Imagine Your Customers…
Isabel Evans, Independent quality and testing consultant and programme chair for EuroSTAR 2019
Imagine Your Customers…
Who are our customers? What do they want? What are we delivering to them?
When we think about the experiences that our customers have, what are we imagining? Are they using our software, our products, our services? Are they the customers of people using our software, products, services? Do they see themselves as using software? Or something else?
At IT practitioners, it is easy for us to believe that we understand how software should work and what it should deliver. We are engaged in a technical world, and we deliver technical solutions. Sometimes we assume that is what everyone wants and needs. The more devices, apps, data, bandwidth, connectivity available the happier everyone will be. But is that true?
To understand what is really required of our products, we need to design and test a pyramid of interlocking quality attributes, that build together to make an optimum experience for the people who use our products, matching their needs, and their desires. It is not enough to test functional suitability, performance, and reliability. People also require usability, accessibility, safety, excitement… and many other often conflicting quality attributes. These profoundly affect the user experience (UX) and the customers’ perception of risk, flow, and even their own competence. We can use UX methods to help us understand the people we affect and use quality attributes to measure building blocks towards delivering the experiences they want and need.
For testers and developers without UX expertise, this presents challenges, concerns and questions: “How can we measure UX when it seems to focus on emotions, perceptions, aesthetics and ethics? How do we test it? Does it require us to rethink our approach, even to delegate that testing to the people who will use the software? Can we use AI and analytics to help us predict customer reactions? And if we do, are there ethical or validity concerns?
In her keynote, Isabel discusses these questions, suggests who our customers are, and introduces concepts and methods from UX that testers can adopt.
Isabel Evans, an independent quality and testing consultant with more than thirty years of IT experience in the financial, communications, and software sectors. Her work focuses on quality management, software testing, and user experience (UX). A published author, popular speaker and storyteller at software conferences worldwide, Isabel is a Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the British Computer Society, and received the 2017 EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award. In parallel with her consultancy and teaching in industry, Isabel Evans is studying part-time as a PhD student at the Department of Computer Information Systems, University of Malta, working with Dr Chris Porter and Dr Mark Micallef on research in human factors for Software Testing.
Within that, her current research project is to examine human factors around test tools and the automation of testing, in particular, the UX of testing tools for testers. Isabel was programme chair for the HUSTEF 2018 conference in Budapest, and is the programme chair for EuroSTAR 2019 conference which takes place in Prague, November 2019.