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Emotions and Testing – Emotional Testing?

  • 01/10/2010
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR
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Develop an EXPERIENCE, not a mindless tool

After reading Vesna Leonard’s blog post titled – ‘You are NOT like any other QA or tester I’ve ever met‘, one statement stood out:

You are NOT developing software…a mindless tool….you are developing an EXPERIENCE that lives and breathes with its users.

The statement sums up the essence of the post and how as a tester, she cares for the stakeholders more than the process.

I’d say: ‘We are surrounded by software.’ Most of us use it for majority of our daily activities and our moods seem to fluctuate based on the response from these softwares. So, do we test for emotions?
The term ‘Emotional Testing‘ came to my mind.
Can ‘Emotional Testing’ be termed as a test technique?
Is it part of ‘Usability Testing’?
Wikipedia suggested that one of the goals of Usability Testing is ‘Emotions’ and ‘Performance’, ‘Accuracy’ and ‘Recall’ are the other three goals.
Michael Bolton’s  lightning talk on ‘Emotions and Oracles’ highlights the very essence of user experience. Users experience software, they do not have scripts to follow. They don’t have user manual in one hand and operate the software with another. He also pointed me to one of his excellent articles – ‘ Is There A Problem Here?‘ He takes us through the list of emotions he experienced when he used the software to book a flight.
How many times have we experienced amusement, frustration, confusion, caution, illusion, anger? How many times have you cursed the software? How many times were you surprised at what you saw on screen?
Should we test software for these emotions? Ben Simo’s FAILURE mnemonic also has ‘Emotion’ as one of the points to consider while we evaluate error messages. So, while we evaluate emotional state of a person while the software is being used, should we also consider the emotional state of the tester?
As a tester do you give importance to your emotions?
Do you stop and pay attention to your emotional state or continue with your tests?
Do you make a note of the features which *surprise*annoy*frustrate*embarrass*please*offend* you?
Finally, I’d like to end this post with a question:
How much value would we add if emotions were given their due importance?

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