The sheer joy and anticipation of Augmented Reality (AR) as referenced in a previous post, is still in its infancy within commercial markets and promises next-generation experiences for the senses. But how can something like this be tested?
Testing Legacy Digital Systems
When testing digital applications, whether on a mobile device, a standalone kiosk or the web, the technology allows for scripted, automated and measurable testing with consistent results; the functionality either meets or does not meet specifications and requirements. Once the testing has passed a significant number of tests, it can then be rolled out to a consumer panel for real-world usability testing and feedback. A recruited consumer can be asked questions that gauge how easy the application is to navigate or where their natural eye falls. The consumer may be asked to perform a task and the number of steps it takes for that consumer to complete a goal is measured and used to inform what tweaks are necessary to make the application more user-friendly and intuitive.
QA for AR?
This whole process, used time and time again, works for “legacy” digital applications using existing systems. However, what about AR where the experience of each consumer may be different and therefore subjective? And, do the companies need to onboard all-new front- and back-end technologies to design, develop and test these AR features? Some of the questions that arose for me include:
- When requesting descriptive feedback from the testers, how do we qualify the responses? ‘What do you see’ can yield many different responses and will depend on the testing environment, the user’s device settings, etc.?
- How are the test results affected by the physical abilities of the testers? AR primarily focuses on the senses; sight and sound. How does the testing allow for physical inabilities to see certain colors, hear various sound ranges or the subjective nature of the tester’s description (i.e., the dinosaur is blue, teal, purple, grey, etc.)? How does the company ensure a fair degree of accessibility testing is performed and that a representative segment of the consumer-based is included in the testing and evaluation?
- The physical space of the enhanced objects within the tester’s space. Does the enhanced object become distorted by the “real” objects in the space and vice versa? How does the positioning of the user affect the enhanced object?
It feels to me that the mastery of some of these considerations will contribute to a product or service that is user-friendly, intuitive and “real” to the consumers for which it is intended.
What are some of the questions that come to mind when you think about how can Augmented Reality, so intangible and unique to the individual, be tested on a broader, standardized scale?
Ciklum. (2018, September 14). 5 Use Cases Of Augmented Reality That Boosted Businesses’ Sales. Retrieved from https://medium.com/swlh/5-use-cases-of-augmented-reality-that-boosted-businesses-sales-2114ac35bf5a.
Devn Co. (n.d.). Augmented Reality Testing. Retrieved from http://apptestingexperts.com/tag/augmented-reality-testing/.
How To Test Augmented Reality Apps: Practical Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://mobidev.biz/blog/how-test-augmented-reality-applications.