How We Test

OUR TESTERS FOLLOW A CAREFUL DISCIPLINE designed to explore many dimensions of a product. But before we explain all that, if you are a vendor of products having a speech interface, be sure to read the "Beating the Competition" section of For Vendors Only to give you some perspective on what follows.

The tester group looks at three product aspects specifically:

  • bugs - failures of the product to meet the specification
  • usability - ways in which the product impedes a user's attempt to do things within the specification
  • expandability - ways in which the product impedes reasonable use beyond the specification

We take a very hard-line position about usability and expandability. This is in contrast to other reviewers. For example, with products having a speech interface, other reviewers consider accuracy of recognition a prime factor, presuming its glitz will excuse other product failings.  We tend to take a lenient approach to recognition accuracy. So our ratings of those kinds products will often be not as glowing as reports found elsewhere.

We emphasize usability because errors will occur as they would even with a live human friend. So, a much more relevant concern is how easily errors can be corrected.

We stress expandability because inevitably a user is more imaginative about the ways to employ a product because of rising expectations associated with computers that can now seemingly do anything. We believe, therefore, that for any product to survive, product designers must pay attention to reasonable applications of the product outside of the original target design.

More on bug testing...
More on usability...
More on expandability...





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Page Last Updated: 07/14/03