The second part of my chat with IBM Senior Test Specialist, Mark Halliday, as we continue our discussion around the importance of functionality and usability in marketing and software testing.
Jay: So, you use eggplant part of your testing process? I’m assuming that’s the software that you use maybe amongst others. Can you tell us more about eggplant and how it’s used?
Mark: Yeah, so whilst I am a tester, what I’m really doing at the moment is working as a developer. Eggplant, as a tool, has its own proprietary language, Sense Talk, which is based on the Java language, and what we do is take the regression tests that the manual testers have already tested, and know should pass, and we then build what is essentially a piece of software in itself, to run those tests. We build the software, if you want to call it that, which the manual testing will then run. And then, as with any software, like the software that we would be ultimately testing that we build within eggplant, we have to make sure that it has the right functionality and the right usability; much in the same way that you would have to do with marketing.
Jay: Yeah, that’s right. I mean functionality and usability is probably one of the most critical aspects of marketing that often gets overlooked. In today’s competitive landscape, it’s not now enough just to have a great product or service, you’ve gone to also ensure that your marketing efforts effectively can communicate value and provide a seamless user experience.
Mark: I suppose that with the way things are today. If you have a great product or service, there’s somebody else that has a virtually identical, similar quality product and service. You need to market your products in such a way so that it stands out from your competitors.
Jay: Definitely, and a great example of something that I’ve come across only recently was, you wouldn’t have heard of this, but in Australia we have this thing called Fetch TV. Which is essentially TV service where you get a box, like a set top box, and you get all your channels through it similar to sky. Fetch has just rolled out what they call an upgrade to its to its platform and they’ve just been inundated by really bad reviews saying that “it’s a downgrade”. The mismatch of the language between the “upgrade” and how bad the system has been reported to be, it’s just fascinating. I was reading the other day, that when you’re on the program’s listing and to select a program, you’ve got the main button to select to play a particular channel, you’ve got an information button which should show information, and you’ve got a record button on your remote to do those three things, but if you roll over a particular program and select information, it brings up a menu that has, at the top, select channel or view Channel, the second option is Record Channel, and the third option is to view Information. So they’ve added an extra step. It’s and the reviews are on productreview.com.au tyat are fascinating to see.
Mark: “Here’s three buttons and now we’re going to make them completely redundant.”
Jay: Exactly, exactly. So previously you could just press information and you would see the information on the particular program, now you’ve got to select information, press down twice, and then press the accept button to see the information. So yeah, it is fascinating.
Jay: And if we look at functionality, and how it refers to the core features and capabilities of product or service, and usability, which focuses on how easily users can interact with and derive value from it. It’s vital for marketers to align functionality and usability with their marketing strategies.
Jay: But that’s just the beginning. Usability plays a crucial role in marketing success. We need to create marketing collateral that is visually appealing, intuitive to navigate, and delivers a seamless user experience across different touchpoints. Whether it’s a website, a mobile app, or social media content, every interaction should be designed with the end-user in mind. We should also seek feedback as well which is what Fetch is currently doing. I believe they’ve just recently rolled out a kind of a patch, even though they’ve claimed that, you know, they’ve done hours and hours of user testing. But now they’ve added a patch to remove some of these features. So yeah, customer insight can provide valuable input in how we can improve our marketing collateral to better meet the needs and expectations of customers. Actively listening to their feedback can help us make informed decisions and enhance the functionality and usability of our marketing efforts
n.b. All the views and opinions expressed in this video are those of the individuals and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.