Why Companies Need to Stop Ignoring Testers

(This post originally appeared on the uTest Blog)

Everyone wanted to know what Apple was going to say at their big press conference. Would the iPhone 4 bugs prompt them to issue a recall? Would they send users a plastic case that supposedly solves the reception problems (yes)? Would they try to fix the defects with a software patch? Would they say they’re sorry and that this will never happen again? Would they tell NY Senator Chuck Schumer to suck an egg?

Here’s one thing they didn’t say (but should have): “We should have listened to our testers!”

One of the biggest pet peeves among testers and engineers (or anyone in involved in quality assurance of technology) is not being taken seriously when a serious issue is uncovered. For most companies, it’s generally a cross-site scripting vulnerability, an SQL injection or a browser compatibility flaw in the UI. For the iPhone 4, it was an antenna issue. As it turns out, many top executives – including Steve Jobs himself – were repeatedly warned about about the “death grip” well in advance of the product’s release. These warnings from respected internal resources were either ignored or not taken seriously. They should have listened to their testers.

But what should testers do when they find themselves in this situation? According to Bill Ricardi, they should report the bug and move on. A member of the uTest community, Bill gave his advice on this matter as part of our Guest Blogger series, writing:

You won’t always see eye to eye with the client. What you consider a critical bug, they might see as a non-issue (or worse, a ‘feature’). What you call a major security flaw, they might consider such a remote possibility that it doesn’t even deserve a mention.

You might ask how you bridge such a gap between your level of testing and the client’s level of acceptance and understanding of product integrity and the testing process in general. The answer is simple:

You don’t.

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The Futurama of Mobile Applications

Okay, so your humble editor is a huge fan of Futurama and couldn’t be happier knowing the crew is back for another season – but what’s that got to do with mobile application testing?

Glad you asked. On July 1st, 3010 2010, episode three of the new season – “Attack of the Killer App” – will deal with the future of the iPhone and other popular earth technology. Here’s the synopsis from theinfosphere.org:

“The story will deal with the future of technology such as iPhones and Twitter, with Mom controlling Twitter. Also, Fry posts an embarrassing video of Leela online. Also, somehow, a two-headed goat that throws up one end and exudes diarrhea on the other end gets involved in the story. There is some kind of contest, in which Mom controls Twitter and Bender hacks Facebook to control it. Fry and Leela take votes from citizens, asking who they think will win. Also, the crew goes to a planet that is a waste dump to eliminate e-waste. The children of the planet strip the ship and Bender for waste. Soon the crew discover that children do all of the work on the planet, except for whipping the children.”

You see? What could be more relevant to our daily mobile testing discussions?

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Apple vs. Flash: What It Means For Mobile App Testing

“The future is bright for Flash,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “I hope it sticks around for decades to come. I really respect those guys over at Adobe.”

Kidding, kidding. According to this recent Wired story, what he really said was that Flash will KILL the mobile web if left to its own devices (no pun intended).

(UPDATE: Apple Facing Antitrust Inquiry Over Flash-to-iPhone Complier Ban?)

We’ve covered this before, and Stanton Champion wrote an excellent contrarian piece on this subject titled 5 Reasons Flash Is Here To Stay, but these latest developments highlight a new level of animosity that we just couldn’t resist. That, plus it has some major mobile testing implications. Here’s a telling excerpt from the Wired piece:

But the new public remarks echo some he made in private at a recent Apple Town Hall meeting where he disparaged Adobe as “lazy.” Now the Apple CEO says he has many technical and philosophical problems with Flash — six, to be precise — which would appear to make their differences irreconcilable.

“Flash was created during the PC era — for PCs and mice,” Jobs writes. “Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low-power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards — all areas where Flash falls short.”

Here is Steve Job’s entire blog post, where he discusses mobile usability, video formatting, mobile security and other topics near and dear to today’s mobile testers.

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