RST HTSM General Test Techniques - What is the difference between scenario testing and user testing?

This question goes to @mb1 about RST’s HTSM (section on general test techniques).

What is the difference between User Testing and Scenario Testing? It feels like Scenario Testing comes under User Testing. How can you define Scenario Testing without talking about users or vice versa?

2 Likes

Hello,

I think while there can be overlap there are (at least) two possible distinctions.

One is that not all scenarios may include users. Consider a scenario that is based on automated jobs that have to run on a schedule and/or based on certain conditions. It’s a scenario without actual user interaction.

Another possible distinction is that user testing not only focuses ON the users, it might actually include the users themselves. You may have a Beta or prototype and ask a certain set of users you have direct relationship with to test out and evaluate the product to see how they would use it (or what they think of it) rather than how you ‘think’ they might use it.

The BBST Test Design course also covers both of these. I’m sure there are loads of other resources out there as well, but this might be a good start. The slides and videos are available here:
https://docs.ast-bbst.org/test-design

1 Like

Let me provide a couple of hints, and see how they land for you.

  1. What is the difference between a user of the product and someone who might do something with the product?

  2. What compelling stories could we compose that were not centred on users of the product (or even on people generally), but that were about something else about the product?

Thanks Michael, I’ll answer based on my made up exercise below.

Context: Supermarket Self Service Checkout System

What is the difference between a user of the product and someone who might do something with the product?

The user of the product, my interpretation is the intended target audience for the product

  1. Grocery shoppers - scan items, pay for goods (target user)
  2. Staff members - manage the system, make sure the system is working correctly, stock up the moolah (target user)

Someone who might do something with the product are external to the above.

  1. Hackers who want to bypass the payment process (evil user)
  2. Supermarket companies who want to evaluate and assess the product (another type of user)
  3. Unattended children playing with the system while no one is watching (unintended user)

What compelling stories could we compose that were not centred on users of the product (or even on people generally), but that were about something else about the product?

Ignoring obvious stories of buying milk, what compelling scenarios can I think of about the product itself? With the help of @andy_hird’s answer above, I will jot down a few that relate to the system.

  1. The system updates the total number of purchases (daily overnight process)
  2. The system sends a weekly email to the manager. The email includes statistics on finances and breakdown of payment methods

I still get confused here because the system could be seen as another type of ‘User’. If this was an exam, I could potentially move this answer to the ‘User’ section. This leaves a blank page for my ‘Scenario’ answer.

@mb1 I enjoy your Socratic method of teaching, looking forward to joining a future class on RST but haven’t carved out the time yet.

Am I going in the right direction? I hope other MoT peops can chime in to help me solidify my knowledge.

As a side note, I’m trying to think of a handy acronym for the general test techniques. Any ideas for FCDUSRFAS? I split it up into three blocks and so far I’ve got FCD USR FAS - First Calm Down a USeR FASt. It’s not the best but it does the job for now.