Origins of software testing and how it became a must.
To the origins of the test

Origins of software testing and how it became a must.

With the rise of the Internet and its access to the public since the early 2000s, digital tools have multiplied. New jobs have appeared with its computer jargon that has become familiar to us (URL address, developer, Web 2.0, application, surfing, digital…).
Software testing (or Quality Assurance), although evolving on this wave, remains to this day a discipline still unknown.

In computer science, the test is a procedure for partial or total verification of a system. It identifies problematic behaviors in order to be corrected. It then enables the tested tool to be improved or made to work. This need, which represents an important part of Web development, has existed for nearly 40 years. Well before the era of the Internet and, more generally, of consumer computing.

Back to the past

Once upon a time in California, in the XEROX research center in Palo Alto. There, for the first time, an employee wrote that the Palo Alto Research Center was using intensive usability testing on the Xerox Star released in 1981. Then Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit, said he “did user testing in 1984, five years before anyone else…there’s a big difference between doing it and letting engineers who were involved in the core of the project do it”. He evokes the notion of user testing in the Inside Intuit book.

derivative work: Al Lemos (talk)Old_computers_with_a_Xerox_Star.jpg: Marcin Wichary / CC BY (
Xerox Star by Marcin Wichary

User test studies came out in the early 1990s. Jakob Nielsen’s study, a specialist in interface ergonomics, caught the attention of professionals. In 1993 he wrote, with his colleague Thomas Landauer, the article A mathematical model of the finding of usability problems which aimed to answer the following question: “How many users does it take to perform a user test with the best quality/price ratio?” They determine that 5 users are sufficient to find 85% of usability problems and that a single user could detect an average of 31% of problems. To arrive at this statement, Jakob Nielsen relies on the mathematical formula (P (i) = N(1-(1-L)i)) where P is the number of problems, i the user and L the proportion of problems encountered by i.

Other studies have questioned this result, stating that variables were not taken into account. In reality, the number of problems reported also depends on other criteria such as the design of the site, the user’s objectives, or the number of configurations. Also, the classification of problems from minor to critical varies from one team to another.

Be a tester today

Today, software testing is inseparable from any development project. It is a qualitative method carried out by professionals who detect functional and usability problems of an interface. Testers are more and more involved upstream of developments. They are even integrated into the teams when the project is developed in agile mode.

The profession has become more professional with ISO standards and certifications such as ISTQB. The tester is a trusted third party. He gives the confidence index that we can have in the development of an app. This gives you the peace of mind to deploy or not to deploy (GO NO GO) in production. With the advent of agility and the ever-increasing pace of deliveries, the test team has become over the years a highly strategic position in digital organizations.

Each project has its own specificities and constraints. The study of needs, people, documentation, and user stories allows the test leaders to set up an adequate testing strategy. The design of test cases and datasets as well as the implementation of test environments is a job requiring more and more expertise from testers. Finally, the tester brings his experience in selecting the panel of configurations to be tested (desktop, iOS, android, smartphones, tablets, etc.).

What are the risks of going into production without performing system and acceptance tests?

Today’s consumer has a multitude of choices in digital media. They have access to an almost unlimited source of information on the net. They are hyper solicited and very volatile on the web. In order to attract his attention and keep customers, the system must work perfectly. At the slightest major bug, the user will have doubts about the quality of service. Therefore there is a strong probability that he will not finish his action (purchase transaction for example). In most cases, he will not come back to the site. He will certainly go to the competitors. The repercussions of a bug can, therefore, have very strong negative repercussions on the business and the image of the brand. software testing is not a nice to have! it’s a must.

The futur is now

The challenge is on: companies are forced to call in testing specialists to eradicate bugs if they want to keep Internet users on their mobile sites and apps. Don’t wait for your customers to report bugs to test your application and website. Call Testing Studio 👍🏻

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Testing Studio
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