Digital Assurance and Omnichannel Experience Testing
Read on to learn what an omnichannel testing approach for your app really means and how to build it into your testing strategy.
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The world has been dominated by the need for change brought on by digital disruption. Digital leaders say we need to think about the performance and user experience of applications differently to be successful in this shifting IT world.
We need to ensure seamless customer experience of our application on different platforms and devices. The functionality, availability, and reliability aspects of the application on all platforms and best-in-class speed and performance must be assured. Data and other personal information that end users share with us must be safe and secure in our digital initiatives.
These activities of validation and verification on digital transformation initiatives fall under one umbrella — digital assurance. Omnichannel testing is one of the fundamental parts of digital assurance solutions and strategies. Let’s learn more about it.
People often get confused when we talk about omnichannel testing. I have heard some people saying we need just Multi-Channel testing, not omnichannel, as the business requirement and test plan are just to get the application tested and verified on different devices and platforms.
They say they do not want to discuss something that they think of as overkill and view it as something that will distract the team from its business vision. People normally view Omnichannel testing as a confusing term and they are not interested in exploring this area. They find it to be an "abnormal QA term" and treat it like it doesn’t bring any business value to the application.
We need to debunk these myths.
What Is Omnichannel Testing and How Does It Differ From Multi-Channel Testing?
It’s a quite common question people used to ask. When the functionality of an application needs to be tested on different platforms and devices, we can view this as multi-channel testing. This process checks how fit this particular functionality is on a certain platform or device. Omnichannel testing can be viewed as testing which measures how effectively the application works on different devices and platforms and measures the user experience on these platforms.
Omnichannel testing differs from multi-channel testing in the same way globalization testing differs from localization testing.
For those who are comfortable working with globalized applications (just for that audience!), we can explain omnichannel vs. multi-channel with another example. Let’s relate this to localization and globalization test practices. Localization testing is the testing process for checking the localized versions of an application on that particular culture or locale's settings. If you understand this concept, it's the same way we can view multi-channel testing. In multi-channel testing, we test the application on devices and check the effectiveness of the functionality of the application on that particular device/platform.
In a globalized application, globalization testing techniques are used to ensure that an application can function in any culture and locale. In other words, globalization testing checks the complete functionality of the product using every type of international input possible. We can view omnichannel testing in a similar way. Omnichannel testing ensures that an application can function on any platform/device and checks whether the application provides a seamless user experience on all those platforms.
Let’s go deeper now and see the five areas identified under omnichannel testing.
Omnichannel Functional Testing
Omnichannel functional testing validates the actual functionality of our omnichannel solution. Following are the areas identified for this phase of testing:
- Application interoperability
- Application lifecycle
- Network management
- Display management
Omnichannel Compatibility Testing
The challenge of testing with different devices is the fundamental part of omnichannel testing. Omnichannel compatibility tests need to be designed to address mobile device and mobile OS fragmentation.
Omnichannel Usability Testing
Usability testing is a non-functional testing technique used to a measure how easily the system can be used by end users. It is the cornerstone of all successful apps. These test results are provided as suggestions on what to improve and change to enhance the overall usability of the omnichannel solution.
Omnichannel Performance Testing
This area measures the availability, reliability, and performance of an application on different devices. Omnichannel performance testing focuses exclusively on the performance aspects of mobile devices, disregarding functional and usability aspects which are addressed in other areas.
Omnichannel Security Testing
The focus here is on the security of an application on different platforms, disregarding functional and usability aspects which are addressed in other types of testing. We need to use solutions or mechanisms to validate six common security aspects:
- Confidentiality: Does the app keep your data private and safe?
- Integrity: Can the data passed to and from the app be trusted and verified?
- Authentication: Does the app verify the user’s identity to an appropriate degree of certainty?
- Authorization: Does the app properly limit user privileges?
- Availability: Can an attacker hurt the app in any way?
- Non-Repudiation: Does your app keep records of events and transactions?
Approaches to Omnichannel Testing
The decision to cover all or a few omnichannel experience validations in the application needs to be defined within the test strategy — all the areas to be considered, whether to do it manually or automated, or planning to leave it as it is — all these need to be defined in the test strategy document.
There are plenty of solutions available on the market for omnichannel testing; it is really difficult to choose one best tool for each area or an Omni Channel testing solution as a whole. However, Forrester, a major independent research firm, just released its analysis of the top functional testing tool vendors of Omni Channel testing. They included 15 vendors in the assessment:
Micro Focus Silk
Micro Focus UFT
The Forrester Wave™: Omnichannel Functional Test Automation Tools, Q3 2018
Forrester has evaluated vendors against 26 criteria, which they’ve grouped into three high-level buckets:
- Current offerings
- Market presence
For those who are interested in this topic, see the Forrester Omnichannel Functional Test Automation Wave published on July 26, 2018 for more details.
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