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Homo tapiens: think like a criminal

Not paying attention to graphics, I quickly filled in graphs of the app I had to test. I did it roughly and inattentively. Doing it this way allowed me to discover a major bug; a paid medical app was allowing clients’ consultants free of charge.
10 March 2015
Mobile app testing
Usability testing
The article by Nadya Knysh
Head of US Office

The article by Nadia Knysh was published on RCR Wireless News. Read the full version here.

Think like a criminal

One day, my friend “lost” money in her own apartment. She couldn’t find it anywhere, so she asked me where I would search for money if I were a criminal who had broken into her apartment. She figured thinking like a criminal would help us think to check places we may not have otherwise considered. This approach stuck with me. I decided to follow it every time I test a new application.

For instance, when testing an app for purchasing medical services, I thought of my grandma. She is so nimble and able to do several things at a time, and she does them fast. She can text and bake an apple pie simultaneously, but that doesn’t always mean she’s giving each activity her full attention. Thinking of my grandma doing those things, I did the same with the app. Not paying attention to graphics, I quickly filled in graphs of the app I had to test. I did it roughly and inattentively. Doing it this way allowed me to discover a major bug; a paid medical app was allowing clients’ consultants free of charge.

When testing a voice-surfing app, I pretended to be a teenager who always listens to music on his smartphone. It was a challenging task, but it helped me find bugs.

Usability is key

There is no doubt such tests as security and performance are extremely important, but I’ve found usability to be the top priority. Even when a tester doesn’t have a direct task to improve usability, he should always keep that in mind; usability-thinking is something that should penetrate every test. When you help make an app intuitive, everyone benefits. When you have a great performance app but it takes a user a couple of hours to cope with its settings to reach the stated performance, it’s a failure.

Thinking “like criminals” and finding as many bugs as possible, applications are being improved every day to make them more usable. This is how we not only push civilization ahead, but also maintain peace and calmness among the new generation of Homo tapiens.

If you missed the first part of the article, read it here.

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