Real Life Is Not an Edge Case

Real Life Is Not an Edge Case

People under stress use our products all the time. When we build software with stressed people in mind, we build better software for everyone.

Keynote at Agile Testing Days USA 2019


Rachel Kibler

June 25, 2019


  1. Real Life is Not an Edge Case Rachel Kibler Agile

    Testing Days USA 2019 @racheljoi
  2. Overview Photo by Thierry Chabot on Unsplash • Edge Case

    vs. Stress Case • Examples • The Problems • The Solutions • Wrapping Up @racheljoi
  3. Themes • Consider stress on our users in our testing

    • Be bold in speaking up for users • Be compassionate @racheljoi
  4. Edge Case vs. Stress Case

  5. Photo by Yannis Papanastasopoulos on Unsplash Edge Case @racheljoi

  6. Stress Case • Shift of mindset • People are not

    marginal • Understanding how odd uses of software may be: • People under stress • Products causing stress Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash @racheljoi
  7. Stressed People • Person is color-blind • Person has a

    hyphenated last name • Person is angry • Person is sleep-deprived • Person was assaulted • Someone will be using our software on the worst day of their life Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash @racheljoi
  8. What Stress Does • Harder to understand text • Harder

    to solve problems • Harder to make decisions • Harder to press buttons • Can be temporary or chronic Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash @racheljoi
  9. Stress cases are about impact. @racheljoi


  11. Facebook’s Real Name Policy Impact: People are told they don’t

    belong, additional stress proving identity @racheljoi
  12. Search After 3 Characters: Canvas Li is #273 out of

    1000 most common last names in USA, Le is #277 @racheljoi
  13. Crisis Moments @racheljoi

  14. Period Tracking (yes, we’re going there) Impact: Women are told

    they are not quite women if they do not fit into these journeys @racheljoi
  15. Period Tracking, continued: Apple “Track all of your metrics you're

    most interested in” Craig Federighi, senior VP of Software Engineering • Sleep quality • Blood pressure • Heart rate • Steps walked • Chromium intake @racheljoi
  16. “Is it really too much to ask that Apple treat

    women, and their health, with as much care as they've treated humanity’s sodium intake?” -The Verge @racheljoi
  17. Being a Mom • Smart scales and pregnancy • Food

    trackers and breastfeeding • Fitness trackers worn on the wrist Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash @racheljoi
  18. Closed Eyes in Photography • Asian people incorrectly identified as

    having closed eyes • Ill or elderly people Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash @racheljoi
  19. Peppy Messages Impact: making light when a person is under

    stress, very inappropriate circumstances @racheljoi
  20. Family Stress • What if you: • Don’t have a

    mother • Have a bad relationship with your mother • Don’t want to think about mothering @racheljoi
  21. Facebook’s Year in Review • Impact: not everyone wanted to

    remember their year, no way to turn it off @racheljoi
  22. The Problems

  23. The Problems • We don’t have diversity on our team

    • We are conditioned to envision success • We don’t know our users • We build for the average user @racheljoi
  24. There is no average user. @racheljoi

  25. The Solutions

  26. Uncovering stress cases adds information to the conversation. @racheljoi

  27. Designated Dissenter • Robustness Principle: Be conservative in what you

    do, liberal in what you accept from others. • Question assumptions and designs • Switch around Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash @racheljoi
  28. Pre-Mortem 1. Convene the team for 1-2 hours (Have paper

    or shared note-taking setup) 2. Restate the project’s mission, in past tense We rebuilt the Wiki Pages feature to be better. Faster, more intuitive. @racheljoi
  29. Pre-Mortem 3. State the fiasco Our project failed. We have

    a 1-star rating. Customers are calling and are very angry. Photo by Elvis Bekmanis on Unsplash @racheljoi
  30. Pre-Mortem 4. Generate reasons for failure Everyone spends 3 minutes

    writing down ideas Photo by Artiom Vallat on Unsplash @racheljoi
  31. Pre-Mortem @racheljoi

  32. Pre-Mortem 4. Generate reasons for failure 5. Consolidate the lists

    Add every reason to one big list. @racheljoi
  33. Pre-Mortem 4. Generate reasons for failure 5. Consolidate the lists

    6. Revisit the plan Brainstorm how to avoid the worst and the most likely outcomes. @racheljoi
  34. Pre-Mortem Recap 1. Convene the team 2. Restate the project’s

    mission, in past tense 3. State the fiasco 4. Generate reasons 5. Consolidate the list 6. Revisit the plan Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash @racheljoi
  35. Photo by Simon Marsault on Unsplash Read All Your Copy

    out Loud @racheljoi
  36. Personas Under Stress • Write more into their story •

    Trauma • Symptoms of stress • What keeps them up at night • Our users are having the same issues as our friends, families, colleagues @racheljoi
  37. Our users don’t get to choose their emotional state when

    they interact with our product. @racheljoi
  38. Testers Under Stress Photo by Manlake Gabriel on Unsplash @racheljoi

  39. Testers Under Stress Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash Photo

    by Con Karampelas on Unsplash @racheljoi
  40. Testers Under Stress Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash @racheljoi

  41. More Testing • BE BOLD • Be flexible • Analyze

    risk • Accessibility matters • Tell a story @racheljoi Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
  42. Wrapping Up

  43. Learn More • Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer • Technically

    Wrong • Design for Real Life • Lots of articles and interviews with Sara Wachter-Boettcher @racheljoi
  44. Speak Easy • • @spkeazee • Thank you, Maaret

    Pyhäjärvi @racheljoi
  45. Other Speak Easy Sessions • Parveen Khan: A Tester’s Survival

    Guide for Agile Transition • Kemmy Raji: Daily Scrum: Foster Teamwork with Just in Time Planning! • Mary Fernquist-Anderson: Getting the Story Right to the Team • Jasmin Smith: Getting Buy-In for Mob Programming (workshop) • Shivani Gaba: Moving from GUI to API Testing • Aditi Mulay: Leveraging Development Principles into Automation Framework • Butch Mayhew: What!!! You Don’t Have Test Cases? • Raye Anne Hurst and Janet Gregory: Define Your Quality and Apply Key Elements to Achieve It! (workshop)
  46. What I Hope You Heard • We all have highs

    and lows, our users are no exception • Consider person under stress when designing and testing • Consider stress caused by our software • Be compassionate towards users and each other @racheljoi
  47. Thank You! @racheljoi Photo by Justin DoCanto on Unsplash