A Conversation for Old Announcements: January - September 2011

Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 21

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

As someone who (less often than I'd like), gets paid to test beta sites and applications, I always thought the main point of a beta anythign from the perspective of the tester[s] was to see how long It takes to entirely break it... well that is how I do it smiley - blushsmiley - angel


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 22

Emmily ~ Roses are red, Peas are green, My face is a laugh, But yours is a scream

>>>I thought the point of a beta was to figure out what doesn't work, not to praise it. That's what I'd consider "good" feedback, the stuff that helps solve problems. smiley - huh<<<

I thought one of h2g2's best assetts is that we're quirky, we don't follow all the rules of convention. smiley - winkeye

There is a page (A76459170) for reporting bugs, and things that don't work (or go bump in the night). I've reported a few things there myself, and have seen others directed to that page to report faults.

What's wrong with a bit of praise, it makes the recipients feel warm and fuzzy smiley - zen

Emmily
smiley - bluebutterfly


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 23

Ancient Brit

Following post 6

They seek him here.
They seek him there
2legs is looked for everywhere.
Is he in heaven?
Is he in hell?
Perhaps a DNA site can tell.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/MP169793


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 24

Secretly Not Here Any More

Any idea when this is going live?


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 25

kea ~ Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded but very well read blue and white website

I think they're hoping before the end of the year.


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 26

Sean D Solle

> I thought the point of a beta was to figure out what doesn't work, not to praise it.
> That's what I'd consider "good" feedback, the stuff that helps solve problems.

and

> I always thought the main point of a beta anythign from the perspective of the tester[s]
> was to see how long It takes to entirely break it... well that is how I do it

Quite right, too:

http://h2g2.com/T7875558
http://h2g2.com/T7878070
http://h2g2.com/T7878100
http://h2g2.com/T7878314
http://h2g2.com/T7878467
http://h2g2.com/T7878525
http://h2g2.com/T7880348
http://h2g2.com/T7880978
http://h2g2.com/T7881068


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 27

Malabarista - now with added pony

smiley - ok

I don't mean to sound overly grumpy.

But I've just taken over as web editor at w*rk, and we're in the process of launching a new site that's just gone into beta. (As it happens, it's based on the BBC templates, too!)

And we can't get proper feedback here because everyone just says "yes, it's great!" out of fear that we'll be insulted if they point out the errors smiley - rolleyes


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 28

U173821

well, I think the 'destruction' side of beta testing is, of course, a very valid point.
But I think there is another very valid point to it - it is the first time the users get to really have a look at it and get used to it. This is important. It isn't just a case of 'whats wrong with it' but rather a case of "what works and what doesn't" - a two dimensional response, not one.

In the business world, where I think what we're calling beta test here is what I'd call user acceptance testing, it allows the users to see how the new system will fit with their current or proposed business processes. It also allows them to see how new features and functionality can be incorporated into their processes and routines. It allows for some sense of commonality between the two teams, a reassurance that what was wanted is what is being delivered. OK, this is slightly different as we, the users, are not the customers nor the definers of this change. But then the Beta test for hootoo (HooToo now?) is not just being released to us for testing - it's being released to us so we can have a look at what we're getting and experience it, get used to it, play with. And, yes, report any problems. We researchers are not playing just the strict role of tester here.

Positive feedback is very important on the 'soft skills' side for the whole team of programmers, designers, analysts, project managers, managers, consultants etc that have been slaving over it for usually quite some time. People work better when they feel motivated and relevant. Only feeding back issues and bugs leads to a very negative environment and does nothing to help things through.

Inevitably there will be negatives - that's the whole expectation, a beta version isn't ready and yes, a lot of the point is to find all the issues and fix them. But if you've been slogging away, doing your best to create something new and all you get is the negatives it isn't exactly helpful.

I've seen this lead to a real 'them and us' mentality in the development team - 'they' - the users - 'just don't understand how difficult it was, how much effort we've put, how much we've changed' or 'We put in all this effort and all they can do is pick holes, would it really hurt them to praise the bits that work well?'

There's nothing wrong with saying which bits work well and which bits you like. Positive acceptance is not the default assumption when nothing is said. If nothing nice is said, it is often thought that nothing good was found.

Saying nice things takes nothing away from the process and adds a lot to it. And people who feel appreciated are more likely to respond well and go the extra mile.


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 29

Emmily ~ Roses are red, Peas are green, My face is a laugh, But yours is a scream

Faults and problems are being reported, in the correct place 'H2G2 Read Only Beta' A76459170

Here's my two, nothing much, but then I'm not a techie (one of them was due to my error)

F19283566?thread=7875634

F19283566?thread=7882808

This thread is not for reporting faults and problems, that page mentioned above is. smiley - zen

Emmily
smiley - bluebutterfly


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 30

Sean D Solle

> Positive feedback is very important on the 'soft skills' side for the whole team of
> programmers, designers, analysts, project managers, managers, consultants etc
> that have been slaving over it for usually quite some time.
>
> People work better when they feel motivated and relevant.

*Very* well said.

There's nothing worse than having worked insanely hard on a creative endeavour, only to hear "It's very blue!" as the first bit of feedback.



Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 31

h5ringer

It is quite likely that a goodly number of readers and contributors to this thread are not familiar with some of the terms commonly used in software testing, so for general benefit the following broad-brush 'definitions' may help:

Alpha Testing - functional testing performed *by the system/program developers* to check for conformity to the design specification they were given.

Beta Testing - functional testing by a selected, expanded (and often invited) group of people *not involved in the software development*. Their task is *to try and break the program*, which often occurs because users do things quite differently from program developers.

User Acceptance Testing - quite different from beta testing. This is the final stage of handover from the developer to the customer, upon which payment usually depends. A group of users, appointed by the customer (ie whoever is paying the bill), who check *in detail* that all parts of the whole system/program conform to the system functional specification that defined in detail the users' requirements.

Thus each testing phase (there may be others) is done by a different group of people, with different skills and objectives. Feedback on the other hand is comments, both pro and con, about the new system/program - eg "I like the colour scheme" or "I thought the(...) function was supposed to be included" or "Why can't I view/update/delete my article from within the (...) screen."

Useful smiley - 2cents hopefully smiley - zen


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 32

Vip

And what glorious blue it was/is. smiley - loveblush

Feedback should be constructive, the context doesn't really matter. If a human (or their creation) is to be critiqued both positive and negative are needed to make sure that they can address the negatives without losing heart. Good managers make you feel good about your faults. It's an art, though.

smiley - fairy


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 33

U173821

h5ringer - a useful post - but unfortunately your definitions are not universal.

As I say, UAT to me, and has for the last 12 yrs across 4 different companies and many different customers, covers what you term as Beta Testing and UAT.

Indeed, in business IT terms, I've never actually worked anywhere that uses Alpha/Beta testing (that seems to be more a commercial software house thing). It has always been Unit Test, Link Test, System Test, User Acceptance Testing (or subsets thereof). UT/LT/ST are all done by IT bods. UAT is let the users loose time.

I'm not saying you are wrong, rather that there are a different systems and definitions.

Either way, my point about positive feedback stands. Saying what works well is useful both technically and personally.


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 34

h5ringer

Ictonian, you've highlighted exactly the problem I was trying to assist with.

There are specific terms used - but sometimes with different nuances between different companies - in the software development industry. I was trying to shred a little light on the terms that had been mentioned in this thread previously: alpha, beta and user acceptance testing. Unit, link and system testing are, as you say, all within the responsibility of the development team - I have merely lumped them together as Alpha testing for simplicity.

smiley - ale


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 35

h5ringer

Oh and I forgot to mention, yes I do have a commercial software house background smiley - biggrin


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 36

Ancient Brit

BBC's role in the internet world is still a beta experiment.
It is only when the BBC establishes it's rightful place in the internet world and H2G2's function within the BBC is clearly understood that we will we the final blizzard.
F19283566?thread=7886531&post=103170283#p103170283


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 37

paulh. Following butterflies through the meadows

Just a suggestion, which someone else may already have made:

Every so often, I can't get to H2G2 directly. I try to get around this by going to BBC and typing H2G2 in the "search" box. This usually works. It doesn't seem fair, though, that BBC doesn't have a prominent place to click on on its front page if you want to get to H2G2. It's as if they are ashamed of us, and hope that only those of us who already know H2G2 is there will try to get in. That's no way to attract new researchers to replace the ones who have left to follow their own personal rauinbows smiley - rainbow.

This will become even more critical if H2G2 has to be in capital letters. Those researchers who only check in every year or two will think we've gone belly up, and they'll just leave us for good.


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 38

Ancient Brit

Paulh - Follow the link in - Post 6


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 39

U173821

h5ringer - smiley - ok
Not trying to have an argument here, just clarifying.
I thought your post was saying that beta testing was exclusively for negative reactions (*to try and break the program*) and wanted to point out that positive feedback is an important part of all levels of testing and none need be purely negative by definition.

smiley - smiley


Tuesday 16 November, 2010 - Some Great Feedback on the Redesign

Post 40

Ancient Brit

ictoan - Could this be a beta version
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/MP173821


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