When building a house every single brick that gets tucked in, has to be tested to last all weather conditions. Similarly, every single block that goes into the app should be tested and every single scenario it can go through should also be tested. As simple as that. Now that is very generic, I get that. Here is the more pragmatic question. What do we need & Where do we start? We needed a few Android and Apple devices and some unique active phone numbers. Remember, phone number is the unique identifier for the user. Then there are 3 possible ways for a user to sign in. Registration from scratch, Google login & Facebook login. We had to set up test users with 3 different flavors in each platform. That adds up to a 6! (Nope no calculator this time 🙂 ) Ideally you’d like a test lab with Android and Apple devices, phones on different versions, large monitors hooked up to those devices, a few emulators etc… for QA runs. But as a startup we definitely couldn’t afford all the fancy stuff. All we were able to do, was to dig into the pile of our old phones, located those out dated chargers, powered them up, installed updated software and jumped into the testing arena. Hey …we have to make the best out of what we can, correct?
We set up the test accounts and started to hear the “ding” sounds as the verification codes dropped by. Good sign! For each user, we started adding items under 2 different categories, “I own this item” and “I want this item”. Anything that you Own and would like to list, goes under the former. Any item that you are currently in the market for, would fall under the latter. Under the first category the sub categories are Lend, Rent, Sell and Give Away and under the second category we had Borrow, Buy and Rent Out. Overall every user needed to have close to 20 items for us to be able to test the transactions. During this phase one of our friends who was visiting us for the weekend, played around with the app and mentioned that the toggle that switches the item between “I Own” & “I Want” wasn’t easily understandable. We thanked him for bringing it to our attention and introduced a glider text to call that out explicitly. Problem addressed and the testing continued! It really helps if you have a fresh set of eyes look at your product at various different stages of development, as you’ll never be able to catch such things by yourself. Since you live and breathe your product, such granular nuances tend to go undetected in your radar.
We had the items set up, what next? Add friends to Kettle.Lend! We connected all the test users we had created, as friends. Invitations started to come and folks were getting accepted as friends! Now they were all Kettle friends :). Item requests and responses were tested. Some of the text content around these weren’t very apt. So I sat down and re-did all the text content and updated it. Little did I know then, that’ll I’ll do several such rounds before we actually went live. We then created loops and added clusters of friends to different loops. Transactions within the loops were tested.
We tested the History tab, to make sure all the transactions were listed there. To make it legible we had added a drop down to let users view their transactions from different angles. Most Recent, By Month, etc. At this juncture another friend chimed in and pointed out that we didn’t have historical transactions by Items. His point was, it was going to be difficult for him to find out who had his “Amazon Fire Stick” which he lend 2 months ago. He’d have to go thru all the historical transactions or comb thru the friend by friend to figure out. His voice was heard and we answered! We added a drop-down menu for Items, under history.
All the other house keeping tabs, like profile settings, tell a friend etc were tested and some text around it was fine tuned. The bug fix list was shipped off to the development team and we were starting the prep work for the next phase. Marketing plan in the making!! Its gonna get interesting!!