It is a well-accepted belief in software testing that testers’ who simulate end user experiences in their test environment bring in a lot more value to the overall test effort than the ones who merely execute test cases. This belief has also been proven true by several stories of successful testers, acting as end user representatives on their teams. While this is not something new to testers where we all know this is an important trait to make a difference in what we do, it most often remains a valuable lesson that is merely preached. It does not hit reality too often, with testers lacking practice grounds where they can actually be real end users in what they do. Granted, the tester cannot pass the buck for not doing this and has to proactively see what he can do to step into the user’s shoes – however, the responsibility does not lie solely with the tester. The circumstances he works in, also makes a huge difference on whether or not he will truly be able to bring in the end user impact during the testing cycles.
Let’s say for instance, you are a firmware tester, the chances you will be able to test this firmware in a true E2E user environment are fairly lower than say, when you are a game tester. This is where the whole idea of mobile and wearable testing comes into play. When mobile apps came into picture, testers came in closer proximity with their end user base, because testers like end users were also users of mobile devices. Since an app testing is not necessarily pure play app testing, but has a lot to do with the core device as well, testers were given a more conducive environment to mimic end users in their test efforts. While mobile app testing gave the tester a lot more opportunity to be a true end user, it still had some cushion for in house testing and even emulator/simulator based testing. This scenario is fast changing in the world of wearables.
Testing wearables apps will force testers to increasingly become end users – field testing, trying the wearable device in a real world scenario, testing it outside the lab etc. will all become inevitable. This does not mean that wearables cannot be tested in-house. The coverage the tester will be able to accomplish in a lab will be very limited, forcing him to try more realistic end user scenarios. For example, to test a fitness app, the tester will have to realistically try some exercises, routines that the end user would put the app through. Again, this does not mean, the tester completely becomes the end user. There is a new market potential here, where simulators for wearable apps will also soon enter the mainstream market, but testers will be forced to become end users more than ever before in this business of wearables app testing.