re: How to teach a non-tech person to test an app VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

Short list of other things I can think of:

  • Explain the reasoning behind testing responsiveness and how to test it properly, ideally using something that actually does it right as an example. This is an area where it's almost impossible to create bias, because whether it works or not is usually blatantly black and white. This is also an area that most people new to development work (especially if they have no web development experience) will not know a thing about, and are thus either not likely to test, or not likely to test right.
  • Explain how to explain what's wrong. In short, teach them how to write an at least passable bug report. Most people (even many experienced developers) don't know how to do this, and it will save you time later. An issue template is good here.
  • Don't tell them anything about the UI. Just tell them what the app is supposed to do. This avoids introducing bias regarding how the UI is 'supposed' to work, which can make it harder to determine if the UI actually makes sense or not for what you're trying to do.
  • Discourage them from looking through documentation. Normal users don't look at documentation in most cases, so your testers shouldn't either. This also helps make sure the app is intuitive, which is a good thing.
  • Ask them to focus on verifying that the app behaves as expected more than that it's appearance. Bugs in the core logic will have a much bigger negative impact on how your app is perceived than bugs in the UI unless those UI bugs are really big ones (and UI bugs that big should have been caught during alpha testing). This also makes it less likely that you get complaints about minor differences across browsers (for example, differences in the layout stemming from a different default font size in one browser).
  • If you can observe them the first time they are going through any given part of the app, do so. Their behavior can very easily indicate things that they themselves don't consciously notice. Maybe it takes them a moment to find a button that you thought was located in an obvious place, maybe they get slightly confused by the wording of a notification, maybe a control does more than they expected it to. All of this will usually show up in their behavior even if they don't consciously notice it, and most people won't mention this type of stuff even if they do notice it.
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