Published: 1st Aug 2017

Great Quality Assurance - UX in disguise

“Quality assurance (QA) is a way of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers” Source - Wikipedia.

Alex Lovell - QA Manager

Ask any Quality Assurance tester, anywhere, what their role is, and you are likely to hear ‘Make sure that there are no bugs in the code’ or ‘check that the code works on all browsers and platforms’.  

For me and for True, the role goes much further than this.

Websites are untamed beasts when they are first developed. Untested and in their infancy, they are naturally going to inherit bugs and challenges as they evolve. They are also complex and, in order to be developed successfully, they need to be planned out with functional and technical specifications agreed with the client from the outset.

A great tester doesn’t just use the functional and technical specifications to create their test case documentation though. They use imagination and initiative too. However expert or experienced, people writing specifications are only human. What they create may be very detailed,  but there is always a risk that not every single customer journey has been covered. When the developed product goes live, the variety of customer journeys is endless.

Puzzle

My approach to QA means keeping an open mind and looking at the solution from every conceivable angle.

How I use a website could be very different to the people I work with or live with, so I look through their eyes, asking myself how they would want the customer journey to unwind.

EYES

It’s especially useful when I step into my mother’s shoes. Would she find her way around the website and complete her ‘customer journey’ without getting frustrated and resorting to a call centre where she’ll inevitably be put on hold for 20 minutes. That kind of defeats the purpose of building a solution!

User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.”
Source – Wikipedia
 
Anomalies in expected user behaviour can be visual or functional. Take forms, for example. While some developers would never think of using a mouse to navigate through a form and rely entirely on the tab button, my mum has taken five years to master using a mouse, and wants to use that new found skill to select a field. And why shouldn’t she?

Finding a user journey in QA that has not been catered for, means liaising with the Project Manager and deciding on the best approach going forward. Often, this avoids more work further down the line.

Perhaps a non-technical background and 17 years in the retail sector, both B2B and B2C, has helped me develop this niche of ‘User Experience’ tester as well as ‘Quality Assurance’ tester.

Quality Assurance User Experience Tester (QAUET) is the process of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers whilst enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.”
Source – Wikipedia
 
At True, Quality Assurance means being the ‘Peoples Champion,’ thinking outside the box to make sure that every customer journey is catered for and that every user has an excellent, trouble free experience - one that they will hopefully return to, and recommend.

If you’d like to find out more about our approach to QA, UX or both, please get in touch.

Alex Lovell - QA Manager