Testing Room 101
Today’s blog is about pet 'computer experience' hates, ’Better out than in!’ so they say. Let's refer to it as my ‘Testing Room 101’ target list.
The reality is, these are experienced by people across the board and not just software testers, of course! Perhaps the line of work of a software tester makes them more noticeable or perhaps they subconsciously look for them. There’s nothing like a good rant to get things off your chest when things are annoying, so here goes! How many of these are on your pet hate list?
1. Intruding Pop ups! For example, with retail companies – say, if you are internet shopping for clothes. A split second after the page is loaded with a targeted product, there is an invasive pop up saying ’52 people are looking at this right now’. The pop-up hogs most of the very image the customer is trying to view! Incredible!? Whose idea was it? It is most annoying – it’s too soon, too large, stays too long and prevents customer from looking at a product that they’d like to buy. You can guess what the reaction might be... Unless the user is desperate to get that product from that company, they are likely to make a swift exit and look elsewhere and enjoy a smoother, uninterrupted purchase transaction with another vendor. The websites could at very least give a registered customer the option of turning it off!
2. Another all too frequent issue is compromised details! I’ve first-hand experience of this recently courtesy of Claire’s Accessories. A notification of a payment card incident; some code had been out in the payment page and that customer payment details had potentially been compromised and shared with an unknown target audience. This was over an approximate 8 week period! Totally unacceptable! All transactions must be vetted and accounts monitored, plus all the inconvenience of changing cards, accounts, passwords etc. So, guess what? They will now join the list of blacklisted companies whom I and I’ve no doubt, other impacted users will no longer trade online with.
3. The next rant is on dysfunctional page loads. As a software tester and a consumer, it is unsurprising to me that internet usage in the home and mobile is high. All too often the websites in the public domain are failing even simple click through customer journeys! On the rare occasions where a user does have a bit of extra time and waits for a web page to load and finally look as though it’s going to meet its destination; the disappointment and frustration is highly annoying when the page doesn’t actually even get there! Even basic functional page navigation from one section to another often fails! I’ve even seen the FAQ and Help or Contact Us pages fail for some websites over the years. It begs the question, if any of it was ever tested and if not, why not? When did it become the norm for such significant and obvious bugs to be allowed into a live product or service?
4. Device Interoperability: Modern day life seems to be more ‘Go, Go, Go…’ than ever, even though we are now living the ‘Stay Stay, Stay at home’ more than ever! As a frequent mobile user, it’s a regular activity to utilise mobile devices interchangeably with the tablet and laptop, to accommodate daily activities no matter of whereabouts. It’s therefore incredibly frustrating when a user is unable to transact on their mobile because of either limited functional capabilities or sometimes be unable to use links, images or fields that are mandatory in order to complete the intended activity. Often, we can see blockers because buttons are just out of view because of layout/zoom percentage issues, pagination issues, greyed out and disabled buttons that have been omitted or simply produce a tech error because there has been insufficient testing. Using live systems to live user test is an ungraceful system delivery and sends a prominent message about the company and how much customers matter.
5. Looping! Looping is a very frustrating problem which occurs when a user inputs and submits details only to be looped right back to the starting point to find that the information has been blanked out and requires inputting yet again!
6. Un-user-friendly error messages: Often, we encounter technical errors when using the web but they don’t add value because they are meaningless to the user and there is no signposting to advise the user what to do next to resolve their problem.
7. Auto-playing Media: We have all done it! Sat quietly in the lounge with family or friends watching TV or sitting in the office when silent browsing suddenly bursts into loud music or shouting with insufficient warning. It’s embarrassing, anti-social and very unappealing.
8. Mandated interaction ads: Playing games for free and waiting for the ‘Skip Adverts’ option to come has altered the current phase of advertising, forcing the user to interact at least once with the advertised app before the user is given the opportunity to close and exit the advert. If an app/advert or game has to lock the user in to force interaction then there’s something wrong with the product's marketing, surely?