right information.

Lack of testing

4. Work the browser

As any developer will know, the browser causes a lot of issues. Keeping consistency between the main browser types and older versions of Internet Explorer will often require extra development and uncover browser specific bugs. A modern cause of trouble for developers is the back button – a browsers’ back button can undo in-page save settings and display so it’s important to try a browsers’ features and plugins to see the problems they can cause.

5. Common sense

The other essential test is the human test – common sense. Simply checking the site makes sense, the user flow is clear and navigable and that all tasks can be completed is the most important thing of all. Spelling and wording of text, particularly on instruction and help areas is important, as is the page titles, highlighted menu and obvious navigation. Sometimes a simple user requirement can be missed until the last moment.

There is no way of making your site 100% error free, as another can always be uncovered at any moment. The key is to keep the right vigilant philosophy and clear testing plan for every step of the way, approach your site as the end user.

To find out more about the Strategic Apps development process visit our website.

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