Functional testing and exploratory testing go hand in hand. As sister testing practices, both exploratory and functional testing practices are essential when uncovering issues that negatively affect a website or app, during both the development and live stages.
What is exploratory testing?
Unlike functional testing, exploratory testing techniques tap into the human and intuitive activities users perform when browsing and performing conversions on an application. The main appeal of exploratory testing is that it cannot be scripted or automated. Instead, testers are given a project brief outlining core areas for investigation and told to explore, hence the name exploratory testing. It's important to note that this testing method doesn't aim to break the structure of an application, instead it looks for all of those little, unusual issues that often go undetected. Subsequently, ensuring the security of an application is always maintained. Read our Website Testing 2020 guide here.
Exploratory testing in action
As a general rule of thumb, we offer exploratory testing along with functional testing in one set package as it provides the greatest amount of coverage possible. Due to the overall simplicity of exploratory testing, the test can take anywhere from 24 hours to 72 hours depending on the scale of the test or website complexity. In other words, the test can be launched and completed over the weekend, with the results ready for internal investigation on Monday.
Previous exploratory testing on a live site revealed an issue whereby the site's CMS (content management system) broke after a user visited the terms and conditions page. This action corrupted all of the site's images, forms and call-to-actions making the site effectively redundant and vulnerable to security breaches. Even though this journey may be deemed highly unlikely by c-level voices, as only 1% of your traffic actually visit the terms and conditions page, it is still a critical issue that needs to be identified and resolved immediately.
Say your site receives 10,000 visitors a month, even if only 1% go onto the terms and conditions page, that still means that 100 different people have viewed this issue in action, opening your site up to potential hacking attacks.
Deploy the testers
Given that exploratory testing cannot be automated or entirely scripted, human interaction with a site or app is essential if you want a successful exploratory test, with accurate and informative results. Naturally, crowd-sourced testing is the next best option for any company looking to perform website testing. But with so many different types of crowd-sourced testing companies out there all bombarding you with deals and promises, how do you filter out the good from the bad?
Digivante's Head of Community Luke Edwards explains what makes their testing community so efficient and effective, specifically during exploratory tests:
We have tens of thousands of testers across the world, covering hundreds of different countries, who are all managed and trained by our UK-based internal teams. Depending on the type of testing we are doing, and the type of professionalism required for a particular test, we will choose testers that can provide the greatest level of testing quality, specifically catered to the test in question.
Every one of our testers has to go through a training programme hosted on a private platform which assesses the quality of their testing abilities, highlighting any issues to our internal teams.
This is what makes our testing group a community instead of a crowd, as they are all regulated and in frequent communication with our UK team.
Exploratory testing is essentially partnered with functional testing as it examines the human and often odd actions performed on a site or app, mimicking natural human intuition. Combining these two practices together into one package means that the results sourced from the test cover both the scripted journeys that are essential to your conversion rates, as well as, the way in which a site reacts when in the hands of your digital users.