Katrina Clokie, author of “A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps“, offers us her unique insight into developing effective tests in her blog post “Generic Testing Personas“. In this article, Clokie explains how developing personas can be helpful in modeling expected behavior of users. This information is very valuable when designing different tests.
Clokie begins by explaining how good tests should cover all possible behaviors, to make sure that the software being tested is as adaptable as possible for different individuals. Developing “personas” for expected or stereotypical behavior can give an informed perspective when designing tests.
When designing personas, each individual should have clearly distinct behavior patterns and needs from one another. In this article, the author gives us an example of six personas that could be helpful when writing tests. Here I will just briefly describe two that I feel compliment each other and demonstrate the point nicely.
“Manager Maria” is a persona who is always busy and rushes through the software, consistently using shortcut keys, making mistakes, and constantly going AFK while using the program. For example, Maria might be frustrated with slow response times, so the tester ought to make sure the software is running smoothly even during times of high traffic.
In contrast, “Elder Elisabeth” has trouble with new technology and may require simple user interfaces, need to zoom far in, or may need to reach out for assistance. In Elisabeth’s case, the tester should make sure the program is visually stable, and can be run on older systems.
Both of these personas are stereotypes of real users who have different needs and behaviors. The more defined the characteristics of each persona, the more information about their needs can be inferred. It is the responsibility of both the developer and the Software Quality Assurance professional to make sure all of these different needs and desires are met to deliver the best possible product.
I very much enjoyed this article and I found Clokie’s perspective both interesting and helpful. I definitely enjoy and find important the application of heuristics in software design, and it makes sense that this knowledge would be helpful in the context of designing tests as well.