Sunday, September 12, 2010

Practical Usability Testing -> China Tour

A question to automation experts, testers, developers -> "Can you automate usability testing?"
My answer to this question is I can't, you have to have human intelligence involved in it. Exploring the user's experience and thoughts and asking questions and noting down information about as how user is using, seems to be the effective way of evaluating usability testing. Though usability testing can be structured in a various way according to needs and available resources.

The common questions I ask while doing usability testing are :

"What is it?"
"Can I use it?"
"Does it make sense?"
"Is it easily understandable to how to do it or how it is done?"
"Where am I?"
"Where can I go and can't go?"
"Why I did what I did and why I didn't do what I didn't?"
What is the most attracted thing appeared?"

How usable to tour China(Guangzhou city):

The first usability issue I faced was language barrier as I didn't know Chinese language. But then I have managed to understand most of the material's functionality through the pictures and signs printed on the materials which made me realize the usefulness of pictures and signs for understandability of functions.

This scenario can be linked to websites that is not being localized. So if there were pictures and signs along with the terms/menus/links then I think it would have more been user friendly website. From then I continue to promote to add pictures and signs along with the menus/links in the website to boost the user friendliness of the website's functions understandability.

For example if you look at the first image below, you can see a box and some label is being printed upon it but as the language was not known by me I can not understand what was the functionality of materials inside the box. But if you look at the second image, there are some signs also printed along with some Chinese texts. Now by seeing the signs I can easily understand the functionality of the materials inside the box which is "Fire Hydrant".


Other than that I have faced and experienced some interesting scenario which can be linked with some scenarios which I have faced during software usability testing.

Evaluating Boarding Pass:
This is a sample boarding pass of China Eastern airlines.


Issue 1: Passenger's name is being overlapped on the next field "BD TIME". [GUI problem]
Issue 2: The seat no. is being printed far from from the "SEAT" field. There are other similar issues.
Issue 3: The term "BD Time" means Bangladesh Time, but it would have been better if the term was written as "Departure Time". And may include the term  "BD Time" at the end of the time shown.
Issue 4: There is no " : " or " - " to separate the minutes and seconds shown at "BD Time" field.

 At Bus stoppage:
Wherever you go "Bus" seems to be the only solution as transportation for moving around the city efficiently and cheaply. But if you don't know which bus to take and where will the bus go, then it might not be the best solution. However I have managed to understand the system by looking at the boards at bus stoppage where the stoppage names are printed like below images.

Lets see how I have figured it out though I didn't know Chinese language. I used to make my hotel manager write down the destination name in chinese in a paper before I leave my hotel. Then I would show that paper to taxi driver/ bus driver/people if I get lost. But the problem was which bus to take and to understand after how many stoppage the bus will reach the destination.
If you closely analyze the stoppage names, you will see that in the horizontal list of stoppage names some are printed as red color. And vertically all red colored texts are same. The made me understand that this is name of the stoppage I am currently standing on left ones from the red stoppage name are already visited by the bus and right ones are to be visited.
Which made me realize the importance of coloring and navigational panel which we see often in the websites and sometimes we don't see as navigational panel. But a well designed navigational panel surely will improve any website's usability as the navigational panel and proper coloring would help the user understand where s/he is and after what sequence of actions s/he reached at current state of the website for backtracking and to have a sense of actions performed and for mapping out the website.

At underground Metro Station:
I found a very good example of navigational map at underground metro station where there is a word "You are here" and pointing at where you are in the map. See the image below:

At road traffic stop:
At road traffic stoppage I have seen an interesting thing which I have not seen in my country's traffic stoppage. And that is a timer is being shown at every stoppage which is indicating after how much time the red signal will become green or when green will become red. See the below video:
video
How many times you have seen the loading scenario when you go to a website. But there is no timer is shown to help the user estimate the time needed to load the website. Which may occupy user's valuable time starring the loading animation of that site because the user doesn't know the time needed to load. But there were timer, the user can switch to other tasks that can be done within the time left to load the website.
This traffic signal timer made me realize how can the loading scenario can be improved by adding a simple timer.

I don't bind myself to test only software. I try to test everything evolving around me. And learning through practical scenario.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why am I blogging? ->A Self Explanation

It's been a since I haven't published any blog posts. Though I have plenty of thoughts to share but didn't feel to do it anyway. Then the questions came into my mind of why should I be doing blogging?  How can I be benefited? What is the future of this blog? What will happen if I don't blog and if I continue blog? Is blogging my hobby or passion or something I am not aware of? What should I write and what should I not?

Why should I be blogging?
--> Thoughts are created and developed in my mind and keeps other thoughts and ideas not to be developed properly until I share those thoughts with someone else. So why not share through this blog where my thoughts can be tested by others. Seems like a good idea.

How can I be benefited?
-->To be able to free up my mind to develop new thoughts and ideas properly.

What is the future of this blog?
--> I can not predict any black swan scenario but without that I see myself continuing to share my thoughts and experience through this blog.
[Black Swan->Google Blogger shutdowns :D, I am not testing anymore]

What will happen if I don't blog and if I continue blog?
--> I have seen the effect of not continuing this blog, now have to see what will happen if I continue blogging.

Is blogging my hobby or passion or something I am not aware of?
--> Well, at the mean time it seems like blogging is my necessity.

What should I write and what should I not?
--> Well, in the mean time I would like to share my testing experience and thoughts.

Purpose?
--> My experience and thoughts might help others just like I got benefited by reading blogs of others


This post is a self explanation to myself to free up my mind.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review:- SQABD Lighting Talk 4, Held on March 31, 2010 at Washington Hotel, Dhaka

Hello all,

I know this post is a bit out-dated in perspective from the topic, but i wanted to review the talks and i thought its better late than never. I had some questions to ask but couldn't at the seminar as i am not a rapid thinker. Hmm might effect me being a rapid-tester like Sajjad vai, ;).And i was waiting for the videos to be finished uploading too. Anyway here it goes:

SQABD Lighting talk 4 review:

Talk1-Mozammel Haque
Topic title-Solo Scrum-The Pomodoro Technique
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt27


First of all thanks for introducing me to the Pomodoro technique. I wasn't aware of it till your talk that day. What i understand from your talk is that:

1. Choose a task to be accomplished
2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro time up
4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
6. And not to answer any IM, phone calls within this 25 min time period. And if anyone calls tell them to call after the time left in Pomodoro.

Now i think there might be some problem regarding this technique. I think this technique might be self interrupting your thinking process. What if someone is deep into something and the timer rings that your time is up and you have to concentrate after 5 minutes. Well, in that case this technique doesn't help.

In that 25 min time period, if you got call then you are already interrupted. And in these days you can not switch off your mobile, that's not logical. Its better finish your talk and fully concentrate then.

Well that's my perspective anyway. BTW liked your presentation style :).

Talk2-M Ayman Noor
Topic title- When to stop testing?
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt28


My answer is simple : until your project manager or test manager or customer says stop, you continue testing. We also have to consider the constraints and do our test plan according to that. Many time it happened to me that there were predetermined time and we planned our test process accordingly suddenly customer don't want anymore testing to be done, then we have to stop there.

In real world, testers are not in a position neither have the authority to minimize the risk, if s/he could have those we might have call ourselves QA guy not tester. And we also do not have privileges to release the product, we can only convince
our PM | TM | customer about the risks they are taking to release the product before sufficient test coverage.

Anyway thanks for asking a thoughtful question.


Talk3-Samuel D. Bretzfield
Topic title-Lighting Talks 4 keynote
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt29


Awsome work environment you have indeed. :)
hire me ...lolz. just kidding.

Talk4-Shaikh Sonny Aman
Topic title- Developing a lightweight, hi-performance and dynamic JSON api server with C.
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt30


Well i really don't like programming language "C" actually. Andi have no prior knowledge about Json either, So I should not make any comment about your talk. :)

BTW: liked your sketch though ;), and your presentation slides were fun to watch.

Talk5-Tauhidul Islam
Topic title-SQL Server Database Change Automation
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt31


Nice tool indeed. How can i get that tool you made? :)
Hope you will make that tool fully automatic from semi automatic one day/night.

BTW: I have found another tool like yours by Ewout Stortenbeker and his project name is "SQL Server database versioning with Subversion (SVN).
URL: http://www.codeproject.com/KB/database/ScriptDB4Svn.aspx

Anyway nice informative presentation.

Talk6-Zahidul Islam
Topic title: Meta Testing
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt33


Hmm Interesting name you mentioned "Meta Testing". May be its my lacking that i haven't understand what "Meta Testing" really is. You have talked about some fallacies and those are interesting way to looking at scenarios indeed.

Talk7-Abu Awal Md. Shoeb
Topic title: Challenges of a Paperless Admission System
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt32


What an inspirational work and speech my friend. Sal-lot to you and to your
co-workers. But it would have been much better if you would have been given the speech in English then I could have forward link to others from outside Bangladesh to watch this speech of yours.

Anyway i am waiting for your many more inspiration works.

Talk8-Hasin Hayder
Topic title: Bangla Input Manager JQuery Plugin
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt34


Great work man! And indeed thanks for reminding us the blessing of open source.
Phonetic Bangla uses in web pages are really great plus point in respective of usability.

BTW: Nice presentation trick :).

Talk9-Imrul Kayes
Topic title: Context driven testing(CDT)
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt35


Thanks for sharing your expertise in CDT. But the two circumstances you have mentioned where it would be difficult for us to apply, i think we the testers are facing those circumstances everyday, i.e.:
1. It is always someone beside the the tester who is responsible for ensuring quality
2. How do you determine that the context is well defined? If the context is well defined then why it would be difficult to apply CDT there??

Talk10-Golam Rabbi
Topic title: Good To Great
Resource-http://www.sqabd.com/lt_present.php?id=lt36


Inspirational speech about your success story indeed. Will sure try to discipline myself but it would be very hard ;).


Best Regards
Ashik

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekend Testing

Weekend Testing Session No. 35
Date: Saturday 15th May 2010
Time: 3 PM – 5 PM IST GMT+05:30

At last I have participated in the weekend testing session. It was my first session.
I was very excited about it. Some how i missed when it started and joined a bit later. And at last i got time to blog about it. :)

Mission: In my view: Go to URL: http://prezi.com, explore it and make a good presentation and report that to http://www.bugrepository.com/.
The mission was simple but i think was full of traps. Like what is a good presentation ? i was answered by Ajay that good according to me. Well i was more confused and thought about what should be the good according to me? And i thought if can found some problem in it then it would make a good presentation as it seems to have some problem. [well according to me anyway.. ;)]

So I opened up my favorite tool "Perlclip" and generated 1000 long string and pasted at the name and description field. and was continuing to load screen shots in my presentation.

Finally when i tried to open that presentation my browser stopped responding!!! Well, in the end to me, i have made a good presentation. ;)

Finally thanks to the moderator for teaching me to submit my report first then start discussion and also giving me more time finish the presentation. Liked the presentation tool though it is a bit slow and made my browser crashed :).

My presentation link: http://prezi.com/vxc49kxpao9t/
bugrepository.com Bug ID: 0000308

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Intra weekdays testing !!

Couldn't think of a better title than this one, sorry :|.

Couple of weeks ago I was thinking about learning testing through community based testing. Where people would come together on a particular day/night and test a random application with a common mission. Actually i was really bored of my company's projects or lack of projects, so i thought it would be nice to arrange or participate in these type of events which will help my learning curve grow (perhaps in right direction).

So, I was asking about this to local testers to know their feedback. Most of them likes the idea but from their perspective it would be impossible to arrange and continue like this event as most of us want to give time to family or friends in the weekends. Then I was suggested about "Weekendtesting.com" community by Mr. Sajjadul Hakim from the local community "SQABD.com".

I found "weekendtesting.com" community's idea very interesting and this actually can be applicable in Bangladesh also. As testers can be grouped together online and can test an app from their home. I hope someday Bangladesh chapter will be opened at "weekendtesting.com".

Before i go deep into that i thought how about i run an experiment with my colleagues with this idea. So i have decided to give them a random app and asked them to test with some limited time. I found suitable app address from "weekendtesting.com" "http://www.barcodeart.com/artwork/netart/yourself/yourself.swf", which was used in one weekend testing session. Interesting scnenario was this:

Participants: 3 newbie testers (fresher)
Time: 2 hours

I was very eager to see how those three new comers approach a problem without having no prior testing knowledge (thats the main mission for me and teach them how should they). Mission was same as was in "weekendtesting" forum: "to find out highest possible value" and "the invalid input". As this session happened in weekdays and within my company, i called it "Intra Weekdays testing".

First Tester's approach: He downloaded a bug report template and wrote down problems he found.
Second Tester's approach: She draw a table to analysis the output and input.
Third Tester's approach: He tried to explore as much as possible to find out anything about the application.

I see that combination of their approach can be called a good approach: explore+analysis+report. But they didn't seem to communicate with each other. So they failed to fulfill the mission. So this taught a big lesson for them which is team work always better.

This is an experiment to teach the freshers the way to approach a problem. Time will say whether it works or not. I will try to continue to do these type of events whenever possible. I was also influenced by the events organized by Mr. Sajjadul Hakim at his company which is in his words "we used to do short testing demonstration sessions with small apps available on the internet".

Thats all for now..

Sunday, March 28, 2010

tester's mind

When God would be testing a tester, i think He will overlook issues ..... cause it's His own creation.

A tester should never be harsh to any developer in any circumstances. If you don't agree with me, try enrolling yourself in developer shoes and put your creation under test by some good testers. You will realize eventually what a developer goes through in any SDLC.

I think to build your mind as a tester mind, is a very cloudy process. As one tells you to dun say a word or write without any proof, another tells open your mind to invent test ideas. For me i think my mind is getting confused. As some time i am thinking like a proof harvester another time i am trying to apply new ideas to test. And thus my mind is constantly in parallel state. So, i guess building a tester mind is not that easy, at least for me as i have to think of family matter also. hmm so what kind of thinking process i have to apply in family matters?... no one knows i think... :).. and my mind is in continuous framework changing environment... need to read some psychological book!! Reading ebooks and finishing it is another obstacle for me as i get destructed more often and pursue something else reading or doing. Another thing is that when i try to switch my mind to do some developing projects... well my mind is in catastrophic state... :| .

A tester should be always focused on what he/she is doing or would plan to do. Keep note, keep schedule plan, make note on mobile notification, mail notification do whatever you can do reminder your self about your plan. If needed change that plan accordingly. But do keep notifying yourself. It will keep you focused. For me i am easily got distracted from what i was doing or plan to do. Some say its good some say its bad. I think its bad when you have high priority tasks to do and you want to give your 100% to that tasks. Keep notify yourself by any medium you like.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Introducing me!

Hello,

Introducing myself as (wanna be) Software Testing Engineer, Mohammad Ashik Elahi (scornik). I included "wanna be" because becoming a test engineer is not easy. It takes time, hard work, passion, eagerness and curiosity about software testing. So, if you get into a job as software test engineer and call yourself a software test engineer, i would disagree with you.

Becoming a software tester was never part of my plan. Actually i never planned my career neither my educational life. I was an average student, hope so. But been always trying out new technologies outside academic curriculum. Which is helping me in my professional career.

I got my first PC after passing S.S.C. from my father. Within one month i was able to crash it more than four times. So i guess my fate was written from there. And it was breaking things (software). So i guess my journey as a tester begin from there...

The first objective of creating this blog back at 2008 was to earn money from Google Ad-sense. But i have decided not to run for money, should run for developing my skills as a software test Engineer. Ultimately skills that will matter at the end. Also decided to share my story with you now on ;).

I think i have to end it today... :(, cause my manager just gave some work to be done. Though i had lot to say...

Any way will update my story soon..

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Mohammad Ashik Elahi A.K.A. scornik