In succession to virtual reality and wearable computing, augmented reality has definitely been gaining a lot of momentum and visibility in recent years. It still has a long way to go to establish itself as a mature technology, but the quality of augmented reality applications has certainly been improving, which is helping the technology gain positive visibility.
Augmented reality (AR) testing is a challenging ground for testers with ample new opportunities. One may not always be able to test for them in a closed lab environment. A lot of in field testing is also going to be needed along the way. For example, DHL recently conducted a pilot test at its warehouse to use AR for its warehouse logistics around stock handling. Similarly, retail outlets that use AR will also need in-store testing to be done. However, this may not always be feasible and cost effective, given that apps are leveraged across the globe. Imagine an app that is being developed and tested in India for consumption in a US retail chain. This situation has to improve, where testability of augmented reality applications is also paid attention to – whether this be through online catalogue of products that are available or pseudo test beds where they can be tested on, only when this happens can testers reliably sign off on AR applications. The good thing here is that off-late, dev-test is a very collaborative effort. Testers are involved right from the design phase itself, closely working with business teams, designers and developers. Herein, it is important for testers to keep in mind from the early stages as to whether the AR app is going to be testable. Frameworks, tools etc. should be thought through right at those early stages, to improve the test coverage along the way. AR is also a great place for TDD (test driven development) to be taken up. This not only ensures the requirements and expectations are built in, but also enhances the chances of testability. Also, as mentioned in one of the earlier blogs in this website, AR should also be leveraged to make testers more productive in areas such as test result and defect logging.
Ultimately, regardless of the time and cost constraints, stringent checks and balances are important to vet AR applications before they reach the marketplace, as given the power and potential AR can easily be used for unwarranted and anti-social uses too. This is where the app store has to bring in adequate approval measures and as end users we should also report any such untoward use of AR that we see in practice.