Familiarity. We expect the system to be inconsistent with patterns of familiar problems.
Do you have a go-to when you’re testing a new build or product? I’m guessing you probably do.
Annual iterations of sports sims in computer games is a great example of this.
I had the pleasure of testing some of the F1 series, while working at Codemasters, and the first thing I would look for and consequently bug was a really simple issue, an edge case if you will.
Each driver within the game has a stats page, within this page was the term ‘Grand Prix’ with the number of races in Formula 1 that said driver had participated listed. The problem I had is that ‘Grand Prix’ is singular and its plural in French is ‘Grands Prix’.
This might have been pretty pedantic of me, but as a user it bothered me. Not least because each year, the response was that it was deemed acceptable in English to not pluralise Grand Prix.
The good news story is that eventually the stats page replaced ‘Grand Prix’ with ‘Races’…….I know you were all super worried.
We ran our first test mob here back in February (see One thing I can tell you is you got to be free…..), it was not only exciting to work together, as testers (we work in four separate teams), but it was a real opportunity to see how we all work, what areas of code we are drawn to, where we all have different areas of expertise.
We have testers drawn to UX and testers drawn to UI (recommended further reading here).
Thank goodness we don’t all operate in the same way. I don’t think I’d like working with lots of versions of myself.
This led me to think more about my own approach to testing, where I’m comfortable (perhaps too comfortable?) and what can I learn from my colleagues.
In truth, testers love learning all the time, picking up new knowledge and skills comes with the job, and while shiny and new is important, the familiar and comfortable can often be our bread and butter.
I find more pleasure in an old bugbear in software’s disappearance, than I probably should. But, when we aim for our software to continuously improve iteration on iteration, isn’t it great when that happens, to feel that reassurance?
Blog post title lyrics from: Familiar faces – by Incubus.
Find all the songs from my blog posts at this Spotify playlist.