Have you owned a mobile phone with mechanical buttons earlier? Yes or no, but now you are at ease and comfort using a flashy smart touch screen phone? The popularity of touch screens is an outcome of their functionality. Guess what ensures the reliability, consistency and timeliness of the responses to your touch screen gestures? Answer-usability testing by Robots!
Understanding gestures and the tests conducted on smart touch screen phones.
Single touch gestures are movements performed with a finger or an object (stylus) on the touch screen icon. These gestures are Tap, Double tap, Press, Flick and Drag.
Touch screen functions both as an input and an output interface. You tap or drag a desired icon on the touch screen (input touch), view the desired result (output result) and make your further moves.
Touch screen performance testing
The norm ISO/IEC 9126: Software engineering — Product quality mentions usability as one of the most important quality measures of an interactive system like a touch screen.
Usability – “A set of attributes that bear on the effort needed for use, and on the individual assessment of such use, by a stated or implied set of users” These are Understandability,
Testing and measuring touch performance is essential to guarantee functionality and quality for touch-enabled smart devices. Touch performance consists of the following measurable parameters:
- Tap accuracy
- Tap latency
- Swipe accuracy
- Reporting rate
The touch screen test cycles have frequent repetition and is not a once or twice affair.
Critical role of the testing platform provider
The most important advantage of Robotic testing is the precision and accuracy. The major premise is that the programming/ software are developed by humans for the specific tests, as per the relevant standards, free of bugs and malware and are tested for real time performance. Expertise in robotic arm calibration and testing device calibration are very important to achieve precision test performance of touch screens.
A . Robotic testing eliminates errors by human testers
Performance variability aspects with humans
A human usability test participant may act forgetful, inattentive, fatigued, careless, or in another way that may cause an error. For example, obvious symptoms of burn out include fatigue and objective work conditions that include monotony in work cycle involving repetitive operations. Knowledge and Skills are the important human factors needed to achieve best manual test results. Yet, slips and lapses, mistakes and violations are the major reasons for error occurrences.
“To err is human” is a valid statement. But not anymore in the context of Robotic testing!
To clearly understand how Robotic testing obviates occurrences of human errors, an insight into what such errors are, will be very useful.
1. Skill based errors- that occur in very familiar tasks which are otherwise accomplished without much need for conscious attention.
Failures in carrying out the actions of a task causes slips
Lapse of memory leads to forcedness for carrying out an action or to miss a step in a task or even forget what one should have done
2. Mistakes – mean doing wrong things while believing it to be right. So they are more complex type of errors made by humans.
Rule-based-Strong human tendency to use familiar rules or solutions even when these are not the most suitable, easy or efficient.
Knowledge-based-Improvisation in unfamiliar scenarios where there are no routines or rules available for handling such a scenario.
3. Violations-Intentional deviations from rules, procedures, instructions and regulations
Routine -Occur when breaking a rule or procedure has become a normal habit.
Situational – Caused due to time or workload pressures or other situation-specific factors such as weather.
Exceptional – Breaking the rule is considered worth the risk to solve a when something has gone wrong
Robots thus can test high volumes of DUTs, faster and with precision and accuracy
B. Elevates testing competency levels
Customers welcome technology and innovation. Touch screen being a critical element of a mobile phone, customers would evaluate the technology and the precision levels in the testing process. The benefits thus are:
- Precision testing increases confidence level in the purchaser
- Elevated testing competence boosts the company’s image as a quality testing hub
C. Provides higher customer service indices
- Meticulous test planning can be scheduled
- High volumes of DUTs can be accommodated
- Timely deliveries can be ensured
- All above leads to repeat customer orders
D. Other advantages
With multi tasking capabilities robotic testing creates intra company job opportunities. Now the company can deploy testing personnel into innovative functions and activities in the related areas.
Testing robots can perform in harsh work place environments, like high relative humidity (RH) and temperatures, where humans cannot work.
Maintain the confidentiality and integrity of test data. Companies need not worry anymore about their secretive information being leaked out.
E. Enabler for companies in achieving long term objectives
Take for example the objective of a testing company is to achieve a level of testing 4X DUTs per month in the next two years! How will the company augment their resources for such manual testing? This situation demands the deployment of additional resources like:
- Purchase of additional testing machines
- Recruitment of more testing personnel and
- Arrangement for extra work space areas
- Deployment of robotic testing does away with such situational demands
F. ROI Benefits
1. Indirect benefits and savings
- Improved manufacturing flexibility by reprogramming robots for different testing runs
- Reduced work-in-process inventory by combining operations
- Floor space savings with flexible robot mounting configurations
- More efficient production planning and scheduling due to predictability of automation
2. Direct benefits and savings
Productivity gains are attained on the following fronts due to the absence of maintenance costs.
- Routine human breaks
- Injury times
- Frequent training
Robots are getting smarter with advanced capabilities and also the costs are scaling down. Now, those customers demanding a high volume of units, tested to precision and accuracy, delivered faster and at a cheaper rate, are well within your reach. It is convincing that robotic testing of touch screens is the best- fit proposition and is becoming indispensable. Go ahead and realize your plan for implementing robotic testing!