Saturday, 12 March 2011

Testing your interactive products and services

Testing has become more sophisticated over the last few years as clients recognise the impact interactive products and services can have on their market segment. The breadth and number of tests has increased and although some of the processes have become automated (Watir and Selenium appear to be tools of choice), many more rely on targeted testing of their particular market. This places the emphasis on the front end product testing while the back end (software related tests) are still important since the functionality and reliability of the product drives the responses of the user tests.

Testing every stage of a new product or service is part of the quality process. In project management terms every extra test, over and above a standard set of tests offered by your company, should be costed and budgeted for each project. The importance of dedicated and skilled testers is reflected in the growth of jobs in this field and the increase in salaries they have enjoyed. Because testing has grown in complexity and specialist knowledge, it can command a premium for its skilled labour.

Look at the jobs available for web testing and the skills they seek at The Job Board.

You may need to take stock of the tests you offer as standard. What back-end (software related) testing do you carry out for each platform? What front-end tests do you offer as standard? What extra tests are you happy to manage? When would you bring in dedicated specialists?
To help, we offered 32 different types of test in our listing in Chapter 9 of our book, Managing Interactive Media: project management for web and digital media. But, you need to keep up with the changes.

Take a quick browse of what's on offer from a couple of specialist testing companies, Labspace and Test Partners, it should give you plenty to think about. We give you the links to a Quality list of tests and software functionality tests, but take a look at others they offer too.

User testing has burgeoned. You can even make money from it as test agents need to target certain market segments so they try to build up their online test pool. Know anyone who wants to earn an extra £20 an hour? See Cogapp.

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