A product tester needs to provide critical feedback to a business that tests its products. The role also includes conceptualization and implementation of test strategies, development of test protocols and ensuring end-to-end coordination of the testing process.
Online business operate under considerable pressure from consumerism and competition. Unless an online business sharpens all attributes in the products and services marketed, to be in-sync with customer expectations, competition will take over the game. This is the reason why they hire product testers with analytical and intuitive skills and invest in street-smart resources who can tend to their testing needs in a responsible manner. Developing test protocols is the starting point for testers.
Design the product testing process
The testing process differs based on product type, attributes, target market and other technicalities. A product tester needs to keep in mind the following guidelines before finalizing the test process:
- Using concept testing to validate the need to evolve a new product. The online marketplace is dotted with close substitutes and unless the seller convinces his target market on the USP (unique selling proposition) of his product concept, competition will kill the demand.
- Using quantitative and qualitative tools to measure customer response to products is a precursor to successful product testing.
- The testing process must be capable of completing prototype development and introducing the product in test markets. the test market must be a simulation of real market and must offer a sneak peek of the products and services online.
Write test plans and run test checks
To simulate real-life buying situations and drawing critical feedback from the same, is the key responsibility of any product tester. An ideal product test must comprise of the following features:
- Clarity and conciseness of the test, in-sync with the product testing budget and guidelines
- Double checking on all pre-conditions and assumptions that have been used while manufacturing the product or developing the service.
- The test environment and the data that is going to be accessed for test purposes must be clearly ascertained.
- The test results must contain mechanisms for evaluation and measurement against pre-determined set of expected results. To avoid confusion and bias, the results must be evaluated against quantitative parameters.
Measure product performance against benchmarks
A product tester will need to keep in mind the spectre of criteria for which the product or service is checked. This assumes special importance in online businesses where the end-user will get no chance to inspect the product or service before purchase. The role of the tester thus becomes decisive and informative. Usually, a tester checks the product for:
- Online products are shipped with usage instructions. The tester must ensure whether the instructions are unambiguous and can be executed as planned.
- Quality of product. This is the heart of any testing process. The tester has to assure that all products conform to quality specifications as claimed by the manufacturer. The element of intangibility makes the process difficult.
- Comparative analysis with competitive products. A tester cannot confine his responsibilities to mere re-statement of product attributes, which will made be by the manufacturer himself in greatest detail. What the market looks for are independent product testing reviews on a comparative platform with other competing brands, in terms of price, performance and attributes.
- Aging analysis and accelerated life testing are the imperative responsibilities of any tester. Measurement of the aging effect of products will establish the genuineness of claims made by sellers.
Keep records of defects found
It is the prime responsibility of testers to scan, scrutinize and keep a watchful eye for defects and flaws. Despite a foolproof product development phase, there is every possibility of errors creeping in unnoticed.
- Errors, defects, snags, glitches, flaws and deviations must be identified and recorded for reconsideration, reassertion and ruling out.
- Identification and monitoring all risk areas which need special attention must be included in the test protocols.
- In case a product or a process, fails a test, it is the responsibility of the tester to provide a comprehensive failure analysis report that provides proper grounds and explains the possible reasons leading to the failure.
Maintain documentation of the entire testing process
An ideal tester must ensure that the test becomes a precedent for future testing and must document every aspect of testing. Another advantage in testing is that, unless clear documentation is drafted, revisiting the testing architecture becomes difficult. Further, it becomes a pragmatic basis to compute time and cost required to carry out testing. It is also a basis for assessment of functional requirements in case of testing multiple products by the manufacturer.
Conduct independent surveys using online questionnaire
Product testing has taken a departure from conventional testing routes where the tester remains on the passive side, since door to door sampling is not possible in online businesses. Dynamic product testing methods are in place today, which require the tester to:
- Catch the market pulse, using interactive methods to reach the end-users and gauge their receptiveness to products.
- Conduct extensive surveys on using the products by themselves and by a random sample of the target market, aggregate the results and provide meaningful and actionable excerpts to online businesses.
- Write product reviews after making an objective analysis of the product and also take up social media posting of the reviews. Online businesses are evolving value-added schemes like provision of free samples for testers, along with other perquisites.
Recommend alterations and modifications to product
Providing constructive feedback and recommend conscious modifications to product and services that will help businesses to iron-out lapses in compliance with quality standards.
- The tester is responsible for embedding control mechanisms in the testing process that will bring to light deviations from pre-set yardsticks.
- Product design revisions that can make up for defects identified will help businesses to get a sense of scope and budget for carrying out such modifications.
- The tester can add value to his position by evolving a set of best practices for testing that will optimize time and costs.
. Testing may be required by online sellers of consumer products or by software businesses desirous of test running their software before delivery to end-users. In any case demand for testers is on the rise. People with good articulation, communication, analytical and investigative skills will find product testing as their preferred cup of tea.