There are several strands which have led to what I’m hoping to do, somehow, which is to involve and record various people actually testing mobile apps. Some of that testing is likely to be unguided by me i.e. you’d do whatever you think makes sense, and some of the testing would be guided e.g. where I might ask you to try an approach such as SFDPOT. I’d like to collect data and your perspectives on the testing, and in some cases have the session recorded as a video (probably done with yet another mobile phone).
Assuming I manage to collect enough examples (and I don’t yet know how much ‘enough’ is) then I’d like to use what’s been gathered to help others learn various practical ways they can improve their testing based on the actual testing you and others did. There’s a possibility a web site called TechBeacon (owned by HP Enterprises who collaborated with my book on using mobile analytics to help improve testing) would host and publish some of the videos and discoveries. Similarly I may end up writing some research papers aimed at academia to improve the evidence of what testing works better than others and particularly to compare testing that’s done in an office (as many companies do when testing their mobile apps) vs. testing in more realistic scenarios.
The idea I’m proposing is not one I’ve tried before and I expect that we’ll learn and improve what we do by practicing and sometimes things going wrong in interesting ways.
So as a start – if you’re willing to give this a go – you’ll probably need a smartphone (I assume you’ve got at least one) and a way to record you using the phone when testing an app on it. We’ll probably end up testing several and various apps. I’m involved in some of the apps, not others e.g. I help support the offline Wikipedia app called Kiwix (available for Android, iOS and desktop operating systems see kiwix.org and/or your local app store for a copy).
Your involvement would be voluntary and unpaid. If you find bugs it’d be good to try reporting them to whoever’s responsible for the app which gives them the opportunity to address them and we’d also learn which app developers are responsive (and I expect some will seemingly ignore us entirely). You’d also be welcome to write about your experiences publicly, tweet, etc. whatever helps encourage and demonstrate ways to help us collectively learn how to test mobile apps effectively (and identify what doesn’t work well).
I’ve already had 4 people interested in getting involved, which led me to write this post on my blog to encourage more people to get involved. I also aim to encourage additional people who come to my workshops (at Agile India on 6th March) and at Let’s Test in Sweden in mid May. Perhaps we’ll end up having a forum/group so you can collectively share experiences, ideas, notes, etc. It’s hard for me to guess whether this will grow or atrophy. If you’re willing to join in the discovery, please do.
Please ping me on twitter https://twitter.com/julianharty if you’d like to know more and/or get started.