Skip main navigation

How to find the right people to test your products

In this article learn about best practices when approaching people for testing your products and services.
© Creative Computing Institute

Why is testing important?

Testing is really important as it ensures quality and identifies problems and issues. Testers ensure products work and adhere to requirements, and show them to user groups before they’re released to the wider public.

Requirements refer to the expected features and behaviours of a product.

The requirements are usually defined at the beginning of a project and are used by the different stakeholders on a product team to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the expected features.

  • Consider a fictional system, FaceUpload, which enables a user to upload an image of themselves onto the internet. An example requirement may be ‘FaceUpload shall allow a user to take a picture of a human face using a system camera’

Testing takes multiple forms when creating new products. It is necessary to test that the requirements are indeed fit for purpose, test that the product adheres to the requirements, and then test the product with a variety of user groups.

Testing the requirements

Testing the requirements should happen when the requirements are being created. This is essentially a step where the testers will consider the following:

  • Do the requirements consider a variety of scenarios?
  • Are the requirements correct and not contradictory?
  • Can the requirements be interpreted differently by different stakeholders?

In our example requirement above, the questions a tester may ask are:

  • What is a system camera, is that a mobile phone camera, or an inbuilt computer camera?
  • Will the picture be saved once it’s uploaded?
  • Will the user be able to verify their picture once it’s been taken?

The reason that the requirements are ‘tested’ or verified is to ensure that the testers have the correct information to carry out the product testing once the product is ready for testing.

Ensure requirements are correct and fit for purpose

It’s important to test that the requirements are correct and fit for purpose. Ideally, have testers involved quite early in the process so that they can provide assurance for the requirements.

To make sure that the right people are testing the requirements, they need to have an understanding of the subject matter and the technology. Testing against the requirements is where the product will be checked to ensure that it behaves correctly according to the requirements.

With the fictional FaceUpload requirement, the tester could test the following scenarios to ensure that the product is behaving appropriately:

  • Take pictures in different lighting and with different backgrounds
  • Take pictures with different facial expressions and confirm the face is still recognised
  • Test with pictures of faces with a range of skin tones and ensure that the faces can still be processed by the system

Once the requirements have been tested to show that they’re accurate, the product or service needs to be tested against the requirements. This means ensuring that everything works as expected against the requirements, then the right tests can ensure the quality of the delivery.

This would be manual or automated testing, where the tester would manually use the product whilst representing the user, or choosing appropriate test data for automated testing.

Testing with user groups

Now that testing has occurred to confirm the quality of the system, it’s important to choose suitable people to take part in user testing. This is where it’s vitally important that there is a wide range of users to represent a variety of demographics.

Dentabright Example (Testing Considerations)

Referring back to the example of Dentabright from 2.15, the types of people that should be involved in this testing process would be:

Technologists who have worked in the dental field or health care Users who have a variety of skin colours to ensure that they are able to use the system

References:

  1. Testim, 2020. What Is the software testing life cycle? A complete guide
© Creative Computing Institute
This article is from the free online

Anti-Racist Approaches in Technology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education