Why Understanding Your Testers Needs is Critical for Software Success
Whether you are building a mobile app or a something much more complex, building testing time into each software development project is an absolute must. Find out why understanding the needs of your testers is critical to the success or failure of your software projects.
Releasing a piece of software too early, before all the major bugs in it have been worked out, can be fraught with frustration when dealing with the aftermath. No developer writes code that is spot on perfect, and testing is an important and integral part of any software development project.
Whether you are building a mobile app or a something much more complex, building testing time into each software development project is an absolute must. You ideally will want to find and fix as many bugs as you can before your customers do, therefore having the right testing environment and a robust testing plan is crucial.
The key requirements of a software testing plan
Before you embark on a software testing plan, it is important you understand some of the key requirements of such a plan:
- The organizations business needs
Testing is not just all about writing scripts for automation and writing test cases. Testers cannot come up with the right test cases without a clear understanding of how the software will benefit the business.
Testers might think at first that convoluted technical aspects require the greatest attention, but there are other aspects that that will add a higher business value. For example, when creating banking software functionality and security will take precedence over UI and how it looks visually.
- Have a good understanding of targeted platforms and devices
Testers need to consider what devices users are most likely to access a website or an app from. The market is flooded with a variety of different platforms and devices, so optimizing these should be a major concern for testers.
Given that users will likely be accessing websites through different devices of varying resolutions, screen sizes and technical specifications responsive design should be at the forefront of software success. Therefore while it is not possible to test for every single device, testers must test their software on the primary devices used if nothing else.
- Choosing the correct testing tools
While this might seem obvious, no testing strategy will work without using the right tools for the job. As far as possible testers should use tools or platforms that will let them test on real devices. This is the best way to ensure stability in software testing and to detect any flaws or bugs that may appear when being used by real-life users.
For example, when testers are performing cross browser testing it is always better to use real browsers for testing rather than emulators, even for leading browsers such as Chrome or Edge.
- Ensure you have the right user stories
Having user stories are a great way to understand the user the software is targeted at. By understanding the user, testers can then make informed judgements about the preferences, motivation and nature of their interactions with a website or app.
If you are using agile development, a user story will often describe an informal, natural language of how an end user would interact with and view one or more features of a software system.
The importance of test environments for software success
It is imperative you know what environment you will conduct your testing in, especially when it comes to end-to-end testing. If you are not aware for example of what data has been put into your testing environment, you may miss out a critical part of the testing process.
Your testing environment is only as good as the data that has been put into it, so it is worth taking time to ensure that all necessary data and testing parameters have been added to your environment before testing commences. Necessary test data includes all permutations and combinations of data as identified in test case data requirements. Don’t forget data for negative test cases for error messages where appropriate.
To truly harness the power of your testing environment, ensuring that it is well designed from the outset is crucial. It should provide accurate feedback about the behavior and quality of the application that is being tested and provide you with the necessary set up to run your test cases effectively.
Your test environment will help you further by providing a dedicated area for you to isolate code and verify the behavior of the app being tested. This will ensure that no other activities will influence the output of the tests that are being run on your server.
It can also act as a copy of the production environment and is often the most crucial element a tester should be confident about. Testers need to be crystal clear that the application is behaving in the same way in the testing environment as it is in the production environment.
How to utilize testing environments for software success
A good test environment is a critical part of the software development lifecycle, with these environments enabling programmers to conduct tests to eliminate errors and improve the overall quality of the application being tested. Your test environment management system is crucial to finding and fixing bugs and errors in your software, and some of the most common ones are:
- Performance testing environment
This allows developers to measure how fast an application will respond to an interaction such as page load speeds, input processing, stability, reliability and so on.
- System integration testing
This allows you to check if all modules such as code modules, individual applications and client/server applications can communicate with each other effectively.
- User acceptance testing
This is conducted to check if the application meets all of the business requirements of the end user.
- Accessibility testing
This is the practice of making your mobile apps and web apps usable to as many people as possible, and helps with making them accessible to those with disabilities such as vision impairment, hearing disabilities or other cognitive and physical disabilities.
When you understand the needs and motivations of your testers, you can better allocate resources, streamline testing processes and manage a well-defined test environment, leading to a more efficient and effective testing cycle. You can also foster a more collaborative and productive relationship between the testing and development teams, leading to improved results, which can benefit everyone. This will all lead to a more successful project outcome.