Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Testing Thinking, Anyone?

At Quality Jam London 2017 I was introduced to the term design thinking. It sounded interesting. I  looked it up when I got home, spoke to Rog, our UX specialist at work, and read a couple of references that he provided. Jared Spool's Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic In Design Thinking was particularly intriguing:
For decades, I’ve needed to do what every seasoned design professional has found themselves doing: explaining why design is more than just making something pretty. When I’ve worked with other designers, they get it. 
But once someone who isn’t a designer — someone who is a layperson — is introduced into the mix, I’ve found I need to convince them that design isn’t only about making the thing pretty. That’s it’s about solving problems. That’s it’s about end-to-end solutions. 
The phrase design thinking changed all that. To a layperson, it was completely new. While it was made up of words they thought they knew, the combination was novel. “Design thinking? What’s that?”
Adding the word ‘thinking’ to ‘design’ was a brilliant move. David Kelley and Tim Brown, the founders of IDEO who popularized the term, were smart to take advantage of the unfamiliarity of the phrase.
To those of us who’ve been doing this for a long time, design thinking doesn’t mean anything new. But it also doesn’t mean ‘make it pretty.’ And that’s why it works.

At Quality Jam London 2017 I listened to Tony Bruce talking about manual testing. From my notes:
in Manual Testing is Dead. Long Live Manual Testing, [Bruce] called for testers to set the expectations of the people that they interact with. The term "manual testing" undersells what testing is, or can be, with its connotations of manual labour, unthinking monotony, apparent separation from (woo! sexy!) automation and the historical association with scripted test cases.
So he might refer to using questions, experiments, exploration, engagement, surveys, investigation, tools (which includes woo! sexy! automation), spending time thinking, iterating, and adjusting to new data. And he'll report on what he found, but not necessarily what he produced ... It's all testing, and it's on testers to explain and demonstrate how and why and what value it delivers.

Words are more than just a collection of letters on a page or vibrations in the air. Words are powerful and subtle and important. Words have emotional effects and social impacts, and they'll differ for different listeners (connoisseurs and consumers, for instance) and at different times. Words come with baggage and consequences, some of which will align with the speaker's intent, and some of which will not. Words can be freedom and words can be prison.

But blah blah semantics whatever. Testing Thinking, anyone?
Image: https://flic.kr/p/5bfq6t


  1. The whole point of 'design' is to make the product a better fit to its purpose. Making it "look pretty" is just one part of that process, because who wants to use something that looks ugly? Naval architects and aircraft designers have always said "If it looks right, it usually is right", and the aesthetic end of the design process is about maximizing that effect.

    But it is only one part of the process. Nearly everything we use in our everyday lives has been through some sort of design process or other. If anyone still thinks that 'design' is an unimportant element in product development, try giving them something designed badly - from a simple pencil up to the most complex application - then stand back and wait for the howls of protest.

  2. Have you seen my New Model idea? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ra1192OpqY


    1. Hi Paul, What kind of consideration did you give to the name, and to potential interpretations of the name?