Human Testing for Mobile Apps

Automated software tests are topical where they seem to be replacing much of the testing done by humans. Automated tests are faster, provide early feedback and cost little to run many times. Agile projects need automated tests to keep up with the frequent builds which may arrive tens or hundreds of times a day and need testing.

So human testing seems to be gathering cobwebs, even despised as unproductive, low-skilled work done by testers who don’t have the ‘skills’ to write automated tests. However, as an industry we ignore testing by humans at our peril. There’s so much testing that’s beyond practical reach of automated tests. It’s time to revive interactive testing performed by motivated and interested humans. This talk will help you to find a new impetus and focus for your interactive testing to complement automated tests.

Feelings and emotions are what users will judge your apps on, so let’s test and explore how users may feel about the mobile apps. Michael Bolton published an insightful article called: “I’ve Got a Feeling: Emotions in Testing by Michael Bolton”

Fast, efficient testing can augment the repetitive automated testing. BugFests, where a group of people meet to test the same piece of software together for up to an hour can be extremely productive at finding problems the automated tests haven’t.

Another technique is moving both you (from place to place) and the phone (by rotating it from portrait to landscape modes, etc.) may help find and expose bugs which are hard for your automated tests to discover.

I will be giving a keynote at VistaCon 2013 in April 2013 on this topic. Please email me if you would like to get involved in the discussion, share ideas, criticize, etc.