I had a bit of fun
Recently I tested a new app in progress that was far from done and one of the developers gave it to me in a very early stage. I enjoyed that testing so much and was so surprised about the amount of the outcome compared to how few functionailty there was that I thought it might inspire other testers.
Here is what the developer gave me:
It was an iOS app for both the iPhone and the iPad. On the iPad only landscape was allowed. The app had one single working menu item. In it there was a picker for groups. Each group was represented by an icon and the group picker was scrollable. The group picker could be expanded/compressed to more columns/rows by using two fingers.
Each group consisted of many pictures that had a headline, a date and time, an availability and a description. When the iPhone was in portrait mode, the picture, the headline and date and time would be visible; but the description and availability were not represented. You could scroll through the different pictures but not interact (yet) with them. On top of that in landscape orientation on both the iPad and iPhone, longer descriptions containing all the information for one picture were scrollable.
Here are a couple of wireframes that are showing clear enough what the app contained so far:
I didn't expect much when I started testing. I mean, this thing was still so small, what could possibly be in there apart from maybe a crash when interacting with it or some wrong data? But this is not how it went.
I started to analyze the app to determine what I wanted to test and noted down the different moving pieces and other ideas as test areas:
Ok, that was already more than I expected. So far so good. But let's see if any one of them was interesting at all. However, before I went into the different nodes of my mindmap, I took a couple of minutes to try stuff out. I noted down what came across my eyeballs when starting to explore the app until I felt familiar with all the features and functionality.
Oh, by the way, I have not told you the intention of the app and what users should be able to do with it. Frankly, you want to know what the user can achieve. This is the most important area of testing. Rather, in this instance, I was looking for anything that catches my eye. My context was finding out what questions I stumble over while trying to use all the existant moving parts.
After a good 20 minutes of moving around in the app I had some notes on all the eight test areas that I began with and did not come across anything that I couldn't fit in the headlines. Sometimes you'll end up with more test areas after the first exploration. This time I did not. Unfortunately I did not version my mind maps to compare what I discovered on my intial scan of the app versus what was discovered on subsequent iterations.
I continued with another session where I took the innermost branches of my map to guide my testing. I focused on one at a time and dug deeper. After a break to empty my mind, I did the same thing again and ended up with a mind map that was bigger than I had expected:
Even such a small part of the app was able to trigger my reactions dozens of times. I was thinking about creating a mind map with all the test ideas that I went through but I have to admit that I am too lazy to do such a huge thing. I went through so much in just about an hour that it would take me several hours to write down all the thoughts I had.
In the end this little experience in testing showed me how much there is to test. Only two or three runthroughs gave me a feeling of where we are and how many questions the team did not think of yet.