Last Thursday (26th June), I was involved with the Unicom organised Next Generation Test Conference at the Lancaster Hotel in London. My role was to enjoy the day, and then at 4pm take part in a Q&A session with four other test managers in a ‘Topic Guru’ panel session which was to run for just over an hour. I must admit to enjoying the questions, and the time flew by – luckily the other panellists were very open and I think we shared the answers well between us.
But there is one thing I particularly want to mention, The day got off to an interesting start with a talk about ‘The Internet of Things’, an expression I hadn’t heard before, but the whole theme of the day was looking to the future (of testing and other things too).
I need to do some more research around this, but what I took away from it is that we need to stop thinking about systems and applications, and start thinking about people – yes, human beings like you and me! It’s about the way in which we interact with the internet to gain access to the amazing amount of information available to us. It makes perfect sense, as although we write systems to perform tasks, run batch jobs, do uploads, downloads, schedule reports etc, the end result is that data in some form or another is going to be looked at by a person, and a decision made on the basis of that data, whether it be a business or commercial decision, or a personal one, such as which insurer you should choose based on the cost of insurance provided by a man dressed in a seafarers uniform, a nodding dog or a cute furry animal!
As testers it’s easy to look at a user story or requirement and think ‘Ah yes, the system should do x when the user presses y’. Fine, but we should be questioning what the user needs to get out of this interaction in the first place. We design systems that are complex, clever and look great, but often it’s the least technical person who comes along and asks why they need to press 5 buttons just to create a simple report or add in some data, and they would prefer to do this with as little interaction and navigation as possible.
I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this subject – I feel it is one that can run, and run, and run……