04 October, 2009

Testing out of Comfort Zone

The last time I mentioned about Getting Out of Comfort Zone, I anticipated great learning experience, but I wasn’t ready for surprises! I wanted to participate in the Weekend Testers (Chennai Chapter) and test a CSS Menu Builder application.

Cross Browser compatibility testing of IzzyMenu using IE 8.0 and FF 3.0 browsers.

Experience Report
IzzyMenu did not have a direct hyperlink which could be tested using a cross browser compatibility testing tool for IE 8.0 and FF 3.0. I as a user had to navigate to the menu page explicitly. I tested for alignment, layout, font size, color, positioning of tabs in the layout, hyperlinks, look and feel of the entire application, print, print preview option and a lot more. Tested the same set of test ideas in FF 3.0. Ok, finding usability and functional bugs while I look for compatibility bugs– Murphy’s Law? Found about 3 compatibility bugs, but that is not important for me right now. What is important is what is new to me in this testing exercise and what I learned while testing IzzyMenu.

1. Though I had performed compatibility testing previously, while testing IzzyMenu, I had a mental block testing it. I had not performed compatibility testing on websites for a start. I have to take care of this in future.

2. When learning to test with a charter that I have not done before, it invites some prior learning on how to do. When I jumped at IzzyMenu without deciding what to test, there was a block. I did not see anything reasonable to test. My approach was wrong here and I had to change it.

3. Do not confine yourself to 90 minutes Sessions while you are learning to test out of your comfort zone. It more or less extends beyond 90 minutes timeframe. Ideally, its better not to have any time limit while testing this way.

4. Note down all the bottlenecks or choking points that you face while testing and sort it out yourself. This way, you will slowly realize that what you saw as a bottleneck is not a bottleneck at all. And that will be your Wow moment.

5. You may not find bugs all the time. Absence of bugs or lack of skills to find bugs(which tricks you to think that bugs are absent) does not mean you are a bad tester. You probably did not look at the right places and this can be improved with continuous practice.

6. From time to time, we should get together with people from different perspectives and watch them test. Trust Me, the first time you do this, you may think you are a horrible tester. You may be one too. The next time when you watch them test, it will be one of the coolest ways of learning and testing and you would do more of it more often.

Happy Testing,
Parimala Shankaraiah