Rapidly changing technologies, platforms, and devices pressure software development teams to develop, test, integrate, and deliver faster and more frequently. Today, “Keeping up with the Joneses” means software has to be delivered and deployed daily instead of monthly or weekly. And, if you want to be the “Jones” everyone’s trying to keep up with, you know you have to invest in improving your development and delivery processes and methods. There’s no time to waste!
New Technologies = New Software Testing Trends
SaaS, IoT, Mobile, and Big-Data are THE 2018 heavyweights. They’re the ubiquitous drivers that make the digital world go ‘round. With these evolving technologies in mind, how can your company save time and money while providing a truly stellar product? How do you know —really know —your customers and your business benefit from your design? The key to answering these questions in 2018 is integrating a software quality assurance (SQA) program that recognizes, and plans for the different issues presented by each trending technology.
So, let’s take a look at tech trends for 2018, and how they impact your SQA needs.
Mobile – Today’s PC
Over 77% of Americans own a smartphone, and one-in-ten use it as their primary means of online access. Whatever your thoughts on net neutrality, its repeal may cause mobile access numbers to rise. This trend, combined with the shorter time-to-market requirements of mobile apps, creates a need to save time (and money!) while also recognizing user experience (UX) as the primary driver of adoption.
1. Performance engineering will replace performance testing
Optimum UX requires consistency across platforms, systems, and devices. It’s no longer enough to load test an app at the end of the development cycle. Now, a comprehensive SQA program will be incorporated from the beginning of the development process, focusing on optimizing architecture, design, and performance during all stages.
2. Agile SQA
Cost-effective QA is not something that can be done late in a project. It must be considered from the beginning. Agile methodologies are designed to help teams quickly respond to unpredictability’s through incremental work segments. Agile reduces version release time with small changes done often. By breaking releases down into much smaller components, and testing as early in the iteration as possible, Agile SQA also eliminates the high cost of detecting and fixing bugs late in the development process — or worse yet, after release!
3. Functional UI testing
Mobile app testing differs from traditional desktop testing. The mobile ecosystem is varied and complex, and users expect intuitive flows in their decision-making process. In automated Functional UI testing, SQA experts develop and maintain source code for testing scripts, including test code updates to match app updates. Take advantage of both manual and automated SQA testing to reduce delivery time and optimize user experience.
SaaS – Where Design and Engineering Merge
SaaS applications live in the Cloud, eliminating server maintenance issues and reducing client expenses. This sounds the proverbial win-win, right? It can be! But only if your dev team recognizes the unique software testing challenges that accompany SaaS application testing.
Many companies choose to create Software-as-a-Service applications since there’s no need to support multiple hardware and OS platforms. While this does save time and money, it actually places a greater demand on usability testing. This is due to the customer expectation of a quick fix. If something isn’t working, a user is likely to check back a couple hours later, expecting it to work (and rightly so!)
What if your user doesn’t like your SaaS application? Realistically, they’ll go find another app to suit their needs. After all, they’ve likely invested a simple monthly fee, rather than the hundreds of dollars a software purchase entails. This means your prospect may be willing to walk at the first pain-point they encounter. Due to competition, the success of a SaaS platform comes down to great UX. The takeaway? Your app should be intuitive, easy to navigate, and offer a clear customer benefit.
To find success through well-set user flows, and an entertaining user experience, make sure your dev team is asking these questions in the initial design stage (and at every stage beyond):
• What is the expected delivery speed of each web service?
• How many customers use the platform, and how often?
• What is the workflow of each task and how complex is it?
• What is expected of all integrated applications?
4. With SaaS applications, performance engineering, as well as UX, becomes the priority
Software testers in the SaaS field must be aware of the designers goals for the customer experience. In addition, a crystal-clear understanding of software requirements, coupled with user empathy, is the recipe for success.
IoT – The “Things” That Connect Us
We live in an uber connected world. Our Fitbit monitors our heart-rate, then syncs it to our fitness app. We use our phones to adjust our Nest settings from afar. Our FarmBot waters our garden, and our FeedandGo makes sure our pets don’t starve. Our nanny-cam streams real-time video to our phone, or revels who’s stealing that delivery from our front porch. Developing, and testing, software for the rapidly evolving number of things connected to the internet creates specific challenges for developers, and complex testing requirements.
To reach the largest number of customers your product must perform reliably across platforms, web browsers, OS, and screen sizes while performing consistently during varying traffic volumes, and over different wi-fi speeds encountered by devices on the move. Application Program Interfaces, or APIs, are how IoT devices communicate and deserve special attention. The way to do this is through comprehensive API performance testing.
IoT tech breaks boundaries and expands possibilities, but it’s also vulnerable to security breaches. It’s hard to establish security priorities and define the right testing tools when everything’s in a flux, but that is another factor to consider in IoT SQA. With IoT, products should be tested for functionality, reliability, effectiveness, and most importantly — security.
5. Performance test your APIs
API testing begins with functionality, but also includes testing for reliability, performance under load, and security. It’s crucial your product works consistently through many variables and user flows.
6. The major threats to IoT are security related
Establish requirements early for network and web interface protocols, and user authentication processes.
Big-Data – The “Four V’s”
Today’s software algorithms collect, compile, mine, and extrapolate data points. Google Maps knows where you ate dinner. Alexa knows what radio station you prefer during breakfast, and perhaps what your preferred breakfast is. (Bacon, yes?) Facebook remembers everything you’ve liked, and the Library of Congress has archived your tweets. All of this information combines to provide a “big-data” look into user habits.
Big-data isn’t only about sheer size (volume), it’s also about velocity, variety, and veracity. New data is created at staggering speeds (velocity), in a wonderful array of complexity (variety), and must prove it’s worth (veracity), in order to be put to good use.
Big-data is usually unstructured. It’s gathered from social media, phone calls, instant messages, voicemails, pictures, videos, and geospatial data. Because of the sheer volume of data, and its random nature, testing can be hard to define. Functional testing makes sure your app can both verify data quality, and process the sheer volume of data. Big-data projects that require real-time interactive performance should also be tested for server-specific configuration issues.
7. Functional Testing
Make sure you have the data you need, and that your app can use it effectively. Scenarios for functional testing of data should include completeness, correctness, lack of duplication, and more. Scenarios for functional infrastructure testing should include a variety of server configuration considerations.
In 2018, UX is King
User satisfaction determines success — and profitability — in this fast-forward and fickle age. Whether you’re developing an app for your blog, a software-service, or you’re behind-the-scenes data mining, your business software testing strategy should rest on the combined tenants of user empathy, product consistency across platforms, and time-to-market awareness.