#TW30DaysOfTesting – Day 23: Helping out from content generation

Today was about helping someone else test better. The whole point of this challenge being open to all roles is that everyone does testing in their day to day so there are always a lot of opportunities to do help others.

In this case, I had a meeting set up with a content creator for our application and it was a prime time to do some testing. The project I am working on is very content driven and at the same time has a very long pipeline from creation to publishing. This means that while the most important part of the application is content, it is also the part that has the longest feedbacks. The first time we got new content a lot of really interesting things were uncovered and a couple months later are still unresolved. One example is how we handle bullet points (we were getting actually an HTML generated bullet point and an icon bullet point which was clearly not expected).

We are up for another round of new content types to be generated and so I asked one of the creators if we could spend some time together before the process got too far along. The new content is a type of flow where the reader will need to make decisions which will impact the next step. One thing that the content creators were already implementing was an attempt to drive more iterative development. They were doing this by first creating a flow without any decisions, then with only on decision that is binary, and then continuing to build up. This was fantastic and we were able to review the progression which was really well done.

Where helping actually came into play was discussing what was going to be in each step of the flow. We started to talk about how the differently formatted content (URLs, bullets, bold, italics, etc) made such an impact on the previous content, and how we could do better this time around. We spent the remainder of the meeting identifying realistic use cases for different special characters and formatting so that we could build in the testing/verification for what we would not be handling as well.

It was a great meeting and a fun afternoon of testing the ideas before any bit of software was written. This is actually one of my favourite ways to test and I have seen some of the best return on investment with introducing people at these early stages to thinking in a specification by example way. So fun!

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