Exploratory Testing is, as the name implies, exploring the software whether it is a web or a mobile application. It defines what it does and what it doesn't do and how it works. The flexibility of this type of testing is that the web or mobile tester decides about how and where to spend the testing time according to their experience. Exploratory testing is useful when requirements are incomplete or when we are short on time for testing.
What is exploratory testing?
Exploratory app testing is a process very similar to “ad hoc testing” but the difference between them is that exploratory testing follows some tasks related to a specific object. The fact that exploratory testing is carried out without any script, does not mean that it has no structure or any rules. Let us take a look at what we can find in the main phases of exploratory testing.
Explore the product: To know how to meet the requirements of a product (web or mobile application or software) we need to review the objectives, the functionalities, and the type of data in use and the unstable areas. To do a good job, we need to understand the complete application , the technology in use and the time that we have to do it.
Test design: Create different strategies to evaluate the complete product.
Test Execution: Explore the application to know how it works and which could be the critical areas.
Heuristic: General rules that helps to test the product correctly.
Results: Once testing is completed, the tester should be able to explain any aspect from the system and how requirements are met. All the requirements should be tested at least once during the app testing process.
Why Do Exploratory Testing?
The script testing mechanizes the process by placing the test ideas on paper from a designer’s view, providing a lot of value. Sometimes writing down these test scripts and strictly following them, makes testers able to find important issues in a faster way. To get the right tests at the right time is necessary to make testing both, rich and fluid.
The richness of the exploratory testing is only limited by the depth of our imagination and the new knowledge acquired from the nature of the product under testing.
The exploratory testing can be used in any situation when the next test to be done is not obvious. Also they are useful when a quick feedback is required from a product or functionality.
Exploratory testing is like adapting techniques, because they can be efficiently applied in almost all the projects. They are the only option (even when we can combine them with other techniques) to be used when the projects are poor in requirements or when the specifications of the system are not clear, or when the information is incomplete.
Exploratory testing challenges
The main challenges that a tester could face in exploratory testing are listed below:
- Learning (How to learn from the system)
- Visibility (How to see under the surface)
- Control (How to manage internal data from the application)
- Risks / Selection (Which is the best test method to try)
- Execution (Which is the most efficient method to test)
- Oracles (How to know if the testing results are the correct ones)
- Reports (How to communicate and reproduce an issue in an efficient way)
- Documentation (What documentation is needed)
- Metrics (Which metrics are the best to be used)
- When to stop? (When to stop the testing)
Exploratory testing is a useful type of app testing in almost all the software development projects. If it is correctly applied and followed it can give us a lot of good testing results. It is also a good option when the projects do not have complete requirements or when we have short amount of time to do the testing. Give it a try!
About the Author
Azucena Coronado has a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering. She has 1+ years of experience in manual testing and she is currently part of the ITexico’s QA team working on web and mobile app testing projects.