EWT04 – Battle of the URL Shorteners

EWT04 – Battle of the URL Shorteners

Date: 6th January 2010
Time: 15:30 – 18:00 GMT

Websites Tested:

Mission:
You are contracted by three stakeholders to evaluate URL shortening services. The stakeholders are

  • a heavy twitter user tweeting a lot of internet references over the day
  • a university student wanting to share stuff from his homework/courses over the internet with his fellow students
  • an online magazine publisher for referencing further readings on the internet

The pre-selection already has taking place and the most promising products are

Evaluate the products for their applicability for the given users and report any problems the mentioned stakeholders may run into.

Testers: Jaswinder Kaur Nagi, Vivek Joglekar, Phil Kirkham, Markus Deibel, Ajay Balamurugadas, Anna Baik, Markus Gärtner

Anna Baik and Markus Gärtner facilitated the discussion afterwards, asking each tester about their experiences.

Phil Kirkham started the discussion afterwards. At first he didn’t know where to start, and realized after going to all the services that their offerings had different things that would appeal to the different stakeholders. So, for him it was more of a usability testing session than a bug finding one. The diversity of the users in the mission showed how hard testing can be when taking all stakeholders into account. He got over this hurdle by interacting with the products and seeing opportunities for each stakeholder in it. Getting information directly from the products under test helped a big deal. Knowing the stakeholders and their needs from the product helps to direct the testing efforts appropriately.

Jaswinder Kaur Nagi continued the discussion. Among the other more experienced testers she felt a bit under pressure. She started to dive into the products and found some bugs. She thinks she needs to learn a lot. At Weekend Testing she can do something different and learn.

Ajay Balamurugadas explained that he wanted to stay out of any traps and misunderstandings. He paid some attention to the question from the participants; that helped. He explained that he had just read a report comparing different URL shorteners. Personal experience with the URL shortening services helped him get the mission started. In addition to that experience with the constraints of these services helped him generate new ideas. One example is the life span of the generated URLs, which are restricted on some services, on others they will work forever. Ajay had two major lessons:

  1. Dedicate time for testing
  2. Practice time-boxed testing

Markus Deibel finished the discussion part. He started by suggesting a possible reason for a failure Ajay had reported. Discussion and some more testing followed, before Markus returned to his report. Over the course of the session Markus got distracted and ended up with some notes on paper and the need to type it into the bug repository. That showed him that time management for testing and reporting on the testing is crucial. Last, Markus noticed that none of the participants took the opportunity to ask stakeholder questions to the session leaders. This may have ended up in assumptions on the usage of the tools under test.

The chat transcript may be inspected online.

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