U and I in Assurance


Sivaraman Ganesan

VP and Global Head, Assurance Services

Human-computer interfaces have evolved steadily, perhaps stealthily over the years. Depending on our initiation into the world of computers, our experiences have ranged from variants of punchcards, keyboards, the mouse and of course touchpads and icons. For sure, tactile screens are all the rage now while voice recognition and eyeball-tracking seem to be on the prowl. The brain computer interface (BCI) is another emerging story altogether.

Anyways.

As far as assurance is concerned, classic user-interface testing and usability tests have been around for a while now. Be it screen design, aesthetics or transactional design the notion of “designing for usability” and “ease of use” has been around. “Ux” is the term used now and we see many a variant of the assurance needs for elegant user interfaces.

Life’s getting more complicated though.

Tactile and responsive web designs may be the rage, but Google Glass type revolutions are just around the corner.

As assurance professionals, one sees phenomenally intriguing challenges here. One has to understand the requirements, use cases, design, technology and happy/sad paths of apps that use these technologies. The test strategy, plan, scenarios, data and environments are varied and voluminous. In classic testing one talks of drivers and stubs. Of late we talk of virtualization and how one isolates and validates/verifies services in isolation and then in harness mode. The new assurance era will demand much more engineering, instrumentation and sophistication in how we assure the human computer interface (HCI).

I am fascinated by a few basic scenarios:

  • The types of test scenarios, cases and steps one will have to write and execute to cater for an app retrieving the right data in acceptable response times when the eye-twitch invokes a Google Glass transaction.
  • The virtualization of a test environment for simulating a human neural activity for a BCI app.
  • The risk based testing approach one needs to cover all permutations of an HCI transaction.

One can go on.

The point is: Assurance for usability and superior consumer experience is fast moving from simplistic visual validation and verification to utterly complex sophisticated engineering for human/brain computer interfaces which require variety of skills. Lines are blurring in the high-velocity world of high-frequency multi-architecture disaggregated transactions which need to be intuitive, elegant and sound.

Skills ranging from testing to engineering to analytics to cognitive science will be needed for sure.

Stay tuned. Infinite are the needs and possibilities in assurance!

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