A technical tip all testers should know

A Ministry of Testing Club post suggested we pen some thoughts around the topic title above.  In addition, it encourages us to blog for the first time or to start again.

 

Technical Tip: Never Believe What You See on the Screen

Your user interface will, occasionally, lie to you.  You can’t trust it.  The information you see on your screen will suffer from staleness, subtle misspellings, misplacement, absence, and other challenges that infect the journey of data from where it originates to where it’s displayed.

Staleness
You enter data, run the transaction, and the result is 14.02.  You enter different data, run the transaction again, and the result is 14.02.  It’s probably a defect.  Verify the result at its source!  Maybe the database was not updated, or maybe the code that moves the result from memory to the screen didn’t execute or executed incorrectly.  Collaborate with your developer to find the answer!

Subtle Missppellings
Many times the text that appears on the screen was copied from requirements.  Who cares if the requirements are spelled wrong?  You can’t beleive how often this happens but often enough that I check the spelling of text destined for screen when it appears in the requirements.  When you find spelling errors in requirements, request to have them corrected and prevent this very annoying defect!  By the way, did you find both spelling errors in this paragraph?

Misplacement
When a paragraph or image appears in an odd place on the page, it’s easy to see.  When the placement is off by a few pixels, it’s much more challenging.  While a small difference might impact the page by moving text or other images, page construction can be complex.  I recommend having both a sample of the page from your User Experience designers and the page constructed by the program available on your machine.  Move back and forth between the two using Alt-Tab to look for those subtle differences.

Absence
You complete the transaction and expect to see your result on the page.  Instead, you see nothing.  The developer checks the code and verifies that it should appear.  It’s possible that your result has been placed in a position located off the screen.  The program is only too happy to place your text past the edge of your screen – after all the position is just a number to the computer.  It knows nothing of screen size or boundaries.  This is especially true when positions are calculated and absolute.  You might use the developer tools to verify the text is a part of the page, and then collaborate with your developer to experiment with positioning.

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