Have you ever had a moment when you’re interacting with a product or service, and you realize there’s something about it that just doesn’t sit right with you? You may not know what that something is right off the bat, or maybe it’s something you can’t seem to put your finger on, but you know it’s there. Or, maybe you’re happy with everything so far, then all of the sudden…BOOM… Game Over.
If you’re anything like me, this type of stuff might lead to some annoying eye twitches, aggravated lip curls, and even the occasional swing from a ‘happy-go-lucky, OMG I love it’ mood to a ‘blood curdling, WTF is this hot mess’ mood. Even if you’re not like me, I would still bet we have a similar interest in overall quality.
Throughout my life, quality has been one of the common threads stitched into this weave of a brain. Consistency is another thread that follows along with quality, as you can’t have quality without consistency. You can, however, have consistency without quality if the job is done wrong over and over again. To this day I can still hear my dad telling me as a child, “if you’ve got to do something, do it right, don’t half-ass it.” This meshed well with my increasing desire to please people as I grew. The more I could help with something, the more fulfilled I felt.
During my education, I grew into more of a perfectionist with each passing year. Simple projects and assignments started turning more complex because I would come up with too many what if’s, or try to please every person that would come in contact with my work. I quickly learned you can’t please everyone, but giving them the best experience possible is still worth all of the efforts. Along with that experience, my first job—making pizzas for a popular delivery chain—involved consistently creating a quality product for the customer. Every. Single. Time. No excuses!
How do you define quality? That’s what I’m here for. To help understand the user and how they will be interacting with the product, walking through similar steps they’ll be taking in order to find those little somethings that need another review before going live. This involves working with all of our teams here—accounts, design and development—to ensure the deliverable maintains a high level of quality throughout time. I’m looking for inconsistencies, any browser related issues, and potential bottlenecks or boo-boos.
You know what they say, user experience is like a joke.
If you have to explain it, it probably isn’t that good.
Quality Assurance is almost like a Where’s Waldo or a Seek-and-Find. Looking and comparing each page to see what I can find out of place, what could be easily broken depending on different test cases, or what just needs a little more tweaking. I ensure the designer’s work is developed accordingly, that the developer’s code will hold up to the use, and that the user can understand the path to take for what they’re looking for.
As time continues on, there are more options to choose from in browsers, and they’re all different in their own ways. Some things may not display or function the same on one as it does on the others. It also might look differently on a desktop than on mobile and tablet devices, or maybe the operating system interacts with it differently too. Because of this, there’s a need to review our projects on all of the main browsers and operating systems, as well as devices. The overall look and feel should be consistent, no matter how the user chooses to access it.
Just as there isn’t one perfect browser, there’s not one perfect person. But you’ve already heard that line before, right? No one is perfect. Well, in the web world, it applies just the same. A lot of things can happen in one day, multiple projects are going on at any given time, and issues can arise when least expected. Sometimes minor details are overlooked because of this, which is why testing as the user is helpful in finding those that need to be fixed.
In a way, even though my employment may be with VIA Studio, I really work for the people that interact with VIA’s work. I’m working for our clients, their users, and all of the individuals reading this article right now that are not within close proximity of my desk. I’m here for you. Don’t you feel special? You should, because it’s not just me that’s here for you. Our designers are creating something special for you, our developers are building the functionality you want and need, and I’m here trying to break everything to make sure your experience is wonderful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m also here because I have some amazingly talented coworkers, and a workspace that puts all of my previous jobs to shame. However, my enthusiasm for quality and consistency outweighs all of that. The biggest reward of my job is knowing that I get to help in building a great user experience, while accomplishing what is needed most from the functionality.