Do you include usability tests in your continuous delivery pipeline? If not, you could be making a big mistake.
Usability testing, which entails having actual users test an application for user-friendliness, intuitiveness and accessibility, gets easily lost within the DevOps conversation. If you want to do continuous delivery, waiting on manual usability tests may seem like a major barrier.
Why Usability Testing Matters
Yet, DevOps teams that ignore the importance of usability tests do so at their peril. Continuously delivered apps will provide little value if they are difficult for ordinary people to use. Users have little tolerance for applications that lack usability.
It’s worth noting, too, that DevOps makes usability testing even more important than it would be within a waterfall delivery chain. When you do continuous delivery, your software changes more quickly. That increases the chances of introducing a change into production that negatively impacts app usability.
How to Do DevOps Usability Tests
So, how can you do proper usability testing without slowing down your continuous delivery pipeline? Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution. Unlike integration and unit tests, usability tests cannot be easily automated.
You can, however, work closely with your in-house QA team to perform usability tests before changes reach the production stage of your pipeline. This will work as long as your QA team is able to replicate real-world usability conditions well.
Alternatively, you could release changes to a select group of users before making them generally available. Those users would then test for usability issues quickly and report them to you before your updates reach the wild. This scenario would essentially mean doing a very fast beta release for certain users. If that seems unfeasible, keep in mind that, as long as each of your continuously delivered changes is minor, quick beta testing is manageable.
Whatever you do, the most important thing is to avoid ignoring usability testing. Otherwise, all of the hard work you put into continuously delivering your app could be for nought.