Experience Products the way Customers would during Testing

2 minute read

Abigail works with a company that is building an awesome navigation app. They claim that their app shows the best routes from source to destination location - they show the shortest and fastest routes.

They also claim that the routes shown on their app are better than the routes shown on competitor apps. They ran some scripts to compare the routes on their app with the routes on competitor apps, and the numbers said it all. The routes on their app were way better!

They were excited about launching their product to the market.

Soon after they launched, they had quite a few early adopters. It was not surprising to them, but they were still happy about it.

However, soon later, they started seeing a decline in the number of users. “Why would that be the case?”, they wondered.

They also noticed that some users had left angry reviews on Play Store and App Store. The review comments by the users said, “This is the worst navigation app I’ve ever used. The routes are completely useless”.

The team members were shocked, “We show the users the shortest, fastest routes. That has to be good for them. What are they complaining about?”

To understand the reason for this, the team members try to contact some of these users who had left angry reviews. However, they do not hear back from the users. “The users probably do not waste their time talking to us”, they think.

To get a little insight into this, Abigail decides that she will drive around the city with the app. She drives around the city for sometime, and the navigation works just fine. Just as she thinks that there doesn’t seem to be anything significantly wrong with the app, she misses a left turn.

Abigail is driving on the left-most lane in a country which has traffic moving on the left side of the road. When she misses the left turn, the app suggests a new route. It tells her to cut across five lanes and make a u-turn in the next 50 meters.
She looks at her side and rear view mirrors and thinks, “Nope! I am not going to make it”.
So now, she misses the u-turn.

Then the app shows another route - again a route that she cannot take. This happens over and over again.
This is when she realises what the users were complaining about.

Now, there may be a few takeaways from this exaggerated, fictional story. There is one point worth mentioning explicitly. Our apps might work exactly as the requirements say but that might not necessarily fulfil the needs of the users. That might not give users a great experience.
We as testers should try to experience our products in the way that our end users would experience them. We should think beyond just the requirements and specifications.

Thanks to The Test Chat for providing me a platform to convey this message in the form of a video.

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