What Does a Software Tester Do and Why Do You Need One in Your Team?

What Does a Software Tester Do and Why Do You Need One in Your Team?

If I’d get paid every time someone asks me to explain what software testers do, I’d be rich by now, and I’d lie by the swimming pool with a colorful drink in my hand.

Unfortunately, I often come across people who know that there’s such a job as a software tester but have no idea what it actually means.

What’s even more important, they don’t realize what are the benefits of having a software tester in the app development team. And these benefits have an essential impact on the budget, project timeline, and good image of the brand.

Who is a software tester?

No surprise here – as the name suggests, a software tester (in other words, a QA tester or a manual tester), checks the software that should be developed according to project guidelines.

Tester’s most important goal is to find the errors made during the coding process – the sooner it happens, the better. This involves also the potential errors that may turn out to be critical in the final stage.

What makes a good QA tester? Inquisitiveness is important but so is the attachment to detail. This is because QA specialists take a closer look at the elements most people don’t notice, even though they may play a key role, in the end.

Software testing and the matter of UX

IT projects aren’t only about the features and the code. The user’s perspective is important, too. You have to make sure that people will understand how the software works. The design should also encourage them to use the product.

With that in mind,  QA testers can’t limit themselves merely to calling out functional bugs. Apart from that, they need to take a closer look at the errors concerning the UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience). This allows testers to check the software’s quality from different angles.

UI and UX

What kind of problems with the UX and UI design manual testers often spot? Too many pop-up windows, images covering the text, complicated navigation, headlines with unclear purpose, or views created not according to the project – these are just some examples of the most common problems.

3 factors important in business that benefit from QA tests

If you think about software development, you should get familiar with the benefits that cooperation with a manual tester can give you. You can divide them into 3 main areas.

Budget – when the project is meticulously thought through, you need less budget for its development. A big number of tests conducted before the product release also decreases the cost of the possible fixes.

Time – if the features have been tested, the risk of errors gets smaller. This prevents postponing the deadline of the project. Moreover, the reproduction of errors and testing the bugs that were caused by the diversity of the systems speed up the fixing process.

Brand image – satisfied users are the sign of the project’s success. All in all, we build products for them. Tester is also some kind of a user, so if he or she can’t find the bugs, the risk that they’ll eventually show up is significantly decreased. Tests directly impact better brand perception, so user reviews more often happen to be positive.

qa benefits

What does a software tester do that turns into the benefits for the business?

Depending on the kind of project, the tester’s responsibilities may differ. Anyway, in the case of web and mobile app development, I can still show you some standard actions the QA team performs that directly impact the success of the enterprise.

Tasks Early analysis that allows QA testers to detect the potential problems; cooperation with software developers and fixing the bugs on the regular basis.

Benefits Lower risk of postponing the deadline and smaller budget needed for the potential changes.

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Task Tests of the app during the implementation of features.

Benefits Immediate detection of the potential bugs that enables making quick corrections.

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Task Testing the apps before the update release.

Benefits If there are fewer bugs in the app, this makes users more eager to share good reviews that build a better image of the brand.

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Task Software analysis focused on the user experience (UX).

Benefits The app encourages people to use it and they are more likely to recommend the product to their friends.

 

I can go on like this forever, but the results are always the same – the business owner only profits from conducting different kinds of software tests. QA specialists make sure the app development process goes smoothly, fixes aren’t expensive, and the product meets the requirements of both the client and users.

Lower risk with software testing

The cooperation with a software tester decreases the risk that the final date of the release will be delayed. There are several reasons that make it possible:

  1. Based on the analyzed features, QA specialists create a test scenario with test cases described in detail. This way they can foresee most actions performed by users.
  2. Feature analysis is often based on the tester’s own experience and participation in similar projects. It allows him or her to identify the risks with a significant probability.
  3. Tests are being conducted after every stage of the project. It enables testers to quickly find potential errors.
  4. Tester checks how the elements of the app work after the software developer finishes fixing the bugs.
  5. Additionally, testers check the entire software before it goes into the production enviroment.
  6. QA also deals with the reproduction of the bugs reported by users who spotted them during the exploitation of the software. The diversity of the systems is the main cause of their appearance.

All these QA activities make the work on the project go more effectively, and it takes less time for the team to complete particular stages. It also decreases the overall cost of app development.

The meaning of software testing – how it works in practice?

For a better understanding, how important Quality Assurance testing is, I will use an example of the bug that shows up when there are no software testers in the project from its very beginning.

Description of the situation

UI designer along with the product owner decided that the top of the website will have a lot of elements, such as:

  • a logo,
  • page titles with icons,
  • a search bar,
  • user account icon with first and last name.

Such a solution looks nice, so the client’s team approved it, and the main page along with some other pages were already implemented.

UI example

The top of the website – version for desktops.

What’s the problem?

No one was considering whether the website will be supported on mobile devices. Unfortunately, the product owner has never asked about it.

The result

On the tablets, the website looks quite good, but it’s not like that on smartphones – titles are too long, and there are too many icons, so developers need to change a big part of the code. As a result, the project consumes more time and money for fixes.

For this very reason, before starting off with the development, you should always ask about the resolution, so the website could be implemented as intended.

The solution

If the manual tester could take part in a project from the beginning, he or she would ask about the support for mobile devices. Then, the entire team would know that the content most likely won’t fit into the screens with a smaller resolution. As a result, the problem would not appear and the business would save money and time.

The earlier you engage QA testers, the better

Every change made during the development stage moves the project deadline away. Why? Software engineer needs to add the elements that weren’t included in a plan from the beginning. This means additional working hours and money for completing the tasks.

Unplanned editions are not the only reason that causes financial losses and delays. New changes in the design are also a common problem that involves presenting new guidelines to everyone who works on a project.

When the entire team, including QA testers, takes part in the project from the day one, its analysis is more detailed. This way, there’s a high probability that you can exclude the changes on the development stage.

The aspect of engaging tester in the earliest phase of the project is often described in the literature about software testing. It’s a popular topic in Adam Roman’s books who has written a lot of publications concerning the tester’s profession.

Workshops for a good start

You want the cooperation with a Quality Assurance tester to work out? I recommend organizing a workshop with the entire development team. During the session, participants present the plan for the project and talk about the features that software should have. This allows every team member to analyze all the aspects of the project in terms of their own specializations before the work starts.

At this stage, tester usually detects the potential projects immediately, so it’s possible to add new acceptance criteria. It can also help UI designers create a  more detailed concept of the project.

When taking part in a workshop, the tester often notices the potential errors that the rest of the team usually doesn’t think about. It shortens the time of the development and helps to avoid bugs that cause financial loss and may negatively impact the brand’s image.

QA and UI

QA tester needed immediately

If the team is incomplete and some areas don’t get enough attention, this could jeopardize the success of the project. That’s why it should be important to everyone who wants the app to work flawlessly, to have a manual tester in the team.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that software tests are an important part of all our projects. So, if you plan the development of your product and you want to limit the risk of errors, drop us a line. We will help you build solutions that work smoothly and give users a positive experience.

Maciej QA

Maciej Mikołajek

QA Specialist with over 4 years of experience in software testing. Even after work, Maciej has a keen eye for detail and pays attention to the apps’ quality – no bug can feel safe when he’s around. Fan of extreme sports. Given a chance, he’s skydiving or paragliding.

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