The phrase has been used ad nauseam but still applies to many situations: united, we are stronger. At Making Sense, we are committed to continuous improvement and expanding and combining our practices to challenge ourselves and deliver better results. In this spirit, we set out to combine the skills of our QA and UX teams to improve the quality of the digital products we develop. The key word is “usability“: the ability of a system to provide a condition for its users to perform tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience.
Generally speaking, we are always short of time in the software development cycle. When it is time for testing in the different sprints, the focus is usually placed on functional aspects to ensure that the application works and meets the criteria for which it was created. At the same time, design and user experience issues are left behind for testing at the end of the project.
We set out to change that logic: the articulated work of the UX and QA areas generates a perfect combination for developing exceptional digital products. The UX designer is responsible for understanding the user and creating the experience. The UI designer assembles the components and focuses on the visual aspects of the platform. The UX developer develops those components and brings the ideas to reality. QA tests the functional elements created by the development team. We could even talk about a new role, the QA designer, i.e., testers specialized in UX.
By joining UX and QA capabilities, usability squads can be established to perform heuristic evaluations in different projects. Let’s remember that a heuristic evaluation is a usability inspection method that helps identify user interface design problems. For the QA area, accessing the world of heuristics means opening our minds to a new way of understanding software quality: guaranteeing that the user does not make mistakes, navigates through a consistent platform, knows what to do at all times, anticipates what the next steps will be.
Besides, accessibility is reinforced. Recently, North American regulations have emphasized that applications must be usable for people with visual, hearing, cognitive, or mobility problems. UX and QA, in this case, come together to promote inclusion. And not only that: those who do not comply with this regulation are exposed to penalties and fines.
From bug hunting to user delight
All of the above means that the focus of testing shifts from functional issues to both quality and experience. In addition, when QA becomes familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the UX area, it can incorporate usability into the testing culture from the beginning of the project. Moreover, the workflow between designers, developers, and QA is improved, with a positive impact on meeting deadlines. At the same time, siloed work is eliminated, increasing the coherence and consistency of the work of all professionals involved.
From the end-product point of view, the merger between QA and UX results into enhancing user satisfaction, creating a seamless experience and closing the gap between what the product offers and what the user needs. QA is no longer just focused on fixing bugs: it is also responsible for making users fall in love with the product.