Five for Friday

Why web performance pays off? – https://simplified.dev/performance/impact-of-web-performance

Why your site’s download size really matters – http://danluu.com/web-bloat/

How animation can be a UX tool – https://uxdesign.cc/the-ultimate-guide-to-proper-use-of-animation-in-ux-10bd98614fa9

Poverty can have wide ranging effects – https://thecorrespondent.com/283/poverty-isnt-a-lack-of-character-its-a-lack-of-cash/37442933638-a4773584

Communication is a big part of software #testing – https://www.ministryoftesting.com/dojo/lessons/the-quality-and-testing-information-model

Five for Friday

Memory leaks make a comeback, for the web age – https://nolanlawson.com/2020/02/19/fixing-memory-leaks-in-web-applications/

Engaging Twitter thread on the perils of copy/paste StackOverflow based programming – https://twitter.com/foone/status/1229641258370355200

Perspective is everything! County size seems so skewed when building map projections – https://www.visualcapitalist.com/map-true-size-of-africa/

Scarcity also has a dark side; Impact of poverty on various aspects of life – https://thecorrespondent.com/283/poverty-isnt-a-lack-of-character-its-a-lack-of-cash/37442933638-a4773584

A good technical piece on 2FA and testing – https://blog.testproject.io/2020/02/11/overcoming-api-testing-challenges-using-postman-one-time-password/

Worth mentioning quote:

“Trust. But double-check” -Paulo Coelho

Five for Friday

When coaching, assessments and knowing where one stands feels important – good set of questions!

How does technology influences work-life balance?- https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/02/laptops-killed-work-life-balance/606334/

An intriguing piece on how Agile is perceived. – https://doriantaylor.com/agile-as-trauma

The Dark Materials – Darkness can inspire, and one of the deepest black pigments can do wonderful things – https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/77190/6-facts-about-vantablack-darkest-material-ever-made

Cognitive biases will become increasingly important as we venture deeper in AI, as on side effect of AI is magnifying them. Why not know more about them? – https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-cognitive-biases-in-the-modern-world/

Five for Friday

Code reviews – watch your language! – https://testing.googleblog.com/2019/11/code-health-respectful-reviews-useful.html

Nature is everywhere – https://randomtechthoughts.blog/2019/11/12/how-biology-is-like-computing/

A technical approach on #testing chatbots – https://azevedorafaela.com/2019/11/10/aws-lex-kubernetes-chatbot-test-strategies/

On the hidden side over-engineering – https://gojko.net/2019/12/01/deliberate-side-products.html

Why advice needs to be adated to context – https://ronjeffries.com/articles/019-01ff/against-razor-back-estim/

Five for Friday

Writing is Thinking: Learning to Write with Confidence – Do you think everyday? Why not write everyday?

The Tail End – A special season is close by, so why not think of something special?

Yes! and… – Threater and improv can be applied in some quite suprising scenarios

Integral of Sin(x): Geometric Intuition – Math does not always need to be boring

Why Groups Struggle to Solve Problems Together – Interesting piece on problem solving

Five for Friday

Moving Past Shallow Incident Data – A look on why to move deeper on data

The Art of Unlearning – A throwback to a topic that I also like to write & think about

Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids – Good piece on an oblique path to reaching success

Software Quality, Bugs and SLAs – Quality takes many shapes, and this is a good read on some of them

Yes, You Should Estimate Software Projects – In all these #NoEstimates discussions, there is also a middle ground

Five for Friday

Reasons latest Apple releases OS versions are so buggy – https://tidbits.com/2019/10/21/six-reasons-why-ios-13-and-catalina-are-so-buggy/

New reasons to worry about your smart speaker – https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614602/smart-speakers-can-be-hijacked-by-apps-that-spy-on-users/

How to read books when you believe you do not have time for this (inspired to share this based on recent study of how much people in my country read) – https://hbr.org/2019/04/8-ways-to-read-the-books-you-wish-you-had-time-for

Inspiring TDD checklist from one of the fathers of TDD –https://medium.com/@kentbeck_7670/test-desiderata-94150638a4b3

Initiative – https://seths.blog/2019/10/initiative/

Culture is not moving fast (or should not)

“People like us, do things like this” is the definition of culture that Seth Godin is putting out in much of his material, or at least this is how I get it 🙂

At the same time there is Dave Snowden who’s work around Cynefin, micro-naratives, and sense-making speaks about approaching culture changes.

In one TEDx talk, Dave speaks about how culture can be shifted. His thesis is that big culture shifts are not controllable and reproducible, and that culture shifts little by little, changing slowly around the “How to we make to have more stories like these and less stories like these?”

So, I do now realise that culture change is hard and takes time, and all those organisational transformation projects aiming to change culture are at least difficult to say the least

Automation and #testing – Is it a shortcut?

I believe mentioning this before around here, but I started following the work of Seth Godin and I particularly like his Akimbo podcast.

In an episode I recently stumbled upon he was talking about shortcuts, and put out what he believes are criteria for qualifying a good shortcut, beside being actually being what the dictionary says:

shortcut

noun short·​cut | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌkət also -ˈkət  \

“a method or means of doing something more directly and quickly than and often not so thoroughly as by ordinary procedure”

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shortcut
Shortcut through a secret bookshelf door
Shortcut – Photo by Stefan Steinbauer on Unsplash

This made me think about software, #testing and automation, since there is much talk about #automation being either the miracle panacea or something not so good. In this context, I want to check the attributes associated with a shortcut. The obvious one, that of offering faster results in certain contexts I guess is not up for debate, since computers proved a long time ago they can be faster than humans at some tasks (maybe all …)

Repeatable – This is the first attribute of a good shortcut, seen as its potential to be used over and over again. On this check, automation in testing seems to match positively, as if done right, the same test can be run over and over again. So, automation in testing is repeatable.

Non-harmful – This one means that the shortcut does not have downstream side effects, as in it does harm. One example the author provided initially was that of tax evasion, that is harmful in the long run. Moving to software and testing, in the context of automation, this is a hard one since automation is not without side effects when done poorly. This happens because many times people start believing automation alone is good enough and thus other types of testing are no longer needed, with the end result being poorer quality products. This is up for debate, as many times the automation fails to deliver on its promise.

Additive – This one refers the shortcut’s ability to provide value every-time it is used. Again this is up for debate, as when done well, automation in testing provides good value every-time, but when results are not reliable (False positive or false negatives), the value added is actually negative, decreasing confidence while also asking for a maintenance cost.

But let’s also stop and consider that software testing’s goal and reason to exist is providing decision making information to stakeholders (Jerry Weinberg), being an additive shortcut stops when testing no longer delivers information useful for decision making.

Suitable for crowds – This one refers to whether or not a shortcut is suitable to be actively used by many, everybody in a extreme case. This scenario is a clear winner for automation in testing, as a network effect is happening as more and more people join this trend. Is it thanks to such effects that such a vibrant ecosystem is built, with tools maintained via the OSS model and things moving from independent tools to standards (see WebDriver as W3C standard)

All in all, it seems automation in testing is a good thing, but should be considered with caution, especially when it comes to being repeatable and non-harmful.

In the end, what’s your take on this?

A visual #testing checklist

During the last couple of years I’ve been working (on & off) for a very creative and design oriented oriented organisation. This tenure helped me learn a lot about the design, copywriting, typography and of course, testing with the aim of delivering a beautiful experience.

Please note the distinction, a beautiful experience, not a mere beautiful website. This is relevant, as an experience contains also the not so happy scenarios, and other side aspects that make the user feel catered for, beyond the normal flow.

Since visual aspects are so important, what is a quick checklist start for this area when it comes to #testing?

Layout (how things look and arrange on the screen)

  • Is mobile shown OK? Did I check smaller screens (e.g. 320 px wide viewport)
  • Are desktop & large screens scenarios OK?
  • Is there a desired orientation?
  • Is there an orientation lock? Should it be (is the experience usable on landscape orientation)?
  • Are all elements visible and clear on all supported breakpoints?
  • How does it look like in high-contast / night mode on selected browsers?
  • How does it looks like when disabling CSS?
  • How does it looks like when disabling all scripts?

Typography

  • Is the font typeface correct?
  • Is the font size & weight correct?
  • Spacing & kerning are according to the intended design?
  • Are special char modifiers shown correctly? (e.g. accents)
  • If needed, are RTL languages supported by the font family?

Copy

  • Is the copy correct?
  • Is the copy adapted to all supported locales and regions? (e.g. localisation)
  • Is the copy flowing nice on all layout viewports?

Assets

  • Are images clear & crisp?
  • Are videos playing on all supported browsers?
  • How about audio? Do we have audio track and is the video working as intended in the auto play blocked scenarios?
  • Are assets of a decent size? (think of perceived performance)
  • How does it looks like when images can not be loaded? (graceful fallback)

Accessibility

  • Is the contrast OK for reading by visually impaired persons?
  • Do all images have relevant alt-image description set for each locale?
  • How does the tested piece look in high-contrast mode?
  • How does things look like when using “large font” options on devices?