Three blocks down one to go :).

This has been a productive and fun day, and I want to say thanks to Dhanasekar Subramanian for putting together an entertaining and informative session.

As we left the third block to fill up on Diet Mountain Dew and cookies (well, that’s what I did, I really can’t speak for the rest of the participants) we were looking at utilizing a mind map to sketch out the application and look at testing artifacts that we find. That’s pretty cool in and of itself, but what about the next project? What could we do to consider and focus on a totally different app?

Truth is, we don’t want to re-invent the wheel, but there are a number of key areas that we can ask “what if?” questions about. Instead of making a list of specific questions to make lots of specific mind maps, it can be helpful to have some common “rules of thumb” to draw upon. If you are reading that and want to yell “your honor, Testhead is leading the witness”, well, yes, I am. For a lot of you, this is going to seem like a blinding flash of the obvious, but for those who are not familiar with the term, this is where heuristics come into play. Heuristics are wonderfully suited for mindmaps. Sekar in fact has written about, and uses in his tutorial, a good heuristic for testing mobile app coverage.


Below are the quick and dirty descriptions that Sekar uses to describe these terms. The “sins” are straight from his blog, and they get the point across, methinks ;):

Location: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, get out!
Orientation: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, lie in the couch.
Network: It’s a sin to test mobile app sitting at your desk, switch networks.
Gestures: In the mobile world, app responds to gestures, not clicks.

Function: Does the application fulfills core requirements?
User scenarios: How easy or how hard is it to complete a task using the app?
Notifications: How does the app let us know something needs our attention?

Communication: How does the app behave after interruptions by an incoming call or an SMS?
Updates: How does your device handle updating apps? What happens when we do?
Platform: Why does Apple and/or Android do certain things in a certain way?

What I like about taking a heuristic and turning it into a mind maps is the fact that you can communicate a particular testing strategy up front and very quickly. LONG FUN CUP contains a lot of potential testing horsepower if it is thoughtfully applied. What can also add to the ability to quickly communicate  information is using the labels, tags and other icons to help communicate information quickly. In this case a display of a mind map with the icons for each area can be a quick information radiator. the areas without icons can be seen as areas that still need to be addressed. areas with progress icons can show how much is done. Green check boxes can show that areas pass or are at least not seen to be having issues at this time. red X marks or exclamation alerts can point to potential problems, and text boxes can be filled in with more details or pointers to other documents that provide greater depth. What’s more, with the right tools, doing these updates could be done on the mobile devices themselves, making for a nice virtuous cycle.