Insights | Internal or External Testing? Pros and Cons of Leveraging Users to Test Your UI

Internal or External Testing? Pros and Cons of Leveraging Users to Test Your UI

By Andy Hilliard | September 5, 2012

Testing the user experience is a tricky process, especially since there are so many factors to consider. How does the software work on different platforms? What about the look and feel of your web applications across the major browsers? Does the UI translate effectively from computer to smartphone? These questions, and others like them, are often difficult to answer in the testing process without input from the users. So do you keep the testing internal for as long as possible, or do you hand it over to the users to test?
Pros and Cons of Internal Testing

As developers, we want to get our product out to the people and see their reactions, but at the same time we don’t want them to see it until it’s perfect. However, deadlines force us to stop tinkering and start testing, and most of the time we depend upon our own internal testers to manage that process. Without a doubt, internal UI testers are faster at it than users because it’s their job to test. They know exactly what to do, what to look for, and how to communicate errors or problems coherently to the developers. Internal testing is less labor-intensive, and it certainly saves a ton of time.

On the other hand, you need a truly solid team of UI testers, not just a bunch of people hired from Craigslist. People with extensive background in UX testing and experience in software are much more likely to provide you with the information you need to improve your applications, which means less work for your dev team in the long run. Additionally, internal testers need to have domain knowledge of the software, and sometimes that’s hard to find in a jack-of-all-trades tester.

Pros and Cons of External Testing

With external testing, you gather a targeted user population to test the UI, choosing the sort of people who would actually use your application. The advantages of this form of UI testing is that you get a better idea of what’s working and not working for your users, with the added benefit of their extensive domain knowledge. However, having users test your software is also much more time consuming and expensive because you have to find the right people and then keep tabs on them to ensure they’re being thorough.
Which One Do You Choose?

The kind of UI testing you want to implement really depends on the type of program you’re creating. An industry specific program, such as ERP software, would probably benefit more from external testing. On the other hand, a more generally used software, such as a mobile app, is easily something that internal testers can handle effectively. Or maybe you should try a mixture of the two? Either way, don’t get too caught up in trying to make it perfect. No GUI is; you just have to make sure your users can get the job done.

To learn more Software Testing and Quality Assurance Outsourcing, or to discover how an Accelerance Partner can assist you with your IT or software development requirements, please contact us today at 877-992-2235 x 100 or by email at info @ accelerance.com.


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