Thursday, October 25, 2012

Testing a NUI (Natural User Interface) application fit for a King!

It all started 2 years back in Riyadh, a place in middle of nowhere. If you like desert then that is a place to be. Now imagine interacting with Sheikhs (customers) for requirements who don’t really understand English. Potential users include Ministers, Crown Prince and King of Saudi Arabia himself. To make things tougher, how about having a team that consist of people from 12 different nationalities and trying to execute an agile project from 6 different geographies & time zones.


Major Test Challenges

As you would have guessed, it didn’t start all very well as we had our share of tough times and nervous nights before Sprint demos in front of the customer and esteemed guests..

Other major challenges

1. Lack of strategy and wisdom around testing NUI applications

2. Unavailability of Hardware (Surface 2.0) during development phase

3. The application was in Arabic and finding a way to test it using English data

Key Test Learning

The new learning for us was testing NUI based multi-touch machines. The following approaches helped:

1. Focus was given to Usability guidelines, wireframes and working closely with UX designer to ensure that the ‘look and feel’ of the application is apt for the local taste and the expectations of the high ranking officials to make give it rich experience..

2. We used Surface simulator for testing the application on non-touch machines and all-in-one multi touch machines as an economical alternative when Surface 2.0 wasn’t available. When Surface 2.0 was available the final round of testing was done on it.

3. We proposed Visual Studio Database features to maintain Arabic and English version the data and Resource files to have the labels in Arabic & English. That helped in switching the content to English or Arabic by just changing minor configurations.

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