Quality assurance (QA) is key in modern software development. That’s because poor quality software can tank software sales, harm a company’s reputation, and expose sensitive consumer data to malicious hackers. In fact, poor quality software cost American businesses an estimated $2.5 trillion in 2018 alone.
Many businesses have turned to QA outsourcing to help expand their software testing capabilities and to ensure that their software is free of bugs and functional out-of-the-box. These outsourcing firms use a combination of manual and automated tests to identify functional weaknesses, improve user design, and protect sensitive consumer data.
Read on to learn more about the most important types of QA testing used in software development today.
Types of QA Testing
Functional software testing is one of the most straightforward and essential types of QA testing. During this type of testing, engineers seek to determine whether all of the components of a piece of software operate according to its functional requirements.
Software engineers use the information collected during the requirement gathering and analysis phase as a measuring stick to determine whether a piece of software is successful. The application is only deemed successful if it meets all of the client’s functional requirements.
This type of testing typically involves verifying user interface and workflows and ensuring that data is correctly stored in databases. Black box testing, the most common type of functional testing, inspects the functionality of software without considering the software’s internal code.
White box testing, on the other hand, is often referred to as “glass box” testing. It works by verifying the internal code, data structure, and internal design of a piece of software. White box testing accomplishes this task through loop testing, basic path testing, and statement coverage.
Ideally, engineers will use both testing methods before releasing software to market. White box testing is best utilized during the development portion of the project, when major changes can still be made. Black box testing, on the other hand, is most effective during the testing stage.
Performance testing is designed to measure how a piece of software functions under a high workload. This type of QA testing is essential since it tests the software under real-world conditions and identifies potential bottlenecks before the network is placed under real stress.
Organizations typically use performance testing to look at processing speed, workload efficiency, reliability, and data transfer rates. Engineers can use these tests to identify the weak links in their software — allowing them to make small changes with big benefits.
Stress and load testing are two of the most popular types of performance tests. They evaluate how the system deals with increasing workloads. In addition, they help determine how the system will respond to workloads that exceed its anticipated capabilities.
Endurance testing, on the other hand, looks at how a system responds to high workloads over an extended period of time.
These tests collectively help engineers identify problems that are likely to occur during peak workload. This allows them to integrate fixes into the system before end users overwhelm the software with the heavy workloads likely to be encountered in the real world.
Automated testing has become standard for most software development projects. It was developed in the past decade because manual testing is an expensive and time-consuming process that often fails to identify all of the problems and bugs in a particular piece of custom software.
Traditional software testing requires a cadre of manual testers to physically click every button and pathway in a piece of software. They collect their findings and forward all of the errors to the development team — who is responsible for finding solutions to each problem.
Automated testing is an excellent supplement to traditional manual software testing. It helps businesses identify more vulnerabilities than manual testing alone can find. In addition, automated testing makes testing multilingual software much easier — since manual testers are not required for every language.
Software developer engineers in test are at the forefront of the automated testing movement. These highly specialized engineers write programs that actively seek out vulnerabilities and offer solutions to these problems.
These specialists help develop high-quality software by writing automated programs that complete bug testing, performance tests, stress tests, and more.
User interface (UI) and experience (UX) design are essential for any modern software development project. That’s because the consumers of today expect software to look beautiful and function smoothly right out of the box.
Usability testing is designed to simulate the end-user experience and ensure that the software works as advertised. It typically involves inviting select customers to participate in a usability test under controlled conditions.
The development team typically monitors user screens so that they can see how their customers interact with the software. Engineers look for components that cause the user frustration, for broken pathways, and for overly complicated processes that make the software unusable to the average consumer.
The simplest form of usability testing is called hallway testing. It involves selecting several potential end users at random — such those walking by in the hallway. These testers help determine whether the software interface is too difficult to navigate for novice users. A more carefully selected group of real consumers will be brought in once the software is further along in the development process.
Finally, expert review is another popular form of QA testing. It involves bringing in external software experts to evaluate the product and offer suggestions. This usability audit helps developers identify interface usability issues and offers valuable suggestions on how to correct these problems.
Data privacy remains one of the top priorities for technology executives. Malicious actors are using increasingly sophisticated attacks to breach computer systems and the number of data attacks continues to increase every year.
Research predicts that the “damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.” The high cost of cyber attacks, coupled with consumer concern over the amount of type of data stored online, means that data privacy should be a major priority when designing new software.
QA testing services help companies protect sensitive consumer data in several ways.
First, these outsourcing partners use multidisciplinary teams throughout the development process. These groups consist of programmers, security experts, design specialists, testers, and more. They work together to check each other’s work and fix coding mistakes that could compromise software security.
Second, offshore software testing companies help integrate security testing into every step of the software development lifecycle. They ensure that data privacy is included in the early requirements analysis and design phases — and all the way into the deployment and maintenance phases as well.
These security experts ensure that software is protected against common threats such as SQL injections, spoofing, fishing, and more. Finally, they’ll help business’s in-house engineering team integrate security concerns into each update — protecting the software from hackers well into the future.
QA testing is the best way to ensure that a piece of custom software works as intended, is well-designed, and is free of errors. That’s why large and small businesses alike use QA outsourcing during every stage of their software development lifecycle.
The best QA testing services help their clients ensure that software works as expected and can stand up to heavy usage. In addition, they will ensure that software is usable from the end user’s perspective and that the software is free of vulnerabilities that might compromise their consumer’s sensitive data.
Each of the QA testing methods outlined in this article should be integrated into large-scale development projects. By combining the most important testing methods into a single strategy, businesses can increase the odds of success during their next software rollout.