Using Design Thinking to Create Better Test Cases | TechWell

Using Design Thinking to Create Better Test Cases

Software professional exploring test cases using design thinking

Designing good test cases can be described as an art. When we start our careers as testers, we first begin by executing someone else’s test cases. When we understand more about the process and requirements and gain more confidence, we move to becoming a test analyst, working to distill requirements into test scenarios. 

Within this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world of software, there’s a need to know everything there is to know about the business and to react as fast as possible to changes. In this agile environment, test cases need to be written with a focus on business, and testers should be part of the discovery and design phase of the project.

To do this most effectively, first of all, business drivers should dictate test case design. Moreover, in a perfect world, business requirements and stories should be written using a standardized practice of behavior-driven development. 

But how can we ensure we are focusing on the user and bringing the biggest value possible in this phase? The answer may seem simple, but there is a lot of effort behind it: design thinking!

Design thinking is a user-centric framework to solve a business challenge by delivering the best experience for our users.

To explain it more simply: Think about a coffee maker. Imagine its structure and functionality. Now, consider: How would you like to taste your coffee? How do you picture yourself tasting it? 

In the beginning of the scenario, you just thought about the technical solution—a solution that may or may not be the best, but it is traditionally how the product was designed. But after considering how you’d actually like to use and experience the product, we realize the coffee maker is just a means to an end. And the end is the will of the user to taste the coffee Whether the user is going to make the coffee, or to go to a coffee shop, or ask someone to bring it, it doesn’t matter; what is important is the user experience. 

Using design thinking, you can better frame the business drivers, select the right persona to focus on, design your user journey, identify test scenarios, pinpoint user pains, and therefore write better test cases for the happy and unhappy paths. 

There are lots of exercises that can be used to achieve this desired result. Select the right multidisciplinary group, outline the agenda, and prepare a user workshop, and you will get test cases that are designed by looking through the user perspective. Curious? Just try it!

Larissa Rosochansky is presenting the session Using Design Thinking to Create Better Test Cases at STARWEST 2019, September 29–October 4 in Anaheim, California.

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