Los Angeles, CA
Real-World Usability Testing
Combining state-of-the-art technology with on-demand manufacturing, MashON provides the eCommerce industry with a truly unique product customization platform. Based in Los Angeles, this promising startup has been helping stores of all sizes extend their offerings, reduce inventory risk and improve their margins since late 2005.
As MashON was readying itself for the launch of the latest generation of its Customization platform, the company recognized a need to enhance it software testing methods and procedures.
"Given our application is primarily aimed at consumer usage, we identified the need to dramatically expand our testing. uTest made perfect sense for us, since we couldn’t possibly stack up enough of these machines and environments on our own."
-- Philippe Benoliel, CEO, MashON
This case study will show how uTest helped MashON achieve complete usability testing with real-world members of its global community of software testers. Additional topics will include the extent of testing coverage, the role of project management and other aspects of the uTest experience.
MashON: Testing Goals and Objectives
Philippe explained that while the MashON platform is cutting edge, they still needed to verify the application’s functionality and usability in older environments (think IE6 on dial-up). For this reason, the status quo of testing was not an option they could afford.
"For this type of testing, automation was not going to benefit us," explained Philippe. "We needed real feedback from actual testers, and uTest helped us achieve this without any constraints in terms of cost and time."
Working with his uTest project manager (there’s one assigned to every customer account) the MashON QA lead would assemble a testing team diverse in terms of geography, experience, hardware, software and other categories.
"The variety of users we got would have been impossible without uTest," said Philippe. "We had lots of different eyes, different cultures taking a close look at our product. It was certainly a valuable experience for us."
After the initial setup, MashON's new virtual QA team would spend the next 5 days reviewing the application. Like many uTest projects, testers were not given any explicit instructions, as they had been asked to search the app in an exploratory fashion. At the conclusion of the test cycle, each tester was requested to complete a brief survey, where they would offer their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
MashON: Testing Results
Often times, uTest customers run usability testing to get confirmation or validation of their existing UI, user flow and overall ease of use – resulting in minor changes to the underlying structure of their application. But the testing results received by MashON would prove to have much greater implications.
"We got such a great sense of what worked and what didn’t, that it led to a much more thorough understanding of how users viewed and used the application," explained Philippe. "It also inspired redesign of the application UI, so the testing results were fairly significant."
Summary and Next Steps
In the end, Philippe and his team at MashON had received exactly what they had been looking for: real-world usability testing that spanned different cultures and technical requirements. As the company pushes forward with new innovations in the field of eCommerce, they expect uTest to play a significant role in their success.
"I definitely see us using uTest again in the future," said Philippe. "I know that there will be future needs for load testing and mobile app testing as well. We always continuing to improve our product and processes – and uTest is a big part of that philosophy."
Philippe also noted that the entire process was greatly simplified with the help of their dedicated uTest project manager.
"With most companies, you dial a hotline and wait to be helped,” said Philippe. “But with uTest, our project manager was always available on phone and Skype. It was really as if he were a part of our own team."