Some Useful QA Terms

Some Useful QA Terms

accessibility testing
Two commonly used meanings: 1, measuring how well the site supports different browser applications and different machine platforms; 2, measuring how easy the site is to navigate and understand by users with different interactivity impairments, such as blind users (utilizing screen readers) or mobility impaired users (using only keyboard commands).
affordance
Critical clues about a device’s proper operation as provided by the appearance of the device. Affordances specify the range of possible activities for interaction with a device. [Paraphrased from Don Norman's article "Affordance, Conventions, and Design" in Interactions, volume vi.3 (ACM 1072-5220/99/0500).]
compatibility
Basically, can two (or however many) given systems work together correctly? For example, browser compatibility is an issue of browsers being able to handle some capability or function; the implementation of JavaScript code often raises browser compatibility issues because different browsers vary in their ability to support the same JavaScript object model the same way.
component
Please see the comments on unit below.
defect, bug, problem
email, broadcast
Broadcast messages are sent by companies attempting to generate traffic, and are typically sent out of context of the reason the email address was collected in the first place.
email, event-driven
Event-driven email is sent in response to some kind of change of status of an order. For example, if an order was placed for a product that was supposed to be in stock, and the company’s fulfillment processes discovered that it was not currently available, the customer should be apprised of the change in delivery expectations.
email, subscription
Some commerce sites provide content — both custom content and re-purposed/re-packaged content — to users as subscription emails in the form of newsletters and special interest mailings. These mailings are voluntary opt-in subscriptions; if the mailings are not voluntary, or are opt-out, then they are typically labeled as spam.
email, transactional
Transactional email is sent in response to an action performed by a user; the archetypal example would be an email sent as confirmation for an order.
HTML
Hyper Text Markup Language, a subset of SGML that defines structural elements of an ASCII text file for display in a browser application.
HTTP
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, the protocol that describes the application that runs as a web server and serves various file types, including HTML files.
integration
Testing that verifies that a new functionality works when applied — integrated — into the existing code.
performance
1. How fast a page downloads.
2. How well a web server handles HTTP requests.
3. How fast a server program, CGI or macro can initiate, run, and die
4. How much load a server CPU can handle.
quality assurance
The process of enforcing quality control standards and working to improve the processes that are used in producing the web site and its components, infrastructure and content.
quality control
The directed use of testing to measure the achievement of a specified standard; the measurement and enforcement of a benchmark that says “the product must be this good”.
regression
A kind of test that verifies that old working code doesn’t break when new code is added. Typically, when new code functionality is added to an existing body of code, tests are run to make sure that every previously working functionality continues to work correctly.
security audit
An examination of the server access and file ownership privileges to verify that no security holes exist.
server
1. The physical box that runs the server portion of client-server programs.
2. File serving software itself, for example a web (http) server.
statement of direction
A statement of direction defines your path with the web site. A statement of direction shows your team what they are working for as a site goal. If your business goal is to launch this site and take over the market for product X, then your direction statement should be explicit on this point, and everything that goes on your site should somehow be in line with this goal.
task analysis
The study and examination of the typical end-user’s needs, goals, and tasks. Once the user’s behavior is understood, functions to accommodate the user can be incorporated in the software.
test case
A specific test to be performed, including the specific steps necessary for completing the test. Test cases typically describe actions or steps and the expected results of the action or step.
unit (and component)
The test of a specific code function; unit testing is performed by the programmer to verify the most basic of functionality before the code is passed to anyone else. With respect to a web site, a unit is the design for a specific page or category of page, and the functional specification would detail the functional elements of that page or page type. For example, the design for the page may require the following functions: email submission form, search form, context-sensitive navigation elements, logic to drop and/or read a client-side cookie, etc. These aren’t “look” issues so much as they are “functionality” issues. A component is a set of page states or closely related forms of a page. For example, a component might include a page that has a submission form, the acknowledgement page (i.e., “thanks for submitting”), and the various error states (i.e., “you must include your email address”, “you must fill in all required fields”, etc.).
usability
Analysis of the ease with which a function and/or interface can be understood and controlled by a user.
use case
An implementation-neutral description of a reasonable action or task that an end user might want to accomplish. For example, a user might want to browse a site, but not necessarily view a site map. The action is general, and the use case is a tool for evaluating whether the general action can be accomplished in the particular instance of the site.
user acceptance
A form of testing the measures a level of code against the customer’s requirements for the functionality; user acceptance testing is the barrier to customer sign-off on the basic ability of the code to meet the customers specified needs.
validation
Testing adherence to the HTML DTD [document type definition -- the specific tag syntax required by a particular "level" of HTML code].