Bottle Rocket is known for its attention to detail. Everything we do is for the user, so ensuring every user can enjoy a bug free app is one of our top priorities. With nearly 40 quality assurance analysts dedicated to breaking apps in any way imaginable, our QA process is always evolving and our methods are constantly being refined.
What is Exploratory Testing?
One of the more interesting and useful testing types used at Bottle Rocket is called the ‘exploratory.’ For most of the project, a single tester takes ownership and works independently on an app for optimum efficiency. Once a project reaches Feature Complete status, the entire QA team joins in for testing. These exploratory test sessions usually have an area of focus, but beyond that, each tester has thirty minutes to test the app any way they like. The main goal: break it. With the level of training each QA goes through, finding any new issues on someone else’s project is a challenge. Exploratory testing is a unique testing type that emulates the user experience, improves parity between platforms, and encourages teamwork outside of just the QA department.
The Benefits of Exploratory Testing
These sessions benefit the quality of the app greatly, the main reason being the increased number of unconditioned eyes on the app. We utilize one tester per platform per project here. So the ability to take your whole team, with various levels of experience and even differing testing styles, and asking them to look over your app for the first time is hugely valuable. It replicates the real world user experience and you’re getting real-time feedback at a point in the project where fixing high priority issues is less risky. On top of that, every tester in the room will likely have unique device types with different operating systems, so the main tester’s list of test case scenarios and coverage increases.
Exploratory test sessions can benefit our project framework by identifying the differences between platforms. iOS and Android develop their frameworks independently, and while there is a large effort to keep parity between the platforms, sometimes a change will be made on one and not the other. Luckily, these discrepancies can easily be recognized when testers of both platforms come together. Parity differences are brought up on projects sometimes that started interesting conversations. If this function is in Android, why isn’t it in iOS too? Why is the wording different here? Ideally, both platforms would be as similar as possible.
These sessions also benefit the project team as a whole since QA testers aren’t the only ones in attendance; there are other team members invited to attend that have a stake in project, namely the project’s developer, strategist, and project manager. Their perception can be helpful when issues are found. The developer seeing the issue reproduced firsthand may give them a head start on identifying the problem. The project manager can give their perspective of issues based on their knowledge of how the client feels. As for the presence of the strategist - At Bottle Rocket, QA testers are our user representatives. The more exposure we get to UX-related concerns and ideas, the more we learn and grow in that regard. This opportunity for Rocketeers to come together and learn from each other is highly valued by the company, and given the personalities and accepting environment here, they can be fun too.
The number of benefits to this testing type are more than worth the small amount of time asked of the team. The amount of perspectives that are present in one room (not to mention devices), the improved parity between platforms, and the promotion of teamwork improve the quality of the app in the end. Exploratory test sessions are like the finishing touches of testing an app - the issues found might not be critical or even noticeable, but we pay attention to the details.