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Testing Personas to test software more efficiently

One of the major challenges in software development is testing. To ensure that the product delivered to the customer has quality and presents no errors, it is necessary to go through a battery of tests that can be monotonous and repetitive, but essential.

Testing the same application on multiple operating systems, browsers, and different resolutions is only half the work. In addition, you need to re-dedicate many hours to testing whenever a new release is released. A release might be software release or the release of updated versions of the previous one in order to improve the software or correct errors.

One technique that proves to be very effective in software testing is the definition of testing personas. Personas are profiles of fictitious users created to represent the different types of users who may use the product.

That is, the programmer puts himself in the role of the end user (or the various users) and uses the software as he would use it, in order to find bugs, navigability errors, etc.

The best way to define Testing Personas is to know the needs of the users of the product and how they will use the software, using user stories. User stories or are simple and short descriptions of a feature from the perspective of the person who will use it, usually the end user.

Personas should be viewed as an extension of product planning and, ideally, should be defined before completion of software requirements. Thus, the needs of different personas can be used in the definition of software requirements. Another excellent strategy is to talk to customers and identify the problems they have and want to see solved with this software.

It may seem irrelevant, but it is important to name personas as well as explain the roles they have in a real company.

Questions to ask when defining testing personas:

  • In what environment does he/she work (office, cubicle, on the street)?

  • What are the working hours?

  • What position does he/she hold in the company?

  • What responsibilities does he/she have?

  • What are his/her hobbies, daily activities?

  • What problems does he/she have in the workplace?

  • Other factors that affect how he/she works

The various personas should be used to test each of the software functionalities and the identified bugs, when reported, must be accompanied by the difficulties that the different personas felt due to this defect.

Here are some examples of generic Testing Personas that fit to almost all software:

Mario

Profile: 35 years old. Impatient, often does not focus on her task, completing activities very quickly.

Job: Doctor

Factors that affect how he works / problem spots:

  • Needs the app to make her work faster and more efficiently.

  • Uses shortcut keys

  • Fills in the minimum number of fields to get a result

  • Requires quick responses and does not like the app to take too long to respond

  • Is interrupted frequently to go to meetings



Pedro

Profile: 26 years old. Likes to investigate new features and areas of the app that are outside his essential performance spectrum for the accomplishment of his tasks. He is the first to adopt new processes.

Job: Developer

Factors that affect how he works / problem spots:

  • Investigates new features as they become available

  • Explores all possible paths of a workflow to determine what prefers

  • Accesses less popular areas of the app

  • Accesses the application of an unusual browser, operating system or device

Claire

Profile: 40 years old. Likes routine, always using the same workflows whenever interacts with the app, being careful to ensure that the information provided is complete.

Job: Company accountant

Factors that affect how she works / problem spots:

  • Uses the core features of the app

  • Completes all possible fields when entering information

  • Is detailed when asked to place additional comments

  • Is patient with long response times



These are just a few examples of generic personas that you can use to test a particular application or software, and the needs may vary according to the product function, type of company, work dynamics, persona permissions, among others. When testing, the developer must embody each of these people and the characteristics of their personality to ensure that the identified bugs are corrected and that the software is delivered to the client in the perfect conditions.

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