Posts in Test Oracles
Stories about users
Not to be confused with user stories, stories about users can help testers develop an understanding of what users of the software they're testing will value. In a recent IWST, Brett Leonard shared his experience of using stories of users to help develop empathy for when he's doing his exploratory testing:
"Our knowledge of stories of users is key to understanding how people derive value from our applications. [...] Stories of users make up the narrative of an application."

By having (and using) stories of users, Brett is able to better focus on value to the end user when he's doing his testing. Value for Brett, not only means more actionable bugs, but also means more focused test ideas.

During his talk, I was reminded of Atomic Object's announcement of hiring a full time artist to sketch personas.
Bias, Test OraclesMichael Kelly
Identify built in test oracles
Whenever I'm testing an application, I'm always looking for built in test oracles. That is, something I can use within the product to help me identify possible issues in other areas of the product.

For an example of this, let's look at the WSJ's Market Data Center. Within the Market Data Center you can look at some performance charts for the S&P 500 Index (to pick one randomly). If you follow that link, you should notice that you're presented with some interactive charts. However, you might also notice a tab for "Standard Charting."

wsj_charting

If you click this tab, the same data is rendered in a non-interactive way. You would expect that when the static charts on "Standard Charting" are rendered, the data they display would match the default rendered data on the "Dynamic Charting" tab. It's those three little words - "you would expect" - that mean you've found an oracle. You now have a way to identify problems by using the application itself.
Test OraclesMichael Kelly