Incorporating User Feedback in Development Leads to Better Software Releases

Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia.voice_of_user2

By considering the performance of in-development software from the perspective of the end user, QA teams can better address disruptive issues.

Software testing can often be an arduous and stressful process. Even in traditional waterfall production methods, quality assurance teams are typically faced with a months-long period colloquially known as the “death march” as developments near release. During these moments, QA management and teams hunker down and toil away, attempting to address as many remaining coding flaws as possible before the software goes into production. The proliferation of agile development principles has only escalated this trend as QA members are constantly working to identify areas of improvement during the entire course of development.

It’s understandable if QA objectives become a little shortsighted under these conditions and testers place all of their focus on finding bugs and coding errors. However, testing managers need to remain cognizant of the ultimate goal of any successful development process: optimizing the end user experience.

QA performance cannot be measured by the number of bug reports generated, but by the satisfaction of software users following a product’s release. To that end, it is advantageous to consider the viewpoint of the consumer and incorporate user feedback into the development process.

Usability critical to software performance

In a truly agile software development project, user feedback is a critical component of the production cycle, helping to guide tester and developer efforts to improve the performance of the application.

By considering how individuals engage with a piece of software and what problems may commonly occur or will be most disruptive to the user experience, developers and QA teams can better focus on addressing those issues. That fact is that despite the best efforts of software testers, coding flaws are essentially an inevitability. No software is 100 percent perfectly written, but the most successful programs are often those that perform at an optimal level with a bare minimum of usability issues.

In a Software Testing Help post, quality assurance expert Santhosh Kumar Ponnusamy outlined several of the traits characterizing a successful tester. In particular, he highlighted the openness to consider the end user viewpoint and the staunch commitment to improving consumer satisfaction.

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Android Screen Mirroring Tool Showdown: Which App is Your Go-to?

Video captured by testers is an integral piece of the puzzle for developers; faster understanding of the problem youmobizen‘re encountering means faster identification the root issue to enact the necessary changes.

If you’ve ever tried to find a screen-mirroring tool for Android, you’ve likely waded through dozens of applications that at first seem like solid solutions, before ending in headaches and time wasted on confusing setup steps. Some even require your device to be rooted, which is no use if you’re participating in testing that prohibits using modified devices!

If only there were a simple way to project what you see on your Android device’s screen to a computer monitor! Alas, there are indeed a few tools you can start using today, but which is the best?

  • Some testers have praised Droid@Screen for its intuitive, user-friendly interface while others down-rate its ability to stream video at a usable rate and its lack of an in-app video recorder.
  • How about Mobizen? Touted as easy to install with good frame rates, yet the input method changes for different applications, resulting in some user confusion.
  • MyMobiler is the go-to for some uTesters, who enjoy its wireless connection and keyboard control during recording but have experienced periodic disconnection problems.
  • Heard of AndroidScreenCast? Some features of the app require your device to be rooted, so do the pros outweigh the cons?

Hop on over to our Tool Reviews section and check em’ out, then tell us what you think! Have any better suggestions for Android screen mirroring apps? Submit them to our Tool Reviews repository and share your hard-earned knowledge.

So who wins the Android screen mirroring tool showdown? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

Load Testing Not Performed in Most Organizations: Should it be an Optional Affair?

We’ve all seen the disastrous results of not properly load testing and sites not being able to shoulder the traffic — the healthcare.gov site crashing in the United States is one load-testingexample where people’s livelihoods were actually put at risk (e.g. this wasn’t someone being inconvenienced today while pre-ordering the iPhone 6).

So you’d think that more organizations would be taking load testing seriously as part of the software development process, given the bottom-line risks to the business. However, according to a Software Testing Magazine report citing a survey from the Methods & Tools software development magazine, only 24% of organizations load test all of their projects, and even as high as 34% don’t perform any load or performance testing.

I’d be interested to dig deeper into this report, because it isn’t clear if this is a widespread issue in software development, or just in certain sectors. For example, organizations that make up this survey respondent pool may want to re-think their load testing strategies if they’re in industries with a low tolerance for crashes or slow site performance — i.e. retail. Nonetheless, this is still a surprising number.

Is load testing just an optional step for software development organizations? Or have they still not learned with the number of high-profile site crashes as of late? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.

There’s an App U for That: uTest in New England Journal of Higher Education

If you haven’t noticed, apps are kind of a big deal right now.little-u How big? To the tune of about 466,000 jobs from 2007 to 2012 being created by the apps economy, according to a TechNet survey.

It is also anticipated that employer demand will create 3.7 million new IT jobs by 2016. So it’s only natural, going hand-in-hand with this explosive job growth, that there is a need for workers with skill sets that will allow them to run the tech necessary to power this new app economy.

According to Applause/uTest Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Matt Johnston, who sat down for an interview with the New England Journal of Higher Education, it’s also an “alternative” path that testers are taking to learn these in-demand skill sets:

“With a recent surge in employment thanks to the proliferation of IT jobs, many adults who are seeking to turn their careers around and want to participate in the apps economy are turning to alternative education paths—because going back to college will take too long for them to obtain a degree.”

uTest has been proud to have been a part of this alternative path with the launch of uTest University almost a year ago, designed to be a single source for testers of all experience levels to access free training courses. You can check out the full article right here with Matt’s interview, which gets into how testers and other IT workers are taking education into their own hands in this new economy, and how programs like uTest University and other massive open online courses (MOOCs) are leading the charge.

And you can also start your education right away — no expensive textbooks needed — over at uTest University, totally free to members of the uTest Community.

Latest Testing in the Pub Podcast: Views on Testing Communities

Testing in the PubThe latest Testing in the Pub podcast takes advantage of summer — really, the waning days of summer at this point — by having a pint in the beer garden and discussing testing with community leader and organizer of London Tester Gatherings Tony Bruce.

uTester and podcast host Steve Janaway sits down with Tony to discuss, amongst other things, an especially pertinent topic for anyone reading this blog right now as a uTester — the need for testing communities in software development and testing. We agree, Tony!

Be sure to check out the full podcast right here.

6 Things You Need to Know About the iPhone 6

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

Bigger and bolder, Apple has finally embraced the large screen. Apple latest iPhones were announced on Tuesday and it comes in two variants: the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Each is bigger and more powerful than any iPhone Apple has ever made.

In its announcement, Apple referred to the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus at the greatest phones ever made. It is a bit of hyperbole that Apple has been prone towards in its iPhone announcements through history, a legacy of the late Steve Jobs. But nearly everything about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is bigger and badder, a worthy successor to Apple’s smartphone franchise and likely to be the most sought-after gift this coming holiday shopping season.

What do you need to know about the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Let’s break it down.

Screen Size And Resolution

Apple has finally broken out of its mold and listened to what people want. Consumers want bigger screens on smartphones. Thus, mobile app developers want bigger screens on because that is what consumers want.

Well, Apple has delivered.

The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch screen with a 4.7-inch, 1334-by-750 screen that translates to pixels-per-inch (ppi). Good news for developers, this is the exact same pixel count as the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPad Mini with Retina Display.

iphone_6_iphone_6_plus-1024x577

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen with a 1920-by-1080 resolution with 401-ppi. The new pixels-per-inch count will be what developers are going to focus on because it is this metric that will directly effect what their existing apps will look like on larger screens. To this end, Apple has created an desktop-class scaler in the Xcode integrated developer environment to deal with all the new screen sizes and (limited) pixel variation among iOS devices. Apple also employs the Adaptive Layout feature introduced in iOS 7 (and advanced in iOS 8) to help developers make apps that fit any of its device sizes.

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Get $300 Off Your STPCon Registration with uTest Discount Code

The Fall edition of Software Test Professionals Conference & Expo (STPCon) is coming up in November and we are so excited to offer uTesters a special discount to the show. STPCON-APPLAUSE-AD

STPCon is the leading conference on software testing and covers test leadership, management and strategy. Attendees can hear industry experts like Mark Tomlinson, Alessandra Moreira, and Mile Lyles share their knowledge and experience. Featured sessions include “In the Cloud and On the Ground: Real-World Performance Testing Stories” and “Tips for Painless API Testing.” 

As a special offer to our testing community, you can use our special discount code to receive $300 off your registration for the show, including early bird pricing! Book before early bird pricing ends September 19, and the price for the main conference drops to $995, the conference plus workshop to $1295 and the conference plus two-day certification class to $2095 with our code.

In addition to STPCon, we have other special uTester discounts to upcoming shows:

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Happy Testers Day: How Will You Celebrate?

A sharp-eyed tester in our community has reminded me that it’s Testers Day. No, we didn’t make that up.ladybug-clipart-celebrate

Developers get a lot of the limelight, but it’s about time that testers get their day in the sun, and what better day than September 9 to celebrate that fact!

Wait, so what significance does September 9 have to testers, you say? Well, let’s say we just wouldn’t be using the term “bug” or “debugging” without this date or the influential woman associated with this date.

According to the Computer History Museum, on September 9, 1947, American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear admiral Grace Murray Hopper recorded the first computer bug in history while working on the Harvard Mark II computer. The problem was traced to a moth stuck between a relay in the machine, which Hopper logged in Mark II’s log book with the explanation: “First actual case of bug being found.”

So there you have it, folks. A momentous event deserves celebration and commemoration. How will you celebrate Testers Day? With a cake? By finding a bug in Grace Hopper’s honor? Be sure to let us know in the Comments below. In the meantime, be sure to give your colleague a high-five and wish them a Happy Testers Day.

Video Roundup: The Best of the Selenium Conference

The 2014 edition of the Selenium Conference in Bangalore, India, just wrapped up this weekend, bringing automation fans from around the world together for three days of workshops and networking.

While there’s sure to be some video rounded up soon for Selenium developers and automation enthusiasts who couldn’t make it this weekend (which we’ll share with our automation community), we’ve rounded up some of the great presentations from the 2013 edition of the show.

According to the Selenium Conference, the show is a volunteer-run, non-profit event presented by members of the Selenium Community. The goal of the conference is to bring together Selenium developers & enthusiasts from around the world to share ideas, socialize, and work together on advancing the present and future success of the project.

Beyond just automation, be sure to also check out uTest’s entire Events Calendar, your one stop for all events — virtual and live — covering the testing spectrum.

Simon Stewart, Selenium State of the Union

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Meet the uTesters: Steve Greenhill

524118_499758870038725_1059980591_nSteve Greenhill is a Gold-rated tester and Test Team Lead (TTL) on Paid Projects at uTest, hailing from England. Steve has over ten years of experience in software testing, including as a team lead, and has worked on both manual- and automation-driven projects. He has worked in a wide range of sectors from banking to education and TV broadcasting.

Be sure to also follow Steve’s profile on uTest as well so you can stay up to date with his activity in the community!

uTest: Android or iOS?

Steve: Most definitely, Android. I have always liked the flexibility along with the ease of capturing logs and other debugging information from a test perspective. I certainly think iOS set the bar initially, but it has been interesting seeing the progression Android has made. Admittedly, imitation at the start was the best form of flattery to Apple. Now, I do think Android is pushing technology a little better. It is not to say I don’t have a few Apple devices, though.

uTest: What drew you into testing initially? What’s kept you at it?

Steve: I studied Computer Science at the degree level, and at first, I thought I wanted to be a programmer. I have always enjoyed a social life, and while on University placement as a developer, I spent more time with the “cool guys” in QA. Which kind of made me think that I wanted their lifestyle a little more. That seems funny now, but I am glad I followed the testing approach. I love being challenged to find issues, to pursue a never-ending task of ensuring metrics are more effectively presented, and I love the daily “bridge-building” between developers and testers.

uTest: What’s your favorite part of being in the uTest community?

Steve: The favorite part is just that – being in a community. Throughout my years of “uTesting,” I have built a good relationship with Project Managers (PMs), TTLs and testers. This relationship is not only work-related, but has good social aspects, too. In terms of work, I literally have access to a wealth of knowledge. For example, I was struggling with a Japanese-focused issue, and I contacted one of my “uTest friends” based in that region for a translation of a field which just didn’t make sense in Google Translate.

On a social level, I work with some of the most amusing TTLs, so every day is quite funny! One thing I do say to people who are new to uTest is: Keep working hard — not everything happens right away. However, with the right focus and eagerness to succeed, you will soon be embraced by the Community.

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