Archive for October, 2007

Don’t Forget To Test Your PDFs

Monday, October 8th, 2007 by The Director

The Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) file has become ubiquitous on the World Wide Web (WWW), and a lot of times Web site and content creators don’t give it a thought when they plop files out there on the Web site or generate them dynamically. Since they’re out there, you need to make sure that they’re correct and proper.

So what should you look for when you’re reviewing PDFs?

(more…) Fails Backward Compatibility

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by The Director

Et tu, JavaScript Error
Click for full size
This error occurs in Internet Explorer 6.0, but not in 7.0, apparently. Some of you, the Web developers amongst you, no doubt, sigh and say, “It’s bad enough we have to develop for that Microsoft Proletariat Web browser, but why do you even think we should make our elaborate, elegant, and perfect in Firefox sites work with the old version of IE? Don’t you know that Microsoft pushed it out as an automatic download? Only you QA malcreants would even dream of testing in it!”Well, bub, these numbers would indicate otherwise:

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 42.75%
Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 34.60%
Firefox 2.0 13.57%
Safari 41 3.91%
Opera 9.x 0.86%
Firefox 1.5 0.85%

In a lot of cases, large corporations don’t push out the latest browsers to their large numbers of desktop users right away, and if your site is broken for IE 6, it’s broken for unhip corporate drones. You know, Internet users.

How’s Your Section 508 Compliance?

Friday, October 5th, 2007 by The Director

If you’re building Web sites or Web applications, you better know what Section 508 Compliance means, because the wild litigants do:

A federal court judge’s ruling this week that, the home page of retailer Target Corp., must be accessible to blind persons under California laws, could extend state and federal disabilities statutes to the Internet.

The ruling is part of a memorandum and order issued by Judge Marilyn Patel of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in connection with a lawsuit  filed last year alleging that Target had failed to make its Web site accessible to the blind, and then ignored the issue when confronted with complaints.

What does this mean for QA?  A larger number of unspoken and overlooked requirements that you’ll have to test for, every thing, every time.

Some Recruiters Are Twits

Thursday, October 4th, 2007 by The Director

My experience with recruiters at staffing companies has never been sterling. When I was looking to move from technical writing to software testing, I interviewed with a recruiter and explained how easy it would be to make the move, how I logged more defects as a technical writer than all but one of the QA staff at my then current employer, and whatnot. He understood, thanked me for interviewing, and then via e-mail presented me with a list of technical writing jobs. Because that’s where the company could make the money from me most effectively right away. They weren’t really interested in my growth in other areas or trying to place me in a QA position because there was no money in it for them.

But one exchange I recently had with a recruiter was particularly disingenuous.

Trivia Question

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 by The Director

Did you know that Internet Explorer after an IE 6 security fix will display a box around Adobe Flash objects that tells the user to click to activate and use the control?

Neither did the “professional” developers of these splash screens:


But It’s Web 2.0

Monday, October 1st, 2007 by The Director

Someone else has been sold a bill of goods, getting the site that its developers/vendors wanted to create rather than what its users needed:

Executives at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia took great pains earlier this year to make certain the company’s redesigned Web site looked flawless before rolling it out to the public.

After all, this is a media company whose magazines, books, products and programs feature ideas about attractive and tasteful lifestyles. Why not a beautiful Web site?

“That was a big mistake,” Wenda Harris Millard, the company’s president of media, said this week during a panel discussion at Advertising Week. “We put beauty before utility.”

She said the front page, with its video player and jazzy graphics, included only about five links to actual content, “so the things people were looking for couldn’t be found.”

The mistake, she said, was in failing to understand that “when the reader or viewer or listener becomes the user, what she’s looking for is much different — at least initially.”

Beware any vendor that wants to build you something without understanding your users or audience.  Like as not, its rock star developers/designers have some things they want to try out that probably won’t benefit you but will look really nice on their resumes.

Thank Goodness Software “Engineers” Aren’t Civil Engineers

Monday, October 1st, 2007 by The Director

Otherwise, we would see this in the defect tracker:

Defect # 102033
Title: Striking bridge support at speed greater than 60 mph causes bridge to collapse
Severity: Critical
Problem: If a driver strikes a support beneath the overpass while exceeding approximately 60 miles per hour, the support will buckle and the entire span and bridge will collapse, killing the driver of the car that struck the support, the passengers, and any people passing over the bridge when the support is struck.

To recreate:

1. Drive northbound in car at 62 mph.
2. Guide car into support.

Support should not buckle nor should the bridge collapse when struck by such a light object at such a low rate of speed.

Developer’s Note: In a real-world scenario, users would not deviate from the approved workflow by crossing the yellow line that demarcates the edge of the roadway. Also note that posted speed limits are 60 mph, so users would not exceed this posted limit.
Project Manager’s Note: Rejection approved. Add to construction notes document.

Thank goodness we keep these madmen in ill-lit cubicle cells where they can only harm information and not real people.

(Originally posted on Musings from Brian J. Noggle.)

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