The career of many QA professionals is filled with the dichotomy of relishing the search for perfection in all aspects of software development while continuously answering, “So what is it that you do again, exactly?” As Aristotle noted, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit,” and it is one that testers may or may not have been born with, but that they spend years practicing, honing, and evangelizing. While some careers require increased specialization or are prone to obsolescence, testing is a role where technically-skilled folks can strengthen their focus on highly-effective software while continually incorporating new technologies and methods, industries and functions, and other facets of the craft.
One answer to “What is the purpose of software?” is “to solve problems.” While the premise is universal, the types of problems that are solved by software are as evolutionary as the concept of problems themselves. New solutions are provided every day to an increasingly broad base of industries, challenges, and users themselves, and nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than in the latest delivery of problem-solving tools: mobile applications and websites. Several recent studies agree that over two-thirds of US adults own smartphones, which not only speaks to the vast number of people who have access to these new applications, but more strikingly, that the usage of these applications is no longer limited to time spent “on the computer” at home, Starbucks, or the local library. Companies, industries, and organizations of all types and sizes have scrambled to develop custom mobile applications in an effort to capture the attention and engagement of their customers.
Keeping with the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams’ tagline, “If you build it, they will come,” mobile users are hungrily downloading the 2.5-plus million applications available for mobile devices. However, the speed-to-market that is available to this newest flavor of mass technology also brings with it the high risk of failure. The vast majority of mobile applications will not be considered a financial success to their owners and the reasons, while varied, are not a surprise to many QA professionals. In a nutshell, many new mobile apps fail to solve problems sufficiently for their users. Successful commercial apps enable customers to solve problems such as conducting banking transactions, shopping for anything and everything, checking the weather forecast, enjoying music, books, and movies, tracking exercise and fitness, and nearly anything else imaginable. But unless it works, and works well, an application is quickly deemed more trouble than it’s worth as many more pop up to take valuable moments of attention.
Consider Amazon’s popular shopping app. It has been called “dangerous” because it allows anyone to buy anything they might need or want, virtually anytime. It is rarely known to fail; the interface is simple to use and the user experience is good enough to make us happy to be spending money with a single click. As Jeff Bezos has said, “The best customer service is if the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you. It just works.” But this success is not by chance; extensive effort is put into effective requirement elicitation, design, development, and, yes, testing. If the app was tough to navigate, it would be deleted. If it failed to provide quick, safe transactions, it wouldn’t be used. If it worked on some devices and not others, on some operating systems but not others, the user community would look elsewhere. If it didn’t invoke a high sense of financial security, buying with the tap of a finger would be abandoned. And questioning, testing, evaluating, and communicating these qualities and their results are all the role and responsibilities of software quality assurance professionals.
Delivering outstanding mobile solutions can be difficult. Even well-established corporations with successful IT organizations are struggling. The understanding that “you can’t test everything, every time” has never been more real than in the world of mobile devices, which are constantly changing, adapting, and advancing. By incorporating innovative approaches to device-agnostic mobile test automation with experience in all aspects of software testing, SDLC Partners brings objective quality assurance to your mobile development process. We employ a team of nearly 100 US-based QA professionals who are experienced in every aspect of application lifecycle testing, including functional testing, regression testing, test automation using all of the major commercial and open-source testing toolkits, performance, usability, accessibility, and other non-functional testing, mobile and web testing, mainframe and database testing, test data setup and management, user acceptance test planning and execution, test process improvement, and test team development and management.
The use of new technology is imperative in today’s fast-changing global economy and mobile applications and websites bring solutions into the hands of new customers and in newer ways than ever before. But without a positive customer experience, one that quickly solves their problems with quick and reliable ease of use, technology is useless. Partnering with a professional testing team to perform the tedious technical, analytical, and detail-oriented tasks of mobile quality assurance gives you the confidence and comfort to release your valuable technical calling card into the world of increasingly busy and discerning customers.