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 UX-QA to review the product, but it will be much better than nothing. First, describe …

Lessons I Learned as a Tester, 6: The Secret Usefulness of Bad QAs

We’ve all worked with testers who were bad at their job; it was frustrating and felt┬álike a giant waste of time and effort. But hold on to those bad testers: they’re more useful than you think.   In my experience, bad testers have several common traits: they’re fairly illogical, disorganized, forgetful (and never write things …

Lessons I Learned as a Tester, 5: It’s not a Feature, it’s a Bug: Fixing Bugs Your Users Enjoy

Some bugs, even quite severe ones, can seem to your users like very nice features. Bugs that are likely to reach this status are those that make work smoother at the expense of security (for example, not enforcing part of the permissions mechanism), faster by letting users skip steps that should be mandatory (for example, …

QA: Need Help Finding UX Faults? Ask the Technical Writers

Technical writers have a very clear goal: explain the interface. That means they notice, instantly, when it’s inexplicable. If your interface is a confusing mess with overly-complicated procedures, buttons that make no sense, important options hidden in sub-menus and related options kept a mile apart, it’s not only hard to use – it’s hard to …

Glossing Over the UX: Why Do so Many UX Bugs Get Past the QA?

Some bugs are a work of art. Consider a login page I encountered a few weeks ago. Two fields, one Submit button – so far so obvious. But above the button was the text “Do not press Enter to log in; use the Submit button”. I pressed Enter, of course: the page was refreshed and …

Lessons I Learned as a Tester, 4: Testers Should Write the First Draft and Approve the Last Draft of Release Notes

You might say I learned this lesson as a technical writer, too. If you’re publishing release notes (and you really should), it’s for things that have gone through QA. Ask your testers to provide the first draft of the release notes, then ask them to verify the final draft. This has two benefits: 1. If …

Are you Managing the Product or its Quality?

As a lead tester, you fall somewhere on a scale between being completely passive about bug fixes and being in complete control of them. If you are completely passive, you are managing neither the product nor its quality. If you are in complete control, you are managing both. Neither of these situations is good for …

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 can misunderstand the spec, forget a part of it, never notice that a spec is …