One way to conduct exploratory testing is to take the approach of tour-based testing. A testing tour is an exploration around a theme, and there are many different types of tours and schools of thought around the practice. A tour can be used to provide a clear focus to your session, helping you to set a realistic goal.
Real-World Exploratory Testing Example with Google Maps
Let’s look at Google Maps for an exploratory testing example focused on tour based testing. Imagine you want to go from Oslo to Stockholm.
A few years back, this is what Google Maps suggested as a route. How do we find these sort of bugs?
This bug went through dozens of dozens of reviewers and nobody saw it. Not everybody has the instincts to find these sort of bugs, and no one wants to build their career off of pure luck. So how do we do it with exploratory software testing?
1. Understand the application
First of all, you need to understand your application from a business and technical perspective. In this particular case, it takes the understanding that there can be black spots, or dark spots, in the mapping data. There can be areas where the mapping data is incomplete or where old mapping data is connected to new mapping data, etc.
2. Be prepared
You also need to be prepared to gain that knowledge. If you take this knowledge and focus on the boundaries of these black spots, you will find these sort of bugs. But, you won’t find them without any preparation at all, or be doing only black-box exploratory testing.
3. Focus on specific issues
But you won’t find those issues if you focus on 10 different things at the same time – you need to focus on very specific issues, which is what tour-based testing helps you accomplish. If you have one specific goal surrounded by a comprehensible and manageable scope, you know exactly what you are looking for.
4. Use your brain
Ultimately, testing is blind without the mind, because there is no brain in the loop (per se) when it comes to formal testing. That’s the reason we do exploratory testing. We do all that in order to maximize the quality of our software products, or to be more precise, to maximize quality at an ever-increasing speed.
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