Stale UI/UX Bug

It’s funny how some metaphors end up being about coffee, and how it ties into testing.

At my client, we have a coffee area with a spot for the coffee pots. Labeled on the spot is “Use 1st”, “Use 2nd” and “Decaf”. The Use 1st/2nd is for making sure we rotate the pots and have fresher coffee available, otherwise we’ll possibly have one sitting there all day getting cold.

Recently we added another kind of coffee. So now the labeling is wrong–just because a pot contains a different kind doesn’t mean it can’t be used 1st.

The “UI” is wrong now–it implies priority, instead of the choice, that we now have.

It made me wonder: how many bugs of this type are there in the UI/UX, that really make for a confusing customer experience? If new code is added that makes certain places in the UI out-of-date, and the customer uses the code wrong because of it, that’s a problem.

Whether the underlying code is wrong, or the interface tells the customer the wrong thing, it’s still a bug.

Sometimes the customer isn’t aware of new options, so they might do some weird, wonky workaround stuff to get what they’re wanting, and not realize there’s a much easier way to do it. But, they traverse some oddball places in the underlying code, which can reveal bugs.

Or, an option that was previously a binary choice now has multiple ones. The UI may not have been updated everywhere, that may make use of the new options.

These kinds of bugs would be difficult to catch, because either we know about new functionality already, or we’ve got “muscle memory” when it comes to testing our own systems.

As you develop your product more, just be aware of how it might be used. See if you can get some fresh eyes on it, and have people who may not even be familiar with it, run through it and do some usablity testing.

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