The perfect recipe of testing methods for your software application
Every comprehensive software testing strategy uses a combination of different testing methods. Which one is going to be used, strongly depends on the kind of software that needs to be tested. From completely automated testing methods and scripted test cases to explorative tests and private or public beta tests: the right application of quality and succession will insure the best possible examination of your software before its official launch.
An overview of the three most important stages on the path to a software that is free of bugs and explanation of each testing method’s value, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as the right time to use them:
A technological product (Software) is inspected according to exact parameters. Test cases do primarily guarantee that a software can be correctly used, just as the developers been imagining it. The main advantage of this kind of testing is a quick dulcification and reproducibility – that way they can be repeated identically in every phase of the development process.
A simple example could be e.g testing a shopping cart of an online shop. Questions that can be answered using test cases are among the following: Can every product of the shop be added to the shopping cart? Appear all prices of the products correctly?
This kind of testing can verify crucial insights but can also be fairly limited. What if the shopping cart would show wrong pictures or wrong product descriptions? If those parameters are not considered while setting up the test, they won’t have an effect on this test run.
Every kind of software and every single product profits from the dialogue with stakeholders and target group to gain important feedback before and during the development process. Exploratory tests checks the system in depth by not requiring the tester to adhere to pre-defined parameters. Each tester investigates a software individually to discover aspects that the developer might have overlooked.
In our shopping cart example they would also test the possibility to remove things or change the number of items.
Software testing can be done regularly before a release – but as soon as it hits the market you will be confronted with a variety of unexpected things. It doesn’t matter if you decide involving the target group as potential testers on a live software or provide an public access for the software’s beta version: Important note – collecting feedback before the official product release is essential.
There is no appropriate substitute for real world conditions – but at least it’s worth a try. Usability tests can help to reveal shortcomings of a system and teach us a lot about the expectations of your potential users at the same time - how your product will likely be perceived in the real world.
Regarding the shopping cart, users might fill it up but return one week later. In this case he would expect that the shopping items are still stored in the shopping cart ready for checkout. If not he would decide against continue shopping in the worst case scenario. Different users will do things that seem intuitive to them, while it seems completely implausible to you. Users will always produce scenarios that developer and QA personnel did not consider.
The mix matters!
The choice for the combination of the different test methods depends on the type of system as well as the future users. Generally, business softwares are mostly tested automatically, e.g. verification of processes, whereas usability tests are more recommended for consumer-oriented systems like online shops or social games.
A good approach is to focus on test cases, until the core functions of your software are working properly. Shift to exploratory testing thereafter to get relevant feedback to functions you might have missed in your development.
Round out your testing process with usability tests to find out your user´s acceptance and get your product into an optimal form for your target group before the official release.