Posts in Experience Report
Notebook excerpts
Some time ago I met with another tester here in Indy to provide advice on performance testing. A while ago I published some articles on the notes from that meeting, and a couple months ago I published some scans of my notes from the discussion.

I don't see many examples of notes, so I thought I'd link to them here as well:

  • The first page was an interactive attempt to understand the problem.

  • The second page was an attempt to understand the goals of the performance testing.

  • The third page was an attempt to document the initial usage model.

  • The fourth page was an attempt to illustrate how I would approach organizing my work and how to present results to the various stakeholders.

  • The fifth page was a description of a performance degradation curve and how to use it.

Building an F-150
I went to Ford Motor Company's website today to build and price an F-150. While I was there I found numerous issues with their site, including errors for links with no valid destination and a rather annoying Web 2.0 app that I had to close and restart no fewer than three times to get to a completed F-150. For whatever reason, it stopped accepting inputs three different times. There was also an issue with a gigantic cursor blinking on the left-side of the screen and some fields that disappears and reappeared randomly. And if you tried to navigate using your browser's history, you'd get some interesting partially-loaded pages with error messages and you'd never get redirected to a page where the app would try to reload.

While I was doing this testing, I tried to discern a lesson or two for the QuickTestingTips audience. I couldn't. I wasn't trying to test. I was trying to build a truck. The software just didn't work . It wasn't even close to working. If I were Ford, I would be embarrassed. I'm pricing a $40,000 item, and I can't even use the online tool you provide me to learn about the product and it's options!

After I finally got my truck built and submitted to the dealer for pricing, I got a couple of follow up emails confirming the submission. That was about the only thing that went well with my experience. As I reflected on if there were possible testing lessons I could draw from this experience, I came up with nothing. The interface had so many problems it didn't even occur to me to test for possible issues. If I were a tester, I would have spent the entire day just writing up the issues I saw while doing (what I hope is) the happy path.

After building the F-150, I switched over to Toyota's site and built a Tundra. I had a price on the truck I wanted in about five minutes. For $20,000 to $40,000 a truck, you'd think Ford would take some time to get something so simple as an online options builder correct. As for me, I still need to think of today's tip, and I'm no closer to an idea. Perhaps I'll go test a Google app... those always give me interesting ideas. (That's because they don't crash as soon as I start using them.)