Isabel Evans

Independent quality and testing consultant Isabel Evans has more than thirty years of IT experience in the financial, communications, and software sectors. Her work focuses on quality management, software testing, and user experience (UX). A published author, popular speaker and storyteller at software conferences worldwide, Isabel is a Chartered IT Professional and Fellow of the British Computer Society, and received the 2017 EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award. In parallel with her consultancy and teaching in industry, Isabel Evans is studying part-time as a PhD student at the Department of Computer Information Systems, University of Malta, working with Dr Chris Porter and Dr Mark Micallef on research in human factors for Software Testing. Within that, her current research project is to examine human factors around test tools and the automation of testing, in particular, the UX of test tools for testers. Isabel was programme chair for the HUSTEF 2018 conference in Budapest, and is the programme chair for EuroSTAR 2019 conference which takes place in Prague, November 2019.

Devices and Desires: as humans how do we experience software?

We consume and still we desire more. More devices, more apps, more data, more bandwidth, moreconnectivity. The more we have, the more we want… We assume that to be true – those of us who work in the software industry. But is that true? To understand what is really required of our products, we need to design and test a pyramid of interlocking quality attributes, that build together to make an optimum experience for the people who use our products, matching their needs, and their desires. It is not enough to test functional suitability, performance, and reliability. People also require usability, accessibility, and safety. These profoundly affect the user experience (UX) which also considers trust, flow, and excitement. To test the UX, and so deliver a good experience for people, we first need to understand them. Isabel discusses why and how we can test and deliver better UX. She will look at the pressures from the business and government environment, the commercial imperatives, and the needs of society, along with the needs of the individual software user.

Język prezentacji (Presentation language): English
Poziom słuchaczy (attendee level): wszyscy (all)

Poniżej znajdziecie odpowiedzi do pytań zadanych w trakcie prezentacji Isabel Evans podczas test:fest 2019.
Pisownia oryginalna, pytania pobrane z programu sli.do.

Question Name Likes
But everyone expect from us that we are constantly online. How can we resist?

Answer: I am beginning to feel more and more strongly about this – that being constantly online and available, constantly interrupted is bad for our health and welfare. We should resist this – put down the phone, put away the tablet, and go to be with real people, or by yourself in the countryside or a garden. In the 19th century, people fought for better working hours and Robert Owen, the political campaigner for worker’s rights talked about 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest. That pattern is so broken now, that we are constantly distracted, we think we can multi-task, but actually end up doing lots of things badly. It is OK to say no.

Anonymous 7
About „my account”, „your account” issue. Should it teams hire some semantic expert to care about this things?

Answer: Yes – or try to learn more about these problems. There is help online from UX experts such as NNGroup and the Interaction Design Foundation have lots of information, and downloads, newsletters, which will help you to understand this and related areas.

Patryk 5
do you think software should be regulated more to cover „human edge cases”

I am increasingly thinking this is needed, especially if AI is being used to try and understand the customer. There are real issues of privacy, and what data we should collect and how we use it… A number of professional bodies – including an EU initiative – are looking at this. My worry is that we may make some wrong turnings if we don’t understand the issues, and don’t think diversity and inclusion. So cautiously yes… we have to do something, at least investigate the implications

Bart 4
where and would you ever draw a line? what kind of strategy would you suggest to cover/uncover all types of people that gonna work with your software?

There is a marketing aspect to this – for a product that is commercial, we might know we are focused on particular people, and therefore all our work will be focused on just those personas. If we have a software app or website that is being used by everyone potentially, for example a government website, then we do have to think about all the people who might use it or be affected. So, we might do a version 1 that is for a limited number of people, and a limited number of personas, to try an idea. Ten, if we want to expand who uses the product, for v2, we’d need to expand the personas too… So time and budget will restrict us. Within that, even within a short project, to have a couple of hours to brain storm “who else?” for diversity and inclusiveness is a good use of time and helps us think about whether need to do more.

Bart 3
what word would you propose as replacement for user given some software is consumed not by people but for instance other software

interesting isn’t it? We have sw to sw interfaces and embedded systems, as well as systems with obvious human-computer interfaces.  Even those sw to sw interfaces are used and manipulated by people (the developers for example) so in the end they are all human to human interfaces…  We could say customer, people, human, all would work rather than “user” – if you think about customer – supplier interfaces for example those could be people or software systems on either end of a transaction, and the customer and supplier roles could swap depending on what is beign done.

Bart 3
Its nice to build for everyone but how to accommodate budget big enough to support this?

Start small – trial this by just spending a short time identifying your main customers/personas. Then (see answer above) spend a short time thinking about “who else” and whether that matters for this release. Build it up over time, if you have limited budget. Ask key stake holders such as Sales and Marketing what personas are most important to them. They may already have marketing personas identified. Also, think about the “anti-persona” and “mal-cases” – so if you are looking at a security system, who wants to break in, and how do you stop them? as well as who is allowed in, and how do you identify them.

Anonymous 1
In case of diversing – shall we keep genders as ‘male’ ‘female’ ‘other’ ?

Think about inclusion as well as diversity. Think about whether you need the information at all. And give people the option not to answer. So if gender is essential information for you to collect, think about that some people definitely identify withi a gender, some don’t:

male, female, other, prefer not to say,

could be four useful options.

And if you have the opportunity to speak with customers, ask them what they prefer.

Anonymous 1
How to counter unethical trends in the UX e.g. when the UX designer RECOMMENDS to design an app in such a way that the user has a hard time to cancel an order?

This is tricky isn’t it? and I believe our ethical responsibilities as testers is growing with UX, AI, ML, Data mining and other trends… The discussion here is “what is more likely to make a repeat customer?”  – personally if I am given a hard time about changing my mind, I’m less likely to return to that site. So then, do we want to have customers for a one-off sale, but they are left dissatisfied with their experience? Or lose this sale, and gain another one later. So a “would you like to keep the contents of your shopping basket for another time?” could be a useful way to help people by allowing them to shop slowly, keep their list, but not feel forced into buying now, when they don’t want to make that decision.

Anonymous 1