Users testing an application

Is it me or is it hard for users to test applications? No, it is not me. Most developers know what I mean. You need to built in some feature. Ok finally it is working the way you want it. That may not be the way your key user wants it to work. So you tell him/her the feature is finished. Go ahead and test it. You go away and your never hear from them again about the feature. Until it becomes a priority for them of course. Suddenly all kinds of action can be detected from your key user. You are told that something is wrong. He or she is disappointed. ‘This must be fixed. I need it yesterday.’ Right! ‘Didn’t I asked you to test?’, you think. ‘Now I have little time to fix it, damn.’ Sounds familiar? And even if users test it is ad hoc, non structured and not repeatable.

Why is that? I think there are three main reasons for this:

  1. Users do not know how to test. They never were explained how to test so it is not easy for them to do structured testing. They don’t know what to do.
  2. It has no priority. Their other work is more important because that’s the stuff their bosses want them to do.
  3. ‘The developer tested it! why should I do it again’. They forget that a developer is not usually an expert in the field of the user.


The solution is to educate them and make it a part of their job. The first thing developers can do. The latter could be done by their bosses. Yeah, wishful thinking…