The importance of having a software test coupled with real users’ views of the product at the end of the development effort, even if it is the test of a prototype and not the fully developed software.
Usually products will be designed for specific requirements or needs, or for general purposes. Products that designed for certain purposes, must meet the requirements of which the product created for, this can be achieved by having exact specifications and functionality and then creating a product that meets all expectations.
Therefore, before delivering the product, it’s an important consideration to test the prototype of such model, or any product, and involve users because the quality of the product will be decided by users not by the designer. Regarding to general quality control and quality assurance, users’ views of the product are real values that impacts on the product’s life and success.
Eun-Ok Baek et al. (n.d.) explained the challenge of instructional technologist when designing or developing software that supports both users’ learning and performance in effective manner of which the product also generates user satisfaction. They stated also that “User participation is vital in User-Centered Design and Development” of which user should be involved during all product lifecycle.
Kujala, S (2005) explained that customers are important stakeholders but customer buying a product for users, so that users are whose finally using the system.
Vince Bordo (2012) also stated that “User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is one sure way to reduce or eliminate change requests, and drastically reduce project costs”.
It’s clear now that users play a big role on quality of the product and improving it according to users’ feedback, the important point in this context is what user testing and how designer the measures efficiency of the users’ views. This can be converted to systematic process:
- Participation of User during early stage
- Participation of User after before finishing
- Participation of User for testing the product
The range for each stage can be adjusted according to size of the project, and possibilities of user participation usefulness.
User involvement during product testing ensures quality of the product in terms of functions of which the software created for according to given specifications from customer. While other part of the product quality for the software can’t be ensures by involving end-user, this part is structure quality: the way that how the software designed and programmed, software might works perfectly, but it might not be flexible for extensions. For this purpose, standards play a big role.
Users’ views of product during testing is not just improves the product, it also provides a good insight of which whether the product working or not, important points of failure if exists can be identified.
For our purposes, software projects or any other models requires a prototype before implementing the real model. For software projects, theoretical ideas might correct according to some assumptions, but in real world, values might be changed, then, testing is required for two purposes:
- for testing the product correctness
- for testing the product according to design purposes
Point 2 requires involving end-users whose using the system, this proves theoretical concepts of the prototype or the design concepts of the product.
- Eun-Ok Baek, Kursat Cagiltay, Elizabeth Boling and Theodore Frick (n.d.) User-Centered Design and Development [Online]. Available from: http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/Alhassan/Hand%20book%20on%20research%20in%20educational%20communication/ER5849x_C049.fm.pdf (Accessed: 17 October 2012)
- Kujala, S., Kauppinen, M., Lehtola, L., and Kojo, T. (2005) The Role of User Involvement in Requirements Quality and Project Success [Online]. Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1531029&isnumber=32667 (Accessed: 17 October 2012)
- Vince Bordo (2012) Overview of User Acceptance Testing (UAT) for Business Analysts (BAs) [Online]. Available from: http://www.develop.com/useracceptancetests (Accessed: 17 October 2012)