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WEB2.0: Tester is the User; User is the Tester (The Pragmatic Testing)

On October 18, 2011, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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Originally Posted at SQABlogs.com on { 01:32, 2009-Aug-27 } { Posted in Software Testing } { 0 comments } { 1 trackbacks


 
This is what I and my team colleagues Rohit Jain were discussing about Web 2.0. We had a lot of things in our minds about this new technology and we even sent some of our members to attend workshops on new web technologies. I see the world changing so fast that if you lose a step, you find yourself too behind to get hold of it.

Actually, with the advent of Web 2.0 a new era has started in the world of Internet. It was a technical revolution that enabled users with limited or absolutely no programming knowledge to actively interact with the web world. This revolution liberated the user from being a silent reader who just retrieved information from the Internet to someone who could also add to it, entirely through his browser. This changed the Internet world from “Someone to Everyone” to “Anyone to Everyone”.

Web 2.0 is new, it is evolving, and it has a very high visibility as anyone can use it. The target audience is almost everyone, and with an increasingly large number of users accessing the services day by day, the requirement for speed, reliability, data consistency and performance are all crucial. The coupling between design and code is high which makes the structure highly complex. Hence even a small design change can lead to drastic code changes. Thus to achieve best results, superior performance and better user experience, testing is very critical. Considering the high user base and target applications of Web 2.0, it is important for the tester to step into the shoes of the actual user to ensure the desired usability. Also it is interesting to note that the person who is performing the testing could also be an actual user of these applications. So we can quintessentially say that “Tester is the User; User is the Tester”.

Web 2.0 reaches the world with a promise to provide better social networking, user-generated content on websites, active discussion forums, better search results, enhanced information sharing, multimedia sharing, interactive collaboration and a lot more. This calls for greater ‘user perspective oriented’ testing.  Web 2.0 is useful when information and knowledge needs to be shared with others, when you are working with people geographically dispersed and when improved & increased collaboration with others is required. This could be on a business / organization level or on a personal level. For example Wiki-sites can be created for information and content sharing among various users. Various networking sites, On-line Photo and Video sharing applications, Blogging etc. are instances where Web 2.0 has touched the common man. From Wikipedia to Youtube, from Facebook to Blogger, from Flickr to Google Ad-sense, from eSnips to eBay, the more Web 2.0 reaches the world, the more emphasis needs to be given on testing.

Although the benefits and applications of Web 2.0 seem pretty glamorous in the coming future, the path it is not a roller-coaster ride. Earlier websites owned and controlled their web experience; from infrastructure to presentation, from business logic to content management, it was their own stuff. But with the advent of Web 2.0, the control has slipped from their hands and it now lies with the user. The ‘own stuff of the website’ has changed to ‘own stuff of the user’. And if you want to give the user control of the contents, presentation and business logic, the companies / websites have to test everything besides their own stuff. Also there is a lot of Third Party content that needs to be taken care of. So testing here would involve cumulative testing of company content, third party content and the user content in order to provide a higher level of user satisfaction. And who are these users… we are! Even the testers, developers, every stakeholder, everyone is a potential user.

Thus extensive new testing strategies and processes need to be exercised with the aim of offering the user a superlative web experience.
 

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