Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tester get stuffs from Garden City road's too

Learning comes from every where and at any time (more rightly all time) for a tester. As usual, I sat in the BMTC bus to reach my work place. It was Cunningham Road and bus was traveling towards Vasanth Nagar terminal. At the end of the Cunningham Road signal, a board drew all my attention. I could read the words "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD", which was in bigger font size that could be seen from quite far distance.

Got down at Vasanth Nagar terminal, and started walking towards that board, where I saw it was hanged. On reaching the place, I read all the words on the board and understood what it was, only after reading the words in smaller font size.

The words "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD" started to blog my mind with question, "where does the plastic waste are dumped here on this road?" since Cunningham Road was calm, green and clean. This made me to get down from the bus and to walk towards that board for looking at it.

The words, which were displayed below the "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD" explained, what the board was for; but those words were not visible so legibly as it was displayed in lower font size. If we were in the quite near distance say about 10 or 14 steps far away from the place where board was hung, those smaller font sized words could be seen and read to an extent. The words in the small font size was "PERMANENT SOLUTION TO PLASTIC WASTE".

After a few days, saw the same board hung in the Cubbon Road too. It was around 8:30 PM and my friend was driving his vehicle. The below written were the conversation, seeing that hung board.

me: What do you infer from that words "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD" written on the board hung there? (smaller font sized words were not legible to read, from the distance where our vehicle was.)
my friend: It is very ambiguous to me, where the plastic wastes are dumped here on this road ?
me: What is the next thought you are getting?
my friend: Hmm.... (waited for few seconds), no idea. (By this time traffic signal had green light to move.)

Similarly, I asked my another friend, what did you understand or what thought came to your mind by looking at that board. He said, "nothing came to mind seeing that and all was a confusion with those words.".

Like this, I asked many people, "what do you understand or infer by looking at this board in the first sight." Everyone took few seconds to respond for that question by staring at that board or by listening to words "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD". Also I took few people to show that board, and made a note of what they inferred by looking at those words of bigger font size in first sight.

The Cubbon Road is one, which has the greens on both sides of it and a good example to tell Bengaluru as the "Garden City of India". But that bigger font size words "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD", will make to think why these words are written on the board and hung here. Instead it should have given a thought for a common (or any) man in first sight reading as, it is the road constructed using waste and scrap plastics.

Salute to all those people, who work in early morning hours to keep city clean, otherwise it would not have been possible to walk and enjoy those greens on the roads, by people who loves to walk in spite of the busy traffic.

The waste plastic are used here to construct a road by using it as a strong binding agent for tar and making the waste and scrap plastic as asphalt, which makes the life of the road much more longer. The smaller font words explained this to very little extent with the words "PERMANENT SOLUTION TO PLASTIC WASTE". But it was not visible clearly, when we are traveling in a vehicle at a speed of 40 kmph if we are at quite far distance from that board or if we are at a distance of 15 steps or more from that hanged board, which had these smaller font size words.

But those bigger font sized words could have made easy by using better words other than "PLASTIC WASTE ROAD", so that any person who read and understand English can infer why the board was hung on that road.

Anyways it is a good move from the Bengaluru's city corporation (BBMP), to give roads of good and best quality by keeping city clean from scrap and waste plastics, by using them as asphalt for the road construction.

The words of bigger font should be much clear and should not give any ambiguous thought in the reader of that board for the first time. The words that were suggested by the people (who mistook those words for first time on reading them) with whom I discussed this topic, are written below:


Did you get, why did I write this little post here in my Testing Garage? (this writing might be a waste plastic scrap for who does not like learning; hope and sure no software testers sees this writing as waste plastic scrap and definitely testers makes use of it).

It is a stuff to do with Usability Testing, which makes our product to reach any person who sees and makes use of our product. It is in the hands of the testers to deliver the system or product which have no ambiguous terms, statements, words or displays.

Most of we testers would have seen this type of Usability errors during installation testing in the installation wizard and in the words displayed in the dialogs, etc.

Usability testing and Usability engineering are different terms. The measurement of easiness in using a product or piece of software can be called as Usability Testing. Whereas, the research and design process that makes and ensures the products with good usability can be called as Usability engineering.

Traveling in BMTC bus, yet again taught me a good lesson in Software Testing !

Lesson's learnt by Passionately Exploring Software Testing:

  • It is also a tester duty to ensure that terms or words or pictures or symbols or logo in a system/product ready to ship, does give right meaning to user/client/customer, on reading or seeing them at first sight.
  • It is Testers responsibility to check iteratively right from the beginning stage of design till and after product or system release stage for the best Usability.
  • While you are testing your product/system, think of our friends (customer/clients/users) who have the disabilities. The usability of our product or system should provide stretched hand support to disabled users also. This is challenging stuffs of Usability Testing and Usability Engineering.
  • Make a questions and objectives rather than finishing up every task in hypotheses for any kind of testing (this includes Usability Testing too).
  • Always have a group of end users at your testing place, for whom the product or system is intended for. Let that group work with the product with you. And, this group chosen may be picked up randomly.
  • Simulate or provide the environment for the group which is similar to their operational environment. This brings you with lot of input for better Usability.
  • Ask questions and feedback's to those group. Observe the activities of the group while using your product/system by keeping yourself quite and patience with keen in observing them, unless the group seeks your help by calling you to their seat.
  • Always have and consider the list of those improvements needed for the product or system, which is provided by the end users/customers/clients.
  • Also, test your product in the customer environment because testing is always a solution in our environment. (so, testers should be sent to client/customer places. This brings lot of improvement in product/system and benefits to employer as well as the customer/client/user).
  • Show interest in market and generation (people of all ages) attitude, as they can be source of useful information for Usability.
  • Giving the efficiency, reliability and handful of support in the shipping/shipped system or product is of no use, when the Usability is not up to the quality that stops using system/product from operation.
  • Usability is not only in the display, but it is also in the how quick the customer/client is able to start working confidently in the shipping/shipped system or product i.e., learning curve with our product/system delivered.
  • Good usability, reduces the training duration by considerable amount of time to the product/system vendor.
  • All the used characters that imparts the meaning and purpose, should be legible and understood at the first sight.
  • The more count of satisfied customer or client using our shipped product/system means, the Usability been provided by us is satisfying. But, there should always be continuous and consistent improvement using the feedback's of customer/client/users.
  • Documentation or Help, is also part of the Usability. Make sure the documentation or help content are updated periodically whenever there is a change in any of the components of product or system. And, let it be in simple language so both novice and experienced users can make use of them completely.
  • Organizing the contents in the Documentation or in Help, is also a part of Usability. Make sure the order of the contents are in right order.
  • Navigation through the product/system should be easy and successful, which tells and depicts the Usability of the product/system.
  • Try to gather information from market analysis "Which of the Usability design is most effective to user?"
  • Be sure for what tasks or operation, our customer/client/user needs help or documentation support.
  • The technical support or support desk of our delivered product/system, will have good answers for the Usability of product/system from our product/system users.

If something has got from this little writing of Testing Garage, the usability of this post has done its work.

To conclude, "Testers are on road too....."

Love Testing!