Functional Testing Vs Usability Testing ?

21 Apr 2008 - 2:05am
6 years ago
1 reply
3750 reads
Manish Govind P...

Where unit tests deal with checking for coding errors
at class levels, functional testing is more from an
end users perspective. But the major difference
between a functional test and an usability test would
be the lack of design principles to evaluate for and
having the users perspective while designing the
functional testing criteria themselves. Functional
testing works more within the boundaries of the
work/task flows and checks if the intended output is
available to the user whereas, usability testing works
on evaluating exactly how it is presented to the user.
Having said that a functional tester with a little end
user empathy, common sense and good knowledge of
usability principles, could work well as a usability
tester as well.

Seems to me, where I can train a BA to capture end
user requirements fairly through contextual research,
interviews,etc. I can train a QA as well to do
some(some) usability testing for sure, with fair

Any experience with this situation?
Comments please.

Manish Govind Pillewar
User Experience Designer

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21 Apr 2008 - 12:08pm
Pam Migliore

I guess I see Functional Testing in a different light. In the
organizations where I have worked, Functional Testing has always
focused on verifying the system/product/application performs as
architected - within performance criteria, corner cases, continuous
testing and several over "functional" tests that the QA guys are
great at figuring out. "How can I break this thing?" tends to be a
common theme. The focus is on finding bugs.

By contrast, Usability Testing answers different questions. This
type of evaluation focuses on customer acceptance and how well the
customer can use the product to complete a task. A product can be
functionally 100% bug-free (though that usually just means you
aren't looking deep enough or testing hard-enough) but can still
have major usability problems.

As to whether QA members can be taught Usability Testing Methods?
Maybe, but its a different skill set (QA doesn't necessarily have
facilitation skills, etc. - though they may) and different point of
view ("Well, it's performing exactly to spec" vs. "I can figure
out how to complete scenario X"

While there is a common goal for a high-quality product, these are
looking at different aspects of quality and probably need to be
approached separately.

Hope this helps

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