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Define cheap. You gave me $0.02 & told me to buy lunch with it. (Testy Testy)

On January 18, 2011, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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Today I tested a feature which supposedly allows a user to upload a training video. I reported a bug that I was unable to load any of our small files, even the smallest video we had. I got an appropriate error which informed me of the upload failure due to exceeding the file size. The maximum file size?

2,000,000 bytes

Well, that doesn’t look so bad, does it? If you gave me that many dollars, I’d be pretty rich! So, that leaves me trying to explain a few things.

1. People don’t speak in bytes. I mean, not since the early 1990’s. Not anyone I like to talk to, unless they are talking about converting FROM bytes to something more useful in the UI or using byte comparison to detect changes for automated checks, but I digress here. The point is, bytes do amazing things, but video takes more than that. If we are attaching a .txt file, I’m happy with this limit.

2. Before they followed gmail in offering ever growing free space, I believe Hotmail allowed 20GB space for users for free! Don’t quote me on that one, because it’s been so long since I had to much about with deleting my photos and excel spreadsheets that I’ve forgotten. The client I’m testing for is paying money. YouTube lets any video jockey who wants to upload a cute kitten riding a roomba have bandwidth at 5GB a pop and that’s while compressing the daylights out of it for you so it will fit in the 5GB beach bucket. We aren’t talking cinema quality here. Yet we can’t allow these paid users upload more than  .001 GB of video? Feel free to point me to .001GB worth of video to show me what kind of video training I can upload. I’m sure it will be very informative. Rated G or PG only please. I keep content to PG13 or below. It’s me, so I have to allow for an occasional “d” or “s” word, but I try to avoid dropping any “f” bombs on my kindly readership.

3. Why? Why bother to support a format without supporting the ability to upload files IN that format? It’s like the gift of the Magi, but less sweet. However, I had fun giggling about this defect. The funniest thing about this defect? It isn’t considered a bug.

What? How can this not be a bug? We’re talking about 0.001GB allocation. Several years ago, before they moved to mostly unlimited, free Hotmail allowed users 20GB. YouTube is giving us 5GB per video. Has been for ages. Cloud space is going for $.03 per hour (after a setup free, some contracts that said something about rumplestilskin, and a few cloudy things). By calling this NOT A BUG do you realize what you’ve done? You’ve made me do it. Yes, I researched the average hourly wage of EACH user by area and job title in the US who we intend to use this system, and conservatively, based on public data, that is an average of $26.43 PER user.

So, for each user who spends time trying to upload something and fails, we lose not just the support cost, but .44 seconds per MINUTE over just allowing them to do what the system intends to do, which is upload the blessed training video.

Now, for the love of Kaner, do not make the tester go crazy again, or Bachs help me I WILL calculate the likelihood that the user will go view a cat riding on a roomba rather than watch the software training that could help them do their job.

So, why is it important to USE software rather than just use automated checks without any complimentary professional human testing? Because this meets the requirements for each portion of the system. This unusable combination of this, which when considered by any person makes no sense, is exactly what would be delivered to users.

Let’s test together. By that I mean, let’s test our products working with other products. Let’s test our features working with other features. Let’s test our data in other browsers. Let’s test all of the integration with all of the interactions all happening at once. Because that is what life is like. Life is not one little isolated morsel by itself. It is the full beautiful messy symphony of noise. We may like different types of music, but I’m trying to find out, can you dance to it? Is there any rhythm here? When I talk about testing the workflow, about testing for the user experience, it is this exact thing I’m talking about. Not about converting Bytes to GB, but about having some point to your testing. It isn’t about being right. It’s about being useful. And sometimes, it’s about shaking your groove thing to a really great application. 

 

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