Testing is like sex

If it’s not fun you’re doing it wrong!

A big and bold claim at Metro Screen’s Metro Apps Lab recently.  We heard from Anne-Marie Charrett from Testing Times, who set a task to test an existing app (coin flipping) in the app store. First of all we picked up the variations in the naming convention  between the free and paid version – and numerous other mistakes  as well as a fundamental bug (when restarting the app).  And disappointinly, there was a different experience between the iPhone and Android version (on the Samsung Galaxy). The group identified over 20 issues in 20 minutes.

Is testing important?

Yes. I recently met with a digital agency who had 10 people testing web, mobile etc. By involving testers at every stage,  there  are minimal problems at the end of the project, significantly saving time and costs of last minute changes etc. Even the UAT process is short and uneventful.

Generating revenue for your app depends on delivering a complete and satisfying experience to the consumer. Satisfaction guarantees repeat business and recommendations. If you lose the customer at any of the friction points, then you lose them (and their revenue) forever.

Can you (as the developer/designer) be trusted?

The answer is clearly no, says Catherine Karena, co-presenter at the Metro Apps Lab.

As a tester you are assessing the customer’s experience and how they interact with each part of the process  – downloading, installation, use, sharing with friends etc. As she explains here, for this process to be of value, an independent person is needed, far removed from the creation of the app. Some of the essentials questions covered during the process are:

  • At what point do they lose me as a user?
  • What are the touch-points for a good user experience that should be here, but aren’t?
  • What do I think about the usability of the game?
  • Do I feel like buying it? If so, at what point was that?

Helpfully Catherine has developed a simple questionnaire as follows:

Testing – short questionnaire


Catherine is building the skill set and training of testers, developing the curriculum at UTS, so if you’re interested, she can provide students under supervision to test your app.  

For more:

  • Anne-Marie Charrett @charrett
  • Catherine Karena @cakarena
  • The great mind map on mobile testing comes from Ministry of Testing
  • Original quote on testing is like sex came from @jamesmarcusbach

The take out is to test early and test often. And that testing is fun.

About Claudia Sagripanti

Involved in the evolution of mobile marketing and advertising from the early years, including co-founding Mobile Marketing and Advertising Awards, founding chair of AIMIA's Mobile Industry Group, development of mobile advertising guidelines for industry as well as commercialisation strategy.