I’m Luke, a QA Engineer on the Data Platforms team. Data Platforms is a backend focussed team whose main responsibilities include ownership and maintenance of property upload tools as well as various sets of data. My role is assisting in the oversight of unit, integration and end-to-end tests as well as advising on established testing standards and recommendations for testing best practice.
BrainStation UX Design Training
Alongside work, I’ve spent the last couple of months completing a course on UX Design with Brainstation. I completed modules on the discovery and design phases of a project, undertaking practical work between each week’s lessons which culminated in a final project which I presented to the class. I’ve not only learned about the fundamentals of design, but I also gained a much broader, richer understanding of how my role as a QA fits into the overall user experience by emphasising the importance of the “finer details” when delivering an industry leading product.
As technology continues to advance, the roles of QA Engineers and UX Designers have become increasingly important in the development of software that delivers a high quality user experience.
Naively, I didn’t realise just how much work went into the discovery phase of a project. User interviews, user testing and constantly iterating after valuable user feedback was an interesting and invaluable insight. However, when we were briefed on our final project for the course, in which we could design an app for things like nutrition, travel, socialising and more, all I could conjure up in my head was how the app would look! I had a thousand different ideas, forgetting all about the discovery phase.
Alongside gathering user feedback I was introduced to Figma, a tool which can be used to wireframe and prototype design ideas. Trying to get to grips with the basics of Figma, which at the time was steep a learning curve, was still very enjoyable, nonetheless.
As the weeks progressed, I decided to focus my project on the Rightmove app, as I felt this would provide the best learning opportunity for me. Throughout the whole process I received so much valuable and insightful help from the Rightmove Design Team. They showed me that everything must be considered, and you can’t make any assumptions for the user and how they would use the app.
For example, I often found that I was getting ahead of myself and not asking simple, specific questions in user interviews and just assuming the user would know how to do something as simple as scrolling through the different options of a page or that these options were selectable. I learnt that writing concise and succinct questions gets responses of a much higher quality which massively benefits the end result of the product.
Here are a few points where I can now see a lot of overlap between the roles of UX Designer and QA Engineer:
Helping to make our products easy to use, intuitive, and providing a positive experience for the user. This involves a thorough understanding of user behaviour, as well as the ability to anticipate and address any potential issues or frustrations that may arise.
User Centred Design
Prioritising the needs and wants of the users of a product and striving to create a product that meets those needs and wants in the most effective and efficient way. QA Engineers and UX designers both rely on user feedback, usability testing, and other research methods to understand the user’s perspective and identify any potential issues or improvements.
Attention to Detail
Both roles require a high level of attention to detail in order to identify and resolve issues before they become a problem for users. This includes testing and debugging code, as well as creating wireframes, prototypes, and user flows to ensure a smooth and seamless experience.
Working closely with other members of the development team, including developers, business analysts and product owners. This collaboration helps to ensure that the final product meets the needs and expectations of the user, as well as the goals and objectives of the company.
Approaches to Problem Solving
Identifying and addressing issues with a product, whether they be functional bugs or user experience challenges. We use a variety of tools and techniques, such as user testing, user interviews, and prototyping, to gather data and come up with solutions to improve the product.
Overall, the roles of a QA Engineer and UX Designer may have different titles and responsibilities, but they both play a crucial role in the development of high quality software. By working together, we can create products that are not only functional and reliable, but also enjoyable and intuitive for users. My experience learning about UX Design has been extremely valuable in my work as a QA Engineer. It has helped me to understand the user’s perspective and think more critically about the overall user experience of a product. I believe that every QA Engineer should consider learning about UX Design, as it can only enhance their abilities and contribute to the success of a product.