To start with, I thought I’d explain a testing methodology that I have been using for my entire testing career (must be about 7 or 8 months now which is almost long enough to have a baby so that’s a long time alright?).
This style of testing is kind of like catching a bear. In order to catch a bear, you have to think like a bear, eat like a bear, and hibernate for 6 months like a bear. In short, you have to become the bear. Software is designed for end users. Think of all the end users you know. If you have ever been on technical support, think of all the people who have ever called you up. Now combine them into one highly incompetent, legally blind user with swollen fingers and all the logic of a waterproof sponge. You have to become that user. It may sound scary, or even difficult, but here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:
– Be irritable. If a button doesn’t do what you want within half a second, click it again. And again. Maybe it just didn’t hear you the first time.
– Forget typing skills. Always type as if you’re in a hurry to be somewhere else.
– Forget everything you know about how existing systems work. To become the end user, your mind must become pure. When a form demands an address, tell the form that you wrote it on your hand but it washed off. When a form asks you for comments, paste in a news article you wrote for the local paper about Young People Today. When it asks you for a date in the form dd/mm/yyyy, type in dd/mm/yyyy.
– Liberally use the back button on the browser. That’s what it’s there for after all, to let you go back and rectify your past mistakes.
– Press random keys at random times. Use the enter key to save every form.
– Give yourself the most complicated name on the planet. Use special and/or foreign characters. Always make at least one of your names O’Malley Heinrich-Worthington (it’s a cool name).
– Resize the window all the time. Use massive fonts and set your screen resolution to something ridiculous. Basically you want to make sure you can read the text from across the room if you feel so inclined.
That’s pretty much all the general tips I can give. Generally after getting into the right mindset, I then just blunder through the application trying to do something semi-ridiculous, like buy a million units of washing powder using my Medicare card.
So until next time, remember: the only way to catch a serial killer is with cereal.