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Peripheral Testing

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If anyone has played basketball during their school or college time then they would have got the lessons from their coach about peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is important in the game as it allows you to:

  1. Confuse the guys from other teams by looking at one member of your team and passing the ball to another member.
    2. It helped you to pass the ball, at the right time to the right person, who is free at that moment.
    3. It also helped you to see if someone is approaching you in order to block you, or coming from your back side to take the ball from you.

There are many other things that the game coach would have taught us, but the point is that he want to make us perform all sort of practices required to help us develop our peripheral vision which is required to play this game.

So what is Peripheral Vision?

Each one of us has some level of peripheral vision in us. Believe me or not, but we do have it!

Peripheral vision is the part of our vision that is outside the direct purview of our vision. It is the ability to see something that is not in our focus. Unlike Arjun, the focus should not only be on the eye of the fish but also on the surrounding area.

If we are staring straight ahead and without moving our eyes we are aware of objects which are in the surroundings, then the area in which they fall is our peripheral vision.

But, we are not concerned with peripheral vision, what we are concerned with is peripheral testing. Does it really exist?

 Peripheral Testing

Peripheral testing is the art of discovering issues in areas of a product which are not directly under test. This is what most of the testers do every day without even noticing it.

Example: While testing the search functionality on a given page if we discover that the copyright content is missing or incorrect on the given page. So while we might be expecting flaws/bugs in the search functionality we are discovering copyright content to be incorrect, which was not directly expected.

Another example for the same is while testing of upload functionality, “Disclaimer” text is having spelling mistakes like “advice” misspelled as “advise” which is not a part of functional flow.

1 more example may be casing of letters in a sentence. Many times we read text by ignoring the case of alphabets. This is not a functional bug but is a severe bug.

This kind of ability is very useful for testers but sometimes these kinds of bugs are missed because we are too focused on only the given. These types of skills are usually developed with experience and time. But there are few ways by which a person can develop this skill and can use the same during testing.

 “Discovering the unexpected is more important than confirming the known.”

Ways to develop Peripheral Testing Skills:

  1. Make it a habit to always recognize and validate the bigger picture. It is very similar to focus/de-focus technique but applied on low level. Example: while testing login functionality it might be worthwhile to explore various medium/channels through which login could be done.
  2. Test twice, once to validate given functionality and secondly to do a general scan of the entire page/application under test and outside test as well.
  3. Do more pair testing and PAT from other teams. When 2 or more people look at the same thing, chances of finding bugs becomes higher. Get PAT done from people who are unaware of the stated functionality, who interact/use the application more like an end user.
  4. Loose focus: As a tester we mostly have to validate the same things multiple times, in such cases we normally stay focused on the functionalities of feature, and keep on becoming more and more granular/focused. But we should learn to look at other non-impacted areas too regardless whether they were mentioned in our testing scope or not.
  5. Also to become a good peripheral tester, one should be a good observer for which one should practice solving puzzles which are based on patterns. This will help you to find differences by scanning pages. Example:



And Finally,

As per the famous quote “Time as he grows old teaches all things”, there are some things that come with time & experience. Peripheral testing is one of them!

It is an acquired skill which will get developed as we test more and more.

As it is rightly said “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.”

So go testers and find the bugs which you have not noticed yet!

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