This post is the second in a three part series. In the previous part I went through the user tour, this blog focuses on the data tour. A tour is a method to explore different aspects of an application. In the four hour tester, there are 11 tours and the acronym mentioned is FCC CUTS VIDS.
To apply the data tour to Google Calendar. Take 5 minutes.
Data tour - Identify the major data elements of the application.
I used the same approach as last time.
My approach is simply to engage with the product, recording myself in the process. The tools I used for this experiment are:
- Windows countdown timer to limit myself for 5 mins per tour.
- OBS to record myself doing the tour on Google Calendar. I narrated my thoughts out loud I went through this exercise.
Here is a product coverage outline that I made when doing a data tour:
EVENT Event Name Start time day month year End time day month year Time zone All day Yes No (default) Frequency Doesn't repeat Daily Weekly on Monday Custom Repeat every... Repeat on (weekday) Never end Ends on Ends after (x occurrences) etc. Guests First name Surname Email Optional? Rooms Location Add video conferencing Notification Add notification Delete notification Label Visibility Free Busy Notes Going? Yes No Pending (unanswered events) Maybe Delete? # Where do deleted events go? Does GCal keep a record of them? CREATE Event Focus time Out of office Working location Task Appointment Schedule
This felt boring, I just listed obvious elements of Google Calendar that I’m familiar with. I could probably do this without even touring. You can see this is long and in fact, I don’t think all of the elements are considered ‘major’. Did I go into too much detail? Maybe I did because a ‘tour’ suggests a high level view of things, not staring into the sand.
Write down 3 things you would want to test for this tour.
The complexity with calendar events will be in the interaction between dates, frequencies and timezones. When we are talking about ‘major’ data elements, my mind automatically zooms in to these points on the list.
- Start time
- End time
- Time zone
- All day
It’s hard to choose 3 things but based on combinatorial testing of the above, I would start with these questions:
- Does the calendar event show and terminate as expected for the owner?
- Does the calendar event show and terminate as expected for the guests?
- Does the calendar event show and terminate as expected on create and edit?
How did this tour help you to come up with different test ideas?
The data tour shines a light on the different data used and how they potentially interact. This prepares you to consider the wealth of data that your app needs to address. In doing so, you might uncover edge cases or scenarios.
It’s not only the data that you are looking at, but also the format of the data. If I think through each area that I listed above, certain questions float in my mind:
- Different countries have different ways to display date/time.
- How do they show on Google calendar?
- Are users able to enter date/time in the format they’re familiar with? (e.g. dd/MM/YY vs MM/dd/YY)
- What logic is used when creating, editing and viewing calendar events across different timezones? Imagine a global team of remote workers, would the calendar events work as expected for them?
- What if you enter data in a format that the form does not expect?
- How is the data stored on processed? Is the format and data transformed in any way through this process?
Maybe I missed the point of this exercise. Would it be more organized if I listed the points like this? Maybe this fits the bill better?
- Date/Time - Start date, start time, end date, end time, includes all day?
- Timezone - Is it on a calendar level, user account level?
- Frequency - How is this stored and processed?
What I did learn is, you might also need to consider what data you don’t see. For example, when you delete an event, does that mean the calendar event is forever poof? Or is it stored in the database somewhere still?