Overcoming the Challenges of Testing a New GUI

October 17, 2012

By Steve Mezak

Your dev team has just finished a project, and now comes the dreaded task of UI and UX testing. Though it can often be the most trying and frustrating stage in software development, there’s no question that UI/UX testing is of paramount importance to the success of your software. If it doesn’t do what the users want it to do, then you have to go back to the drawing board. However, there are ways to get through the testing process a little easier.
Most Common Problems in GUI Testing

Nearly every dev team encounters the same problems when testing a new GUI. First of all, we have very little control over the client browser. If it were possible to collaborate with Apple, Microsoft, Modzilla, or Google in developing our web applications, then it certainly would make creating software that works with those browsers much easier. Unfortunately, we don’t have that option, which means having to figure out how to make the software work across each browser. Not only that, but browsers update frequently, and so your software will inevitably require updates in order to support multiple versions, especially since the distribution of browser versions eventually becomes widespread among users.

Another issue is trying to meet the needs of disparately located users. Someone in the Americas will more than likely have different expectations and requirements than someone in Europe, and getting that user feedback at the start is difficult at times. Often if a user cannot make your software do what he wants it to, then he’ll just abandon your site and your application, never to return again.
How to Solve the Testing Conundrum

The most important tool you have at your disposal to ensure that testing your UI goes smoothly is to always keep the user in mind, be incredibly organized, and never undervalue manual testing. Sure, it would be great to automate everything, but without an actual human being to evaluate the user experience, you won’t really know whether the software works. There’s no substitute for good old fashioned testing, so don’t leave it all up to automation.

As for the users, listen to the ones who do raise their voices. It may sound like trolling at times, but if you dig into the reasons why people don’t like something in your software, you’ll likely find issues that your team could work to improve. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many developers forget these simple rules. As long as you and your dev team are communicating effectively over the course of the project, and as long as you don’t forget to look at things in the way that your users might, then UI testing should proceed smoothly.

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