Take a deep dive into functional and non-functional testing with a comprehensive breakdown of the core testing types you should know and focus on.
Functional Testing Types
Sometimes in software testing, the big picture overshadows the details. To fully optimize your QA process, it’s essential to understand the various testing types in order to best allocate time and resources. The following are the key testing types that we, at Applause, help you address and streamline.
To better visualize the testing types and order, we like to refer to the functional testing pyramid.
Before you can test out an entire software program, you have to make sure the individual parts work properly on their own. This process validates the function of a unit, ensuring that the inputs (one to a few) result in the lone desired output. This testing type provides the foundation for more complex integrated software, and when done right, drives higher quality application code and speeds up the development process.
Integration testing follows unit testing in the set order, but more often than not is done in concert with unit testing. It allows you to verify that individual modules of code work together properly as a group. While units may fit together, you need to ensure they operate seamlessly as one before you can move on to connect these groupings.
This is the first opportunity for testers to interact with the graphical interface of a software program. This includes testing of UI controls like buttons, menus, and text input to ensure that the experience flow and features chosen are optimal for the user experience.
With all of the verified unit groupings now fully integrated in one system, you are able to test the software in its entirety. The black box method is typically employed here so testers are providing feedback on the functionality and performance of the app or website without prior knowledge of how it was programmed. This, in turn, helps teams develop test cases to be used moving forward.
This is the final step you must take before making your product available to users. Its purpose is purely to ensure that the end user can achieve the goals set in the business requirements. Rather than focus on functionality of specific features, testers are reviewing the user flow and end-to-end experience in a more realistic setting. Refinements are expected to be made with regards the user experience.
This is a subset of acceptance testing that uses internal team members who are knowledgeable of the project not directly involved in its development or testing. This provides an immediate subset of testers to root out any bugs before it is seen by anyone externally.
After your internal team has had a chance to test the product and bugs have been remediated, you can conduct a beta test with a select group of end users. Serving as a soft launch, this allows you to get feedback from end users who have no prior knowledge of the app. This enables you to gather feedback from unbiased users who may interact with the product differently than you intended, perhaps identifying critical unknown bugs.
Once you have made your product public, it is in a live production environment where anything goes. Prior to this, you were able to control everything from the testing environment to the number of people using your product at a given time. By testing in production, you are able to test beyond the scripted test cases and do so in a varied environment. This allows you to confirm functionality, but also stability of the product itself.
Non-Functional Testing Types
Functional testing is essential to the quality of your software, but non-functional testing is equally important to the user experience you will ultimately be providing. Here are the most important non-functional testing types that Applause addresses.
For any transactional program, payment testing is critical to success. In this phase, users validate select payment methods – including, but not limited to credit cards, debit cards, mobile wallets, P2P platforms – to ensure that currency can seamlessly change hands from the consumer to the business and a transaction can be completed. This can be done for both digital and physical transactions.
Nearly every company connects with consumers across multiple channels (e.g. mobile, web, social, in-store), making omnichannel testing essential to the end-to-end experience. Omnichannel testing uses real people to test an experience from one channel to another to ensure consistent digital quality and continuity of experience.
All apps and websites need security to maintain consumer trust and protect both data and intellectual property. There are numerous scans and assessments that every company should perform as part of security testing, but there should also be active testing elements as well that bring the human side into testing. Companies frequently enlist a team of “white hat” hackers to break into a protected system and identify vulnerabilities to better understand how humans may try and penetrate their framework.
Accessibility testing is more of an audit to assess whether your product is easy to use and inclusive for all users regardless of disability or impairment. With a team assessing the entirety of your site, you receive a comprehensive breakdown of designs and features that must be updated to meet the current standards and regulations. Once updated, continual maintenance checks should be performed to ensure you’re up to code. In doing this, you not expand your reach, but prevent potential legal issues as well.
Contrary to user acceptance testing, usability testing takes into account the perspective of the user on whether the digital experience is easy to use and is actually something they would want to use. This user feedback helps identify areas or features that could be simplified to improve the user experience and improve stickiness with the users.
Voice applications bring a new level of complexity to software testing because of the numerous variables associated with the human voice. Voice testing enlists the help of real people to test inputs across a wide range of languages, dialects, emotional states, and more – ensuring that users everywhere are understood by the software and that the outputs they receive are helpful and accurate. This can also encompass other testing types like functional testing, dialogue verification, usability testing, and payment testing to ensure a quality end-to-end voice experience.