Great thread! I usually explain what I do by asking them:
“You know when you go to the ATM and it won’t do what you want it to do? What if you take money out, ask that it prints out a ticket and it doesn’t?” -they nod. I say “Well, that’s kind of what my job is but not with an ATM, I do it with [insert product I’m testing at that moment], but basically what I do is investigate if things work, why they don’t and also question how they work, work with other people to see if there’s an easier way to do it.”
I also use other examples depending on who I’m talking to. For example, I’ve used Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram as an example when trying to explain younger people what I do.
I doubt it’s the best way to explain it but the people I’ve explained it like that to (grandparents, my mom, friends, aunts and uncles) got it pretty fast.
(Sorry I didn’t stick to the “one sentence” prompt…I’m a rebel)