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Test it: QA Testing Advice

Remember the blue screen of death? When was the last time an app or software failed spectacularly that a simple reboot wouldn’t work?

Blue screen of death

It’s been a while.

Mostly, this is due to advanced developers coding to a higher standard. Programs have become smarter and complex since the days of dial-up. Behind every developer is the humble tester who makes it their mission to break code any way possible. Through this yin and yang partnership, modern technology has become elevated and elegant. It takes a particular type of personality to enjoy the thrill of ‘breaking’ code. Thanks to such people, literal disasters have been avoided. Let’s take a closer look at how professional testers help prevent serious testing issues.

 

Security Testing

Classified files

These days, people don’t bat an eye when a software security data breach occurs. It’s easy to chalk up the company as another burn victim; another incident where someone fell prey to a) not testing enough, b) not testing at all, c) cybercrime or the ever-underestimated d) internal espionage.

In April 2019, Georgia Tech faculty and staff were hacked — giving criminals accessed to personal data from 1.3 million people. Texas-based healthcare company EmCare announced 60,000 patients and employees’ data had been compromised. In some instances, companies/government agencies haven’t even bothered to lock the door, but instead, leave it wide open for a would-be thief. Such is the case in India, where the government declared 12.5 million users’ healthcare information was exposed online. The list of data breaches goes on and on.

Today’s criminals are sophisticated and aren’t intimidated by a McAfee icon on a website. Moreover, they know the potential risks and have continued to learn and discover new vulnerabilities. These people live, breath, eat source code. QA Consultants are experts and have a solid security testing approach when it comes to web services security testing, mobile applications, application security testing, etc. To protect data, QA Consultants’ security testing experts employ different types of security testing methods that can identify possible issues, stop potential hackers, and keep probable danger at bay. Remember, it’s not a matter of if but when a cybercrime occurs.

 

Test Automation

100 American dollar bill currency

The main purpose of test automation is to save time by executing thousands of different complex test cases together. Automated software testing can save a company thousands of dollars versus manual testing. Can a person be trusted to perform the same tasks over and over again like automation testing? Perhaps this becomes an issue of man vs. machine. When it comes to software testing manual vs. automation, automation wins every time. Here’s why.

Manual testing in an agile environment is like that famous scene with America’s favourite silver screen redhead as she was tasked with wrapping individual chocolate pieces that came down a conveyor belt. At first, it was easy, the pace was slow, and then it became increasingly fast as she grabbed randomly at each piece and began shoving them in her hat, mouth, and apron, to make it appear as if the job was done. Upon inspection, her supervisor was pleased and increased production and the chocolate came down twice as fast. With test automation, there’s no confusion, the test cases are executed in an organized manner, and baring that the code is proper, little room for human error.

Knight Capital, a trading firm in New Jersey City, lost $10 million dollars a minute in 2012 largely in part because they didn’t test their automated trading software. Let that sink in. By the time someone caught the error, the company had lost $440 million, which is more than the company’s revenue of $289 million (in the second quarter). Though this example is an anomaly in terms of extravagant losses, it’s a painful one to realize. This could have easily been avoided if the software development process had included a quality assurance test automation expert that evaluated the software testing approach. The testing process in itself will save money, headaches, and reputation loss; it’s worth the investment.

The Knight Capital example is one for the record books, but it also serves as a stark warning for those who feel QA delivery and services are an afterthought. QA Consultants is at the forefront of quality assurance and the majority of clients require test automation services.

 

Performance Testing

Hand holding a mobile device shopping online

When it comes to software performance testing the name itself implies functional testing in a testing environment. Will the site encounter performance problems? Surely, companies don’t simply release a website without anticipating responsiveness and stability. The best intentions make for application performance issues as was the case with J. Crew’s Black Friday website crash that cost the company over $700,000 in sales. Customers are unable to add items to their carts, frustrated tweets, an apologetic social community manager, and a website that wasn’t able to perform accordingly.

J.Crew wasn’t alone. Walmart also joined in the website spiral as the site began to slow down and then stop completely due to high demand. Additionally, Lowe’s also experienced problems with their website crashing and had their fair share of upset customers.

According to Adobe Analytics, Black Friday (2018) online sales reached 9.9 billion with a 19.7% increase over 2017. This trend doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. Load testing and application performance testing are vital when it comes to ensuring customer satisfaction.

 

 

Functional Testing

Rocket firing off into the sky

Functional testing may be the favourite type of testing that a quality assurance tester performs. This type of testing truly dissects an application to its core. QA testers and QA analysts assume the expected results will match the actual results, however, when this is not the case the fun of breaking code begins. Functional testing examples range from unit tests, black box testing, integration tests, smoke tests, regression tests, sanity tests, and the up close and personal user acceptance test. Manual testing and automation testing can be used for functional testing, depending on the function specification and software application.

On the surface level, sanity tests require a QA consultant to test and verify that menus, commands and functions are available to the user. Let’s focus on the word available.

When organizations don’t perform functional tests the results are unpleasant, to say the least. Such is the case with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency that caused panic amongst the island dwellers. January 31, 2018, at 8:07 am, was a day that most Hawaiian residents won’t soon forget as they were led to believe a ballistic missile had been fired. For 38 minutes residents sought shelter, said their final goodbyes, and waited for impending doom. All this was confusion was caused due to an operator selecting the wrong menu option. This type of warning should require double verification to ensure the user isn’t making a mistake, as in this case, coupled with an option to immediately call off the alarm if accidentally issued. Neither of these fail-safes was in place which added fuel to the already proverbial burning fire.

 

Integration Testing

Blue screen showing user name password and lock image

As if quality assurance testing wasn’t thorough enough, then system integration testing steps up to the plate. By its very nature, the system integration testing process involves combining individual units as a group to expose defects in the way integrated units behave.

However, when an integration doesn’t factor in that humans are the end-user, the results can be less than favourable. When Avon Canada tried to roll out an SAP management system, it caused their sales reps to quit in droves, as many as 16,000 people across Canada. Reps couldn’t log on, place orders, or save orders. Essentially, the tool that was dubbed the “Promise” ended up being a death star. According to an SAP spokesman, the company “only worked on the back end” of the order management system, however, that secular thinking inherently fails to bridge the gap and ‘integrate’ the overall system. In the end, Avon stopped the $125 million dollar pilot project. One has to wonder, where were the software testers?

 

 

 

Data Testing

Close up of 100 dollar american bills

Last year, Amazon’s Prime Day crashed before it began. According to Amazon Web Services, they had never witnessed an entire data centre fail before. The entire data centre was lost. In 2019, the estimated total sales hover around $4 Billion with the possibility of over 100 million products sold. Think about how many companies are tied to Amazon and how big the stakes are for the data warehouses to remain stable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accessibility Testing

Man looking at laptop not sure

When it comes to people with disabilities, web access hasn’t always been easy. Most users utilize assistive technology like text-to-speech technology and keyboards, hearing aids, closed-captioned videos, screen enlargement applications, etc. to navigate online. Through guidelines like WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), Section 508 (now incorporated into WCAG 2.0), and AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability ACT), mobile accessibility has gained awareness. Accessibility testing is an ongoing process as not all websites have gone through an audit. As it stands, not one 2020 US candidate has a website that is accessible for the visually impaired. How are voters able to review political platforms if they can’t get to the information? Most likely, this isn’t done with ill intent, but it could be rectified with QA specialists.

Overall, software testing is about quality control, project management, and continuous improvement.  Quality improvement comes from years of experience. After 25 years, QA Consultants are expert quality assurance specialists (in North York), who offer part-time (on demand) and full-time software (as needed) testers and quality assurance analysts. QA Consultants have successfully delivered over 5,600 testing and consulting projects to a variety of industries such as automotive, banking and financial, insurance, digital marketing, retail, telecommunications, energy and utilities, construction and industrial, media and entertainment, US and the Canadian government, healthcare, and hospitality and tourism. When it comes to quality assurance QA Consultants provides a variety of testing services Test Automation, Performance Testing, Integration Testing, Security Testing, Functional Testing, Data Testing, Mobile Testing, Advisory Services, and Specialized Audit (Accessibility).

Why get left behind? Let’s discuss and see how we can help you with your quality assurance needs. Contact us today.