Testing software is about evaluating the capability of a system and determining whether it meets the required results. But that’s not all that it’s about, particularly when it comes to systems designed to disrupt the traditional way that industries work with documents.
To get closer to the point, I’m going to share a few words about the product that I’m testing. It is an online editing tool which is designed to meet specific needs of large enterprises with an extensive document workflow and complex business logic. It is in demand primarily by financial institutions, such as banks, that face policy management and compliance challenges, but also by law firms, insurance companies, municipalities – or rather, any enterprise where there is a need for an innovative solution to rid document workflow processes of dated practices. The platform helps to eliminate the tiresome and costly burden of extensive document versions and trails. This is achieved by users working simultaneously on the same document on a platform with smart functionality and adjustable features.
ClauseMatch perceives any text as a number of structured paragraphs, which makes it possible to work on each paragraph as a separate entity within the document, with the help of some key features: editing permissions, simultaneous and real-time editing, commenting, tracking authorship and all changes in a convenient audit trail. The platform allows you to configure lots of things manually too: categorisations, metadata lists and notifications amongst other things. With the help of integrated tips and explanations, it was clear and simple to see what’s going on in the system.
So, what is specific about testing this kind of online document editor? Generally, it’s about concentrating on the platform from a user’s perspective: you need to see the platform and its functionalities from your user’s eyes, literally diving into your customer’s skin. You need to keep answering the questions: who are your users? What are their main functionality needs? Why have they decided to switch to a new form of document collaboration? What’s most important for them? QA specialists need to understand the reasons why a customer has adopted the product and in particular, understand how they will be using it in order to discern the functionalities that are critical to them.
Although ClauseMatch’s document editing tool can be applied to any industry that has a use for documents, one of the first client cases was with a major, global bank. This client has a reputable history of supporting innovations and had set high security and feature requirements on the platform. Some features were designed especially for the client in order to meet their specific needs.
Users within the bank can customise the platform to suit their daily tasks: add approval stages, use smart fields and issue granular user permissions at a paragraph level. In addition, users can track all changes with precise authorship details made in different versions of a document in a full audit trail. All editing actions can be timely observed through adjustable notifications, with the addition of providing statistical reports. Users can also categorise and search through the documents in addition to searching within these categories. All of these features are rich in functional flexibility and modes of application, which demands an inquisitive approach to testing.
Before testing each feature of the online document editing platform, I begin by thoroughly analysing any new functionalities and its possible interactions with other modules based on the user’s pattern of work. I construct a range of scenarios to test and verify with the user. Next, a checklist is made to enumerate all the scenarios, then the testing of the new functionality begins.
A notable feature of the editing tool is the different permission levels set by the users. Before testing this functionality on behalf of a QA, a special matrix of user permissions was prepared. It was necessary to consider the maximum number of intersections sufficient for verification to prevent an override of authority, where group-level or individual user permissions were granted. Testing was carried out in a real-time, simultaneous mode on a document to make sure of its immediate update and correct application of user permissions.
One of the very useful features implemented on the platform is the email notifications. QA testing was focused on all the possible cases and the accuracy of its content. Also, in consideration of the user, a limit was imposed on the number of notifications that could be sent to prevent an inbox blockage. A multitude of settings was tested for all types of notifications.
Other important capabilities include an export to PDF and DOCX formats. An additional testing environment was created to experiment with this functionality, which was filled with documents from the client’s server. Accordingly, tests were carried out on the documents and a comparison was conducted with the initial DocX files, which the users were accustomed to working with prior to their subscription to ClauseMatch.
Lastly, although by no means least, the design testing of the online platform is crucially important. The team pays particular attention to the user interface (UI), which is one of, if not the most important component of user testing. High-quality UI allows users to enjoy working seamlessly with documents and makes monotonous, repetitive work a lot more pleasant, quicker and efficient. That’s in fact what makes your users fall in love with documents. The design verification of the system is also subject to testing. The online platform deals with many complex policy documents and the use of colours was carefully considered to contribute to efficient collaboration, by not misleading or distracting the user. The menu layout and buttons ought to be intuitive and easy to use. UI is a broad domain and has many implications if not treated attentively. However, this could be the basis for another discussion altogether.