Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blink test using browser tabs - Blink tab test?

Michael Bolton describes Blink Test and many other quick tests here:
Blink Test
Find an aspect of the product that produces huge amounts of data or does some operation very quickly. Look through a long log file or browse database records, deliberately scrolling too quickly to see in detail. Notice trends in line lengths, or the look or shape of the data. Use Excel’s conditional formatting feature to highlight interesting distinctions between cells of data. Soften your focus. If you have a test lab with banks of monitors, scan them or stroll by them; patterns of misbehaviour can be surprisingly prominent and easy to spot.
I had to test the (supposedly) same registration form across different services.
Here is the image of the different services that we support:

Either you can open the registration form on one service, test it to your satisfaction and close the form. Then you can move on to the next registration form.
You can open the registration forms for all the services and test them simultaneously. 
I followed the second approach and opened each form on a new tab.

Then I thought of checking if there was any inconsistency across forms. To start with, I clicked on each tab using the mouse. As it was time consuming and distracting, I switched to Ctrl + Tab. There were six tabs open. I pressed Ctrl + Tab to move to each tab. Slowly, I increased the pace. Then it was fast. I had the keys pressed and it was a blink test in action.

Here is the sample video highlighting the Blink test.The test was quick and highly valuable for the cost involved. Apart from checking the basic look and feel of the form, position of different elements, I tested for error messages for each field.

The only issue I faced was that I had to align the screen's position after every request sent to the server on each tab so that there was very little difference in the position of the screens. Once the position was set, it was easy to concentrate on the different elements.

Have you tried any similar tests? What was your approach?
I would like to hear about your experience.
By the way, I thought I will name the test as Blink Tab Test :)


Joe said...

Yes. I've done some blink tests very similar to what you mentioned.

I wrote about them here:

Jari Laakso said...

Hi Ajay,

Thanks for the great post and clearing out what you meant! Yes, I've done similar tests since working with web services. It's a quick way to do basic checks. I use it sometimes when I believe I have seen something inconsistent on a page. Of course, it doesn't work nearly with all web services, but with the ones it does, it's definitely included in the testing rounds.

I have done a lot of what Michael Bolton described, too. I have used it for all sorts of (data) comparison, such as bank transactions, bug summaries and errors in status changes. However, I wouldn't call it a blink test, because in this context what I described the "blink" part doesn't illustrate the test, but the duration. When I still thought I am funny, I used to call it the GOD test (glance over data), but later on I came to the conclusion (Fast) Data Browsing Test described it better. Everyone with their own term. :-)

One additional check to what you described. If you have a computer with many browsers, you can take screenshots from a certain page and use them as layers on a picture. Once you have all the layers (as in screenshots from different browsers) at place, you might see some interesting differencies. It is something I have used as a complimentary to what you described.

Have a relaxing Friday and a fun weekend!

Best regards,