Looking to carry out UX testing throughout the development life cycle of your software application? We are here to help! This article focuses on five key testing levels you should keep in mind when developing your product. After reading, you will get a better idea of how to carry out testing throughout the software development life cycle with respect to user experience.
What is SDLC?
Before we move any further, it is important to first cover the basics. The software development life cycle (SDLC) refers to the process of planning, creating, testing, and deploying a software product. To put it simply, SDLC is everything you do in the software development process, from planning to delivering the end product to customers.
Typically, the software development cycle consists of six stages: planning, analysis, design, implementation, integration, and maintenance. All of these steps are important because they help to maintain a secure environment that supports your business needs. The SDLC framework is made up of procedures, policies, and safety standards that ensure a secure software development process.
Things to keep in mind when conducting testing throughout SDLC
When conducting testing throughout the development cycle, there are different testing levels to keep in mind. The framework of five testing levels is suitable for activities that start in parallel with each phase of the software lifecycle. By conducting multiple UX tests throughout SDLC, your team will have enough opportunities to understand challenges and raise questions and issues on time.
It should be noted that today many frameworks offer automated testings which simplifies the testing process and obviously reduce the time of testing. Implementing automated testing into the software development life cycle will decrease the chances of errors and bugs which will be unavoidable while testing manually. Automating your testing allows you to do more tests, making them faster, and more efficient. You can use automated testing for the repeatable and critical tests by scheduling them to run regularly. Few types of testing still need to be done manually like the ones that are constantly changing, one-off tests, etc.
What is UX testing?
User experience (UX) testing refers to the process of testing different aspects of user experience to identify the best way for software and its elements to interact with the audience.
UX testing is paramount throughout the software development life cycle. It allows you to make more customer-oriented and customer-friendly decisions that will majorly impact the overall user experience.
Now, as you have covered the basics, let’s dive deeper into UX testing throughout the development life cycle.
1. Unit testing
Unit testing is a testing method where the individual units and components of the software are tested. The main objective of unit testing is to test the smallest testable parts of software, like classes, interfaces, and procedures to ensure the quality and value they deliver.
When conducted properly, unit testing can enable the following benefits:
- Better code maintenance and reusability
- Faster code development
- Defect fixing during unit testing is cheaper than at the higher levels
- Debugging is easier during the unit testing stage
So, how do you conduct unit testing? To help you get started, here are some unit testing tips and practices to follow:
- Create a unit test plan
- Find a dedicated tool for the language you are using
- When creating test cases, focus on areas that impact the system behavior the most
- Modify a test that exposes the defect before fixing the defect
- Make sure to isolate the development environment from your testing environment
- Better user experience due to improved functionality of separate units
Professionals from Preply emphasize that it is important to conduct unit testing during the coding stage of the software development life cycle and before the integration testing phase. This way, you can ensure the proper functioning of separate units and ultimately improve UX.
2. Integration testing
Integration testing is paramount to ensure the delivery of the best UX. By testing the communication between separate units, you can make sure all components work well together. This will safeguard user experiences and users’ ability to transit between components comfortably.
Integration testing can be split into two levels: component integration testing and system integration testing. Unlike component integration, systematic integration strategies are usually based on the system architecture.
Here is a list of typical test objectives for integration testing:
- Database implementation
- System configuration and configuration data
Once you know what requires testing, it is important to make sure you have a strong software configuration management system employed.
Also, ensure that each unit has been tested separately during unit testing. Only then, you can start integration testing.
3. System testing
System testing should be carried out after the design stage of your software. The test environment should match the final target or production environment to minimize the chance of environment-specific failure.
Here is a list of test basis tools you need for system testing:
- Risk analysis report
- System and software requirements specifications
- Use cases
- Functional specification
By carrying out system testing, you can ensure the application complies with all requirements. If you hesitate about your results, you might need a software development consulting to double check your system. This will positively affect user experiences because all software components will correspond to their expectations and needs.
4. Acceptance testing
After you make sure that your software functions well and meets all SRS regulations, the next testing method you should conduct is acceptance testing. Acceptance testing is usually carried out to establish the confidence in the system, parts of the system, or specific non-functional characteristics of the system.
Acceptance testing is carried out during the implementation stage of the development lifecycle. The typical forms of acceptance testing include the following:
- Contract and regulations acceptance testing
- User acceptance testing
- Operational acceptance testing
Usability testing is an essential part of acceptance testing. It is a technique used to evaluate the software by testing it on real users.
Here are some UI and UX tips worth considering when testing your software:
- Ensure all forms are one column and vertical rather than multiple columns and horizontal
- Align all labels to appear on top of forms
- Group labels to display with their inputs
- Avoid using all capitalized letters because they are hard to read and scan through
- Make your call-to-actions (CTAs) descriptive
5. Maintenance testing
Once you launch your software product and it runs for some time, you should constantly upgrade it. This is called maintenance testing. It is testing during the enhancement stage or migration cycle of an already deployed software application.
Maintenance testing is important because the software’s configuration data and environment are often corrected, changed, or extended while it is in service for a long time period. These corrections and changes are called triggers and they can be classified as follows:
- Planned enhancements
- Corrective and emergency changes
- Changes of the operational environment, like a planned operating system or database upgrades
- Updates of COTS software
- Patches for defects and vulnerabilities
Before you make any changes during the maintenance testing, it is useful to carry out impact analysis. This will help you decide whether or not the change is required based on potential consequences in other areas of the system.
The bottom line
Testing throughout the software development life cycle will help you detect irregularities between units and bugs early on. It includes five levels you should keep in mind when developing and deploying your software. Each level has its own goals and objectives you should consider, and requires you to focus on user experiences.
Now, as you have learned more about testing throughout the software development life cycle, it is time to move from theory to practice and start testing your software!