Quality in use is a really important concept for IT teams to understand. We get very focused on building, testing and delivering functionality. We also put some emphasis on what testers call “non functional testing” in other words testing quality attributes other than functionality. In particular, performance and security testing are a focus for many teams. However, customers choosing a product will be looking at whether it is usable, flexible and safe – they assume it’ll work functionally. They will also be drawn to products that provide the right experiences – we use words like excitement, flow and trust to describe how someone experiences a product or service. Attributes like functionality, security and performance are important because they are the foundations that underpin great quality in use, and a beautiful user experience.
I’m really happy to be going to Bucharest in September for SEETEST, where I will present a half day tutorial on Quality in Use and the user experience. It’s my first time in Romania, so I’m taking a few extra days to look around Bucharest. Looking forward to that, and to the conference. The tutorial summary is below.
Quality in use
… the beating heart of the user experience
- Half day tutorial for SEETEST 15 September 2016
- Also available as an in-house 1 day tutorial on request
The class is principally aimed at practicing testers and test managers who want to improve the alignment of their testing to the business and user needs. This includes people in roles such as system testers, test analysts, test engineers, test consultants, test managers, user acceptance testers and software developers. No prior knowledge is assumed and attendees do NOT need a PC for this course.
As testers, should we focus on details or on the big picture? Our skill set and comfort zone is often in the detail; we find excitingly obscure bugs and report these problems in detail. But does our zeal sometimes cause us to miss the big picture of what the customer and the business really needs? Do we focus on software defects at the expense of human and commercial factors? In today’s business environment, the user experience and the commercial imperatives have become overwhelmingly important. As testers it is vital that we understand quality in use and the user experience, in order that we focus our tests correctly.
“Quality in use” measures products and services looking at human, business and societal impacts; this includes usability, accessibility, and flexibility for the customer and business, as well as commercial, human and environmental safety. These are underpinned by technical and engineering attributes of a product, and build together into a “User Experience”. For the people selling, supporting or using the products, this is the beating heart of the customer experience. How well are people supported to effectively and efficiently carry out their tasks? Is the product accessible to all the people who want to use it? Does the experience of using the product generate human reactions of trust, excitement or other reactions that will encourage users to continue using and to recommend the product? Do we reach the customers’ hearts as well as their purses?
Without these “big picture” attributes, delivered software will not be acceptable, will not keep our organizations in profit, and may not be legal. The benefits of designing in and testing these attributes will make the users more effective, more efficient, and increase the marketplace for our products and services.
In the tutorial, Isabel will use examples from ISO25000/ISO25022 and from real projects to discuss how testers design tests derived from the user personas, contexts of use, and acceptance criteria. This requires testing during early testing of concepts and designs and later testing on built products.
Standard ISO25000/ISO25022 defines a group of attributes and metrics that build from the internal engineering qualities and attributes, such as the functional attributes, performance measures and security, to the Quality in Use attributes of usability, context coverage and freedom from risk, with the user experience attributes such as trust, excitement and flow are at the top of the pyramid. Trust, excitement and flow in a task all affect the human heartbeat – user experience is the beating heart of the user experience.
Participants will learn:
- To distinguish the layers of quality that must be designed and built into products, and tested;
- How to understand and meet the context of use for each customer persona, from the internal quality through quality in use, to the user experience;
- How to focus testing on customers, end users and the business;
- How to select attributes from each layer of the user experience pyramid to track and measure during testing;
- How to agree acceptance criteria for testing internal quality, quality in use and the user experience.