Category Archives: Beginner Tips

New to QA? Don’t Be a Lone Tester

From time to time I teach people some QA basics. I do this at start-up companies, since most established companies have someone in-house to train QA. A couple of times I trained experienced testers who only had to transition to … Continue reading

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UX Review: Emergency Measures

If you’re working on a product and have no particular understanding of UX, you can still do a basic UX review to stop the most obvious disasters. This will not be as good as getting a UX expert or experienced … Continue reading

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The Testing Script is Only the Beginning

Ever see a bad actor? One who reads the lines in the weird, stilted intonation of an automated phone system without any emotion or thought? If you test only by the testing script, without ever re-writing it or improvising around … Continue reading

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Quick Writing Tip: Don’t Add Images Until the Text is Done

Here’s a quick writing tip for user manuals: don’t add your images to the manual until you’re done writing your text. This has two advantages. The first is that when you add images one at a time over the long … Continue reading

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Lessons I Learned as a Tester, 3: Chinese Whispers Are no Basis for Testing

Written in collaboration with Efrat Wurzel The basic premise of QA is that developers – being human – make mistakes; but too many testers think that developer mistakes are limited to the code they write. The truth is that developers … Continue reading

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Lessons I Learned as a Tester, 2: Sanity is Relative

The further away you are from the QA department, the looser the definition of version sanity. By the time you get to the back of the development department, where the newbies sit, the definition of sanity is “compilable”.

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No Spec? No Problem: Testing When Nothing’s Written Down

Written in collaboration with Efrat Wurzel Got a new product to test, and the most documentation anyone can provide is an e-mail saying “wouldn’t it be cool if we got drunk and then wrote some code”? Don’t worry – testing … Continue reading

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Writing for How-To Videos, Part 1: Basic Considerations for Scripts

Two notes before we begin: first, this article is about software how-to videos, not instructional videos that explain a subject or your business plan. Second, this is the first article of two. I’ll present some basic considerations in this one, … Continue reading

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Lessons I Learned as a Tester: Don’t Let Developers Go Crazy With Testing Instructions

When asked to provide testing instructions for a new feature or bug fix, there are three types of developers: some are surgically precise, some are fairly precise while erring towards caution, and some give the widest set of instructions they … Continue reading

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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing an FAQ

Some technical writers hate FAQs. I rather enjoy them, because they’re the only bit of technical writing most people will ever bother reading. But they’re not always an easy thing to write; since FAQs are never full explanations of the … Continue reading

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