The importance of QA in software development Is undeniable. There comes a time in each software development life cycle where we have to make sure it works the way we intended to.
A software development project isn’t a “one-man show”. Instead, there most commonly are at least 3-4 developers involved. All of them work on different tasks, so when code gets merged, bugs surely appear. This is where testing plays an important role, making sure bugs get discovered and dealt with.
Overlooking a bug can lead to a lot of dysfunctionalities in the end project and low customer satisfaction. Yet, not all companies can afford to hire a QA tester due to low budgets. We couldn’t, also, but here’s what you can do about it.
We got our first client. We already had a team of four software developers and one system admin. So, we paused the project we had planned and of course, put our client’s needs first. Time has passed and the product was nearly done. Then, came the time to test it. We hadn’t any QA testers, our software team was mostly focused on development, so we decided to include the rest of our non-developers team-workers in it.
Since our graphic designer and marketing manager had some work gaps and no greater priorities at the time, we decided to include them in the testing phase. We just gave them user login into the system and password to access the application.
When a new pair of eyes was brought into the application, we faced a whole new experience. Within just a single word document, with good text format and print screens inserted for better navigation, we had them notes coming.
App bugs, notes on user experience, interface remarks and much more. Soon afterward, our product was ready to sell.
So, here’s how they say they approached it:
- Just start clicking. Not sure what the button over there does? That’s a note for itself. Suggest a better CTA text for it, better design, or a new placement on the display.
- Edit all the fields you can. Edit text in fields, move objects, insert numbers. Maybe you’ll notice some validation errors e.g. text can be entered in fields that only require numbers and should perform calculations. Maybe the final calculations are all wrong. Maybe you can edit the text that should be locked, or fields don’t inherit text from other fields, and they should.
- Date formats. Beware of them. They are different for each browser. Check them in a different browser and see how they look.
- Does your application generate documents? Compare the information in the application and on that document. Maybe some will mismatch, or get lost on it. For example, our application generated PDFs. The application supported adding pictures. But, anytime you clicked save on the application when uploading a picture, a picture from the pdf got removed. Funny, huh?
- Beware security and privacy info. Check user settings, usernames, and passwords. Does the application allow for a password change? Is it hidden, or can you read the password entered? Is there a way to change it?
- User roles. Different users get different permission to access specific information in the document. Test the different ones and see if any of them view more or less than they should.
- Tooltips are helpful. Not sure what the button does. The user will probably get confused, too. Suggest adding some tooltips to important functions, buttons, option on the application.
- A lot of changes happen? There are a lot of save buttons included in the application? Maybe you should add a notification bar whenever that happens to inform the user.
- Filters are a must. Choosing from a list of filters in a dropdown menu, or entering keywords in the search bar. Give users full freedom to search through the information in the application. Make it fast and easy for them to access the ones they find most important at the time. Filters also help grouping information, segmenting what’s on your display, what to see, what to exclude and much more.
- Take me to the top. Scroll bars are useful, but when an application has a large news feed, getting back to the top only through scroll bar can be exhausting. So, what’s missing here? A back to top button, to reduce time, and energy.
The second project we are talking about here was an in-house development project – a software we want to sell as a branded product from the company. Here, we had a different approach.
We kept the entire team posted all the time. All of them – the creative department and the developers, they all were a part of scrum meetings to be up to date with all the software functionalities and even suggest changes in real-time. Also, that way, they all knew what to look for, when testing afterward.
For this project, we made a google sheets script. Since it was a complex software, each one of the software developers, listed functions of its part and the result it should provide. Therefore, anyone included could go through the list, check if it’s working, or not. The same sheet was also used to insert suggestions on improvement, and even bugs that weren’t predicted on the list.
Did you find these helpful? Let us know in the comments below.