How Apple Aims To Improve App Store Discovery With iOS 8

This story was originally published on the Applause App Quality Blog by Dan Rowinski.

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Sometimes you can’t find the app you are looking for.

A single app in Apple’s App Store is just the perfect one that you are seeking. With 1.2 million apps, it has to be in there somewhere, right? It may be a new calendar app to that syncs your iCal, Google Calendar and Outlook meetings. Or it is a messaging app that focuses on standard and proper English, eschewing the craze of emoji and emoticons endemic today’s popular communication methods. You know somebody at some point must have built this app, but it is impossible to find.

App Store discovery has been a massive problem for developers, users and Apple for the last several years. App Store search is inadequate for most people’s needs and the top lists that Apple relies upon have created a top-heavy capitalistic market that breeds poor quality apps.

Apple is not ignorant to this problem. In 2012 it spent a reported $50 million to improve the App Store and acquired app search engine Chomp to enhance discoverability. The improvements proved minimal and Apple eventually shuttered Chomp and rolled its intellectual property into iOS 6. Judging by the current discourse among the iOS developer community, Apple still has a lot of work to do to help app makers sell their wares.

Apple has some more improvements for the App Store coming with iOS 8 that it hopes will arrest the issue.

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How to Get Started on uTest Projects

The best part about working in the uTest Community is seeing the number of new testers who join our ranks everyday. We see testers new uTest-logoto the testing world, as well as veteran testers who have years of experience. No matter your experience level, we have resources to help guide you toward your first paid project with uTest.

The first step is to sign up with uTest and make sure you have an Expanded profile. Not sure? Check out this simple set of instructions. 

The first stop in our journey after registration is a course in uTest University called “Getting Started with uTest Paid Projects.” This course contains answers to many of the questions that new uTesters typically have, like how to update your Expanded profile and how to get invited to the Sandbox program.

Keep in mind that, in order for uTest to match you with incoming projects, you will need to keep your testing profile complete and up-to-date. For example, if a project requires testers in Canada with BlackBerry devices and your profile matches these requirements, we will then be able to notify you of an upcoming test cycle. Be sure to update your profile as you pick up new gadgets (mobile devices, laptops, etc.) and update your software. Many customers are especially interested in testers with the latest devices for testing purposes. Removing outdated items you no longer own is also very important.

The next stop takes a step back from uTest and examines the greater software testing realm. In short, without a solid foundation in testing fundamentals, it will no doubt be tough to develop as a tester at uTest. “Building Your Software Testing Skills” is a great primer for new testers and vets alike, and contains many testing resources, those recommended by a 15-year software testing veteran, that are intended to help you grow as a software tester.

Coming back into the uTest world, the next stop is the “5 Steps to Succeeding in Your First uTest Project” course. Once you’ve been invited to a uTest project, there are helpful steps outlined in the course that will assist you, such as how to accept your first invitation, review the scope and chat, submit your bug reports, submit your test case, and check in on your bug reports in the event a Project Manager or Test Team Lead has a question.

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Load Testing Tool LoadStorm Introduces LITE Version

Untitled5Creator of cloud testing tool LoadStorm, CustomerCentrix, today announced that it has released a LITE version of its cloud load testing tool.

This version is designed to be a cost-effective, easy-to-use complement to its enterprise level tool, LoadStorm PRO. According to the company, LoadStorm allows users to set up tests in the web application and run them from the cloud with no hardware to purchase and no software to install. Users will be able to try LITE for free from their site.

Don’t forget to leave a review of LoadStorm if you’ve used the cloud load testing tool in the past, and be sure to check out the complete library of testing Tool Reviews to check out comparable load testing tools and see which is best for your testing team’s needs.

uTest Announces Tester of the Quarter

uTesters may be pretty familiar with uTester of the Year already. Continuing the theme of recognizing and championing our best testers,little-u uTest is proud to launch a brand-new, community-wide recognition initiative — Tester of the Quarter!

This quarterly program exists solely to recognize and award the rock stars of our global community, and differs from uTester of the Year in that it puts the power of nominations directly in the hands of our testing community:

  • Testers will be able to easily recognize their peers’ dedication and great work in various facets of their participation at uTest: test cycle performance, course writing, blogging, etc.
  • And not just peers – testers will have the chance to recognize Test Team Leads and Project Managers, as well as mentors who have helped them along their testing journey on paid projects at uTest

Additionally, once the nominating is complete, all winners will have their names proudly displayed on a “Hall of Fame” recognition board. The Hall of Fame will serve as the recognition hub for not only Tester of the Quarter, but all uTest award programs, including past uTesters of the Year and uTest Lifetime Achievement Awards (coming soon!), and will be a mainstay on the uTest site.

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Quality is Customer Value: My Quest for the uTest MVT Award

One thing I respect about uTest is their continual pursuit of ways to increase customer value. It’s an essential business objective to ensure the health and growtrophy_goldenth of our company. ‘Value’ should be the middle name of any good tester. “Lucas Value Dargis.” Sounds pretty cool, huh?

I had just finished my 26th uTest test cycle in mid-2012. I had put an extra amount of focus and effort into this cycle because there was something special at stake. On some occasions, uTest offers an MVT award which is given to the Most Valuable Tester of the cycle. The selection process takes several things into account including the quality of the bugs found, clear documentation, participation, and of course, customer value.

The MVT award not only offers a nice monetary prize, but it’s also a way to establish yourself as a top tester within the uTest Community. I decided I was going to win that MVT award.

As usual, I started by defining my test strategy. I took the selection criteria and the project scope and instructions into account and came out with these five strategic objectives:

  • Focus on the customer-defined ‘focus’ area
  • Report only high-value bugs
  • Report more bugs then anyone else
  • Write detailed, easy-to-understand bug reports
  • Be active on the project’s chat

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Snagit for Windows Features Every Tester Needs to Know

I used TechSmith’s Snagit before I started working here. I was creating simple screen captures with annotations for my test documentation and reporting defects. The more I used Snagit, the more it became a part of my daily workflow. I discovered that many testers are doing just what I did — using Snagit for those simple screen capture tasks. But it’s far more powerful than that. And the robust features in Snagit are often overlooked because testers find lots of value in the capture experience alone.

To better understand the features that testers love most about Snagit, I turned to our testers here at TechSmith. Who better to give advice on Snagit features than the testers that help make it! Here are the top features of Snagit our testers use to make their work shine.

Video Capture

Video in Snagit? Yep, it’s in there, but you might be wondering why you would want to use it. It can be difficult to describe the complex behaviors of software solely through text. Capturing video of a defect or anomaly in action is a far more powerful demonstration. With video, you can describe the behavior prior to and following an anomaly. Essentially, you’re narrating the defect. And video is extremely helpful when working with remote testers or developers.

To capture a video, simply activate a capture and select the video button:

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18,796 Android Devices: Developers and Testers Worse Off?

android_fragment_transparent-264x300Apple has always prided itself on a sleak, sexy, streamlined experience. Moreover, this is one same experience that the user on his iPhone 4 in the United States may very well be sharing with that iPhone 4 in India.

Now take a look at Android. He’s kind of the sloppy guy at the wedding that decided to wear shorts and sandals. But this operating system of the Big Two has always embraced this different and defiant but sloppy lifestyle, with a customized experience on each device that’s as unique as a snowflake.

However, as of late, Android has recently taken this very un-Apple business model to an extreme. According to PC Magazine, there are now approximately 18,796 unique Android devices in-the-wild. And this number has jumped a whopping 60% in just one year from just over 11,000.

So with this proliferation of Android devices floating around, has the experience for Android testers and developers become that much more of a horror show full of challenges? We’d like to hear from you in the Comments below.

Three Things Testers Can Learn From Wine Experts

When I’m not testing, one of my favorite hobbies is alcohol. Wait…that didn’t come out right. What I meant was my hobby is learning about winSommelier_e_Tastevine, beer and sprits. Yeah, that sounds better.

While I do love a cold beer in the summer, a single-malt scotch when I’m feeling sophisticated, or an 1855 classified Bordeaux on special occasions, I think I spend more time studying booze than I do drinking it. I really enjoy learning about the various Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOCs) in France, and the differences between a Pinot Noir from California and one from Burgundy. I sound pretty smart, huh?

As any cultured, refined wine connoisseur such as myself knows, the true masters of the bottle are called sommeliers. These fine folks are highly trained adult beverage experts who often work in fancy, fine-dining restaurants, setting the wine list, caring for the cellar and working with customers to help them select the perfect wine.

So what could a tester possibly learn from a someone obsessed with booze? Good question! I have three answers.

Be passionate

I have yet to find people who are more passionate about what they do than Master Sommeliers. Need proof? Watch the movie Somm (available on Netflix). The tremendous amount of dedication and effort these people pour (wink, wink) into their work is simply astounding.

A sommelier must be constantly learning and exploring. Each year, a new vintage of every wine is created. That means thousands of new wines are added to the multitude that already exist…and a sommelier is expected to be familiar with with all of them. And you thought the IT world was constantly changing!

There will always be a new product to test, a new approach to learn, a new idea to debate. Testers who are passionate about testing are excited about these new developments as they are opportunities to grow and improve.

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The 10 Hottest Devices for Mobile App Testing

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Image Courtesy: XING (https://devblog.xing.com/)

Testers within our community often want to know on which devices they should be testing. Concurrently, developers also want to know where their beautiful creations should be given the most love.

Thankfully we have a magical data team that can take any request we throw their way, and give us such statistics on the hottest devices requested by our customers.

We sent such a request over to our trusty data team, and magically (for me, anyways, as an English/Communications major), they came back with this list of the 10 most tested mobile devices at uTest. The criteria for this data were the devices (both phones and tablets) on which the most bugs were filed in the past 30 days. Here’s the top 10 in order of popularity:

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Testers Aren’t Psychic: Six Ways Developers Can Be More Transparent With Testers

Dear Developers:resized_business-cat-meme-generator-i-m-good-but-i-m-not-psychic-d50a02

Testers aren’t mind readers.  We’re not psychic or telepathic, either.  Please write your test cases and review our bug reports accordingly.

With Love,
Your QA Testers

Many testers dislike seeing the dreaded “Working as Designed” rejection reason on our bug reports because, in many cases, we had no idea it was designed to work that way.  To us, it just seemed like something wasn’t quite right, and it’s our job to tell you these things.

In fact, if a tester who has the perspective of a new user (someone who has no prior experience with what they’re testing and sees the environment in a way a brand-new user would) writes up a bug report on a feature that seems to be broken or working poorly, there’s a good chance new users will also think the same thing. Perhaps you should review the design and user experience to see if there’s a flaw there.

After all, quality assurance is not just about telling developers when a page errors or when a link is broken. It’s also about telling you when your software does not work in such a way that a user will find it to be a useful, quality, worthwhile experience.

It might seem like a pain in the butt, but we’re really just trying to do our jobs and help make your project a complete success.  Really! We’re on the same team, I promise.

When you ask us to test something for you, try and do the following things. They will help us help you and, in turn, your projects:

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