Complete Guide to Usability Testing

Whether it is a myth about usability testing or its process, we offer you details that matter.

Let us now begin our today’s discussion on how to perform usability testing for your website and discuss various methods to do so.

When you visit a website, like Amazon, eBay, etc., what is the one thing that makes you stay there? Is it the design, offers, or the fact that you can use it easily and find relevant information or product effortlessly? Though all these factors are crucial for retaining a visitor, it is the ease of usability and satisfied user experience that guarantees your happiness and encourages you to stay on a website longer.

complete guide to usability testing

So, what is this usability and why is it so critical for your websites?

Nowadays, when the number of the competitors is increasing rapidly, design and content are not enough to retain users, it also requires engaging, intuitive, and responsive user experience, which should be considered by the designers and development teams during the development phase.

Usability, which is defined by ISO as “the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in the specified context of use” is, therefore, an integral part of a website and is ensured with the assistance of usability testing.

The question then arises:

What is usability testing and how it helps ensure the usability of a website?

Asking people to review your work, might be a time-consuming task, but it always works in your favor. This process can be applied to any discipline, especially to improve the user experience.

Usability testing is one such method of user research or review, which is used to validate the design decisions for an interface as well as to verify its quality, accessibility, and usability by testing it with representative users. It helps create a website/product that connects with users and establishes credibility, builds trust, and ensures customer satisfaction.

Usually conducted by the UX Designer or user researcher during each iteration of the product, it enables them to uncover various issues with the website’s user experience and resolve them to ensure it is usable enough.

Hence, usability testing ensures that the interface of a website is built in a way that it accurately fits the user’s expectations and requirements. Moreover, it determines whether it is user-friendly and if users will come back to it or not.

Methods used to test your website:

An area of expertise of UX/UI designers and developers, usability testing, is performed with the assistance of various methods, which help the team accumulate necessary details about the website’s usability.

Popular testing methods are:

  1. A/B Testing:

    A/B testing or split testing is used for an experimental analysis, wherein two versions are compared by the team to choose the best version of the website or its component and to determine the one that performs best.

  2. Adv:

    It uses a qualitative and quantitative analysis that validates the intended goal.

  3. Remote Usability Testing:
    Another important method of usability or user testing, remote usability testing is used when the user and researcher are in different geographical locations. This test is moderated by an evaluator interacting with the participants using various screen sharing tools.

    Adv:

    It offers developers more realistic insight than lab research and allows them to conduct more research in the shorter period of time.

  4. Co-discovering Learning:

    In co-discovering learning, users are grouped together to test the product, while being observed. Test users talk naturally with one another and are encouraged to define what they are thinking about while performing the allocated task.

  5. Adv:

    This helps measure the time taken to complete different tasks as well as the instances where the users asked for assistance, among other things.

  6. Expert Reviews:
    Expert reviews involve UX experts who review the product for any potential issues or defects, which are evaluated by them with the assistance of the following techniques:
  7. Eye-Tracking:
    This method of usability testing is used to capture physiological data of users conscious and unconscious experiences of using the website. During this testing, the motion of the eye, its movement and position are tracked, to analyze user interactions and time between clicks.
  8. Adv:
    It helps to identify the most eye-catching, confusing and ignored features on the website.

    Read more about eye-tracking.

    But wait, there’s more:

    Apart from these testing methods, there are other effective methods that do not require any test lab and can be executed without investing any technical efforts.

  9. Questionnaires, Surveys, & Interviews:
    An effective method of usability testing, questionnaires, surveys, & interviews involves asking several questions from the users, which helps the researches get informative feedbacks in real time.
  10. Adv:

    Performed when there is a requirement for a large number of opinions, these methods help avoid ambiguity and deliver structured information.

  11. Realistic Scripts & Scenarios:
    This method of usability testing involves both developers and tester, who work together on a preplanned test scenario and imitate the steps that a user while accessing the website.
  12. Adv:
    They act as a user and replicate the anticipated steps a user takes, which are then assessed by the developers to improve the website’s usability.

  13. Drawing on Paper:
    Drawing on paper is a popular & cost effective method of usability testing used by designers and developers, wherein they create a website prototypes on a paper and let users test it and its various components, like controls, bars, sliders, etc.
  14. Adv:

    This is an effective testing technique as it allows the developers to gain relevant feedback on the paper prototypes easily.

  15. Think Aloud Protocol:
    Also known as lab usability testing, think aloud protocol, is a qualitative data collection technique, used to understand the user’s own reasons for their website usability behavior.
    During this process, test sessions are either audio or video recorded for developers future reference.

Whether a website or an app, these methods of usability evaluators can be used by the team to get real users data, which can be utilized to make the product suitable for the target audience.

Now, let’s move on to understanding the process of usability testing.

Process of Website Usability Testing:

The process of usability testing is a simple one and can be executed either by the developers, testers or appointed users. It follows a set of five steps which are:

  1. Planning:
    The test begins with the team identifying the goals and defining the scope of testing. Furthermore, they agree on the metrics, determine the cost of the usability study and create the test plan and test strategy.
  2. Recruiting:
    Once the necessary plan is prepared, the team and the resources are assembled and the tasks are assigned accordingly. Finally, the team lead or manager decides the reporting tools and templates, which will be used for test execution.
  3. Test Execution:
    It is in this stage of the process that the team performs the usability test, during which they communicate the scope of testing and capture unbiased results.
  4. Analysis:
    After test execution, the team categorizes the results and identifies the patterns among them, which are then used to generate inferences.
  5. Reporting:
    Finally, once the analysis of the results is completed, the team offers actionable recommendations as well as stakeholder briefing, to help rectify issues and to remove any issues regarding the testing.
  6. Advantages Offered by Usability Testing:

    By investing in usability testing, you will not only make your users and potential clients happy but also reap various other benefits, which might help you increase your ROI and create a renowned reputation in the market.

    We’re not through yet:

    You will also enjoy various other benefits, like:

    • Improve Retention Rate:
      Retaining customers is an important source of income for the organization in the retail world. By conducting usability testing organizations can improve the retention rate, as it allows them to understand why users are leaving their site and take necessary preventive measures.
    • Reduced Costs:
      It is comparatively cheaper to conduct usability testing, rather than creating a new website or redesigning a one that does not meet the requirements of the user and offers them an unsatisfactory user experience.
    • Understand User Behavior:
      From determining the most engaging elements on the website to identifying the pattern of user behavior, usability testing helps the team immensely and offers them data which can be used to create a better website.
    • Detect Bugs & Defects:
      Usability testing is immensely helpful in detecting defects and bugs that were not visible to the developers.
    • Reduce Support Calls:
      By conducting usability testing, the team can minimize the number of support calls or inquiries users will have to make to the help desk, as they’ll come across fewer usability problems and queries.

    Conclusion:

    So, these are the various ways to perform usability testing for your website.

    Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

    Which of these methods do you like the most and which one do you find to be the most effective and useful?

    Also, if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments section below.

    If you are still unsure about usability testing, you can contact our experts and get usability testing as per your requirement.

How Cloud Makes Big Data Better?

Information technology at one time was that exclusive club that allowed only the elite few such as very large organizations and government bodies etc. through its doors. The story is quite different today. The rise and adoption of technologies such as the cloud have led to the democratization of IT, increasing the reach of technology, enabling cost reductions, and providing a plethora of applications to choose from without making any heavy investment. The cloud has given the much-needed horsepower to make the world more software defined. It hardly comes as a surprise that the cloud ranks high up in the priority for organizations across the globe.

Along with the cloud, we have also witnessed the rising importance of Big Data. Big Data has moved from the ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ initiative as we move deeper into the data economy. The promise of valuable insights to create competitive advantage, drive revenues and spark new innovations are reason enough to bring it on the agenda of all kinds of businesses. As the adoption of Big Data and Cloud continue to increase, we are witnessing a growing interdependence between these two technologies with the promise of phenomenal gains.

How cloud makes big data better?

  1. Convergence – is the name of the game:
    While big data and cloud evolved independently over time, today these two technologies are becoming increasingly intertwined. The growing volumes of data and the need for faster analytics have driven big data to the cloud. Organizations today are looking at new data models derived from structured and unstructured data sources, they need complex event processing applications, they need usage-based compute resources, and they demand greater computing power. With an on-premise data store, processing and analyzing these high volumes of data becomes hard to execute. And given the operational and management costs associated with these on-premise solutions, it does not present itself as an agile and cost-effective solution.
    The cloud, on the other hand, helps in alleviating the enterprise data load and offers not only greater computing power, increased storage, and data agility, it also makes it infinitely easier to analyze and derive faster data insights.
  2. A conversation shift:
    With the conversation moving from ‘where can we store all this data’ to ‘what can we do with all this data’, organizations are moving towards an orientation that is more outcome-based. Clearly, cloud computing and big data are better together. With a growing dependence on data, enterprises are looking at greater effectiveness from big data platforms. With the greater integration of data from both structured and unstructured resources, the big data platform that we need must be highly scalable, elastic, and performance driven. And this can be achieved by leveraging the computing capabilities of the cloud.
  3. The need for greater scalability:
    Performance issues such as latency have no place in the enterprise today. When it comes to analytics, latency can play havoc with performance. The lack of efficient data warehousing and an inability to access real-time BI to answer business queries is a challenge that can be navigated using the cloud. Latency can be brought down efficiently to almost single digit milliseconds using the cloud to create direct interconnections between the data and the analytics. The need for additional processing power can also be addressed with the cloud as it is always there for the taking.
  4. The financial advantage:
    Cost is an obvious advantage of the cloud. On-premise big data storage and analytics can cause a huge drain on the IT budgets as the organization then becomes responsible towards maintaining the big data centers. The cloud, on the other hand, makes no such demand and gives the organizations the flexibility to maintain small and efficient data centers that can be scaled on-demand. The cloud also makes it much easier to gather external data, something that is growing exponentially today. It also enables data access anytime, anywhere without any additional infrastructure demands, thus making it more cost-effective.
  5. Increased collaboration:
    Analytics is collaborative. Collaboration is also a driver of cloud adoption.
    BI and big data analytics work better in the cloud as the cloud provides ready access to data, BI, and processing applications. The cloud makes it possible to share visualizations, share data, and perform cross-organizational analysis. This makes the data analysis available to a distributed user base as well and makes information more accessible to a broader demographic.
  6. Better maintenance and lesser complexity:
    Analytics platforms, like software products, need maintenance. They need frequent upgrades, redesigns, migrations…the list goes on. By moving the analytics platform to the cloud, organizations can ensure that everything remains up-to-date at all times. The cloud also takes away the cost burden of over-provisioning for peak consumption as organizations can access on-demand scalable resources. With the convergence of cloud and big data, today we have cloud-based analytics applications that move the analytics closer to the data. Cloud analytics platforms also take away the effort that goes into putting together a functioning analytics platform. With a ready-to-use data processing and analytics setups, organizations become capable of accessing real-time data-driven insights faster. The can hit the ground running, as it were.

Big Data is only useful when it is used for analytics. It is also clear that the data deluge is only going to increase. And organizations will be hungry to use this rising deluge to their advantage. The key insight from this post is that this will only be possible by multiplying the power of big data with the advantages of the cloud.

The 3 Indispensable Elements of an IoT Solution

IoT (and the things it can do) is one of the most widely discussed technology topics today: from precision farming to remote health monitoring, smart TVs to energy management systems. IoT is bringing a transformation across industries; it is predicted that by 2019, the IoT market will reach $1 billion. However, it is still a distant dream for most organizations do not yet know how to build a successful IoT solution. Although the use of smart, modern, innovative devices is commonplace, these tend to operate in isolation and not in a dynamic, interconnected world as the best Internet of Things solutions should.

3 Indispensable Elements of an IoT Solution

Elements of an IoT Solution:

For organizations looking to move from a disconnected world to a new, connected one where boundaries between hardware and software systems are constantly blurred, there are challenges at every level. These range from overall architecture to device connectivity, and data security to user interaction. Also, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of standards, technology options, and product capabilities. If you’re looking to build a successful IoT solution, there are the 3 indispensable elements:

  1. Hardware: The hardware you choose impacts your IoT solution in a variety of ways: device cost, capabilities, user experience, and more. Hence, choosing the right hardware is imperative to the success of your IoT solution. Start by identifying the kind of problem you are trying to solve. Next, make a list of likely solutions and use cases. And lastly, determine where and what degree of personalization you would require. Platforms like Raspberry Pi offer an entire Linux computing platform with USB, HDMI, and Ethernet port connectivity for building a top-notch IoT solution. Hardware platforms like these enable you to:
    1. Build custom chip designs and directly integrate sensors within the chip.
    2. Drive sufficient power efficiency, with an appropriate form-factor, and ruggedness.
    3. Integrate complex onboard analytics to run complex algorithms.
    4. Wire the chip such that only relevant information is sent to the cloud.
    5. Enable design modularity to accommodate future hardware upgrades and ensure maximum scalability and ROI.
  2. Software: Although the hardware is an important element of any IoT solution, it cannot by itself deliver results. For that, the device must be loaded with APIs and software development kits that let you build cutting-edge IoT solutions. It can be said that any IoT solution is only as good as the software that binds it. AWS IoT for instance, allows you to connect devices, secure data and interactions, process and act upon device data, and enable offline device interaction. Robust IoT software platforms like these allow you to:
    1. Integrate several capabilities and features into one solution.
    2. Build a high level of security and ensure strict software quality measures.
    3. Continuously monitor and review the code to avoid any failure.
    4. Build scalability and flexibility as per the need.
    5. Collect and manage data and enable analytics and visualization.
    6. Enable remote connections to all devices in the ecosystem.
  3. Cloud: The main aim of any IoT solution is to connect and allow communication between devices, people, and business and operational processes. Since IoT devices generate massive amounts of data, and the analysis and processing of that data need to be completed quickly and easily, managing the flow and storage of this data is a herculean task. Cloud computing with its different models and implementation platforms plays a very important role in enabling seamless communication. Google Cloud IoT offers a fully managed and integrated set of services for easy capture, management, and analysis of IoT data from globally dispersed devices on a large scale. Cloud computing platforms like these enable you to:
    1. Optimize investments in extensive hardware and management of physical network and infrastructure.
    2. Speed up the development process and cut down on costs.
    3. Manage and analyze data instantly and enhance the overall efficiency and functioning of your IoT solution.
    4. Enable application development portability and interoperability across the ecosystem.
    5. Gather data from the IoT device, transmit to the cloud, analyze it, and provide it back to the end-user in the form of actionable information.
    6. Scale up the infrastructure, depending on your needs, without setting up any additional hardware.
    7. Enable remote device life-cycle management including device registration, updates, and diagnosis.

Establish the Right Strategy:

IoT presents enormous opportunities for virtually every business; according to IDC, three industries that are expected to spend the most on IoT in 2018 are manufacturing ($189 billion), transportation ($85 billion), and utilities ($73billion). It’s fair to assume that a variety of other industries will follow suit in short order. The onus of a successful IoT solution lies entirely on the ecosystem it is built upon. This is a complex undertaking and requires careful consideration of each of the 3 main factors to provide a great experience for the end-user. With the right strategy in place, you can open the door to smart analytics, application management, and data security, to successfully ride the IoT wave.

Watch Out for these DevOps Mistakes

The past few years have witnessed the meteoric rise of DevOps in the software development landscape. The conversation is now shifting from “What is DevOps” to “How can I adopt DevOps”. That said, the Puppet’s State of DevOps Report stated that high performing DevOps teams could deploy code 100 times faster, fail three times less and recover 24 times faster than the low performing teams. This suggests that DevOps, like with every other change in the organization, can be beneficial only when done right. In the haste to jump on the DevOps bandwagon, organizations can forget that DevOps is not merely a practice but is a culture change – a culture that breeds success based on collaboration. While DevOps is about collaboration between teams, continuous development, testing and deployment, key mistakes can lead to DevOps failure. Here’s a look at some common DevOps mistakes and how to avoid them.
Watch Out for these 8 DevOps mistakes

  1. Oversimplification:
    DevOps is a complex methodology. In order to implement DevOps, organizations often go on a DevOps Engineer hiring spree or create a new, often isolated, DevOps department to manage the DevOps framework and strategy. This unnecessarily adds new processes, often lengthy and complicated. Instead of creating a separate DevOps department, organizations must focus on optimizing their processes to create operational products leveraging the right set of resources. For successful DevOps implementation, organizations must manage the DevOps frameworks, leveraging operational experts and other resources that will manage DevOps related tasks such as resource management, budgeting, goals and progress tracking.
    DevOps demands a cultural overhaul and organizations should consider a phased and measured transition to DevOps implementation by training and educating employees on these new processes and have the right frameworks in place to enable careful collaboration.
  2. Rigid DevOps processes:
    While compliance with core DevOps tenets is essential for DevOps success, organizations have to proactively make intelligent adjustments in response to enterprise demands. Organizations thus have to ensure that while the main DevOps pillars remain stable during DevOps implementation, they make the internal adjustments that are needed in internal benchmarking of the expected outcomes. Instrumenting codebases in a granular manner and making them more partitioned gives more flexibility and gives DevOps teams the power to backtrack and identify the root cause of diversion in the event of failed outcomes. However, all adjustments have to be made while remaining within the boundaries defined by DevOps.
  3. Not using purposeful automation:
    DevOps needs organizations to adopt purposeful automation – automation that is not done in silos like change management or incident management. For DevOps, you must adopt automation across the complete development lifecycle. This includes continuous delivery, continuous integration, and deployment for velocity and quality outcomes. Purposeful end-to-end automation is essential for DevOps success. Hence organizations must look at complete automation of the CI and CD pipeline. At the same time, organizations need to keep their eyes open to identify opportunities for automation across processes and functions. This helps to reduce the need for manual handoffs for difficult integrations that need additional management and also in multiple format deployments.
  4. Favoring feature-based development over trunk-based development:
    Both feature-based development and trunk-based development are collaborative workflows. However, feature-based development, a development style that provides individual features their isolated sandboxes, adds to DevOps complexity. As DevOps automates many aspects of the code between development and production environments, keeping different conceptual flavors around the codebase makes DevOps more complex. Trunk-based development, on the other hand, allows developers to work in a coherent and single version of the codebase and alleviates this problem by giving developers the capability to manage features through selective deployments instead of through version control.
  5. Poor test environments:
    For DevOps success, organizations have to keep the test and production environments separate from one another. However, test environments must resemble the production infrastructure as close as possible. DevOps means that testing starts early in the development process. This means ensuring that test environments are set up in different hosting and provider accounts than what you use in production. Testing teams also have to simulate the production environment as closely as possible as applications perform differently on local machines and during production.
  6. Incorrect architecture evaluation:
    DevOps needs the right architectural support. The idea of DevOps is to reduce the time spent on deploying applications. Even when automated, if deployment takes longer than usual there is no value in the automation. Thus, DevOps teams have to pay close attention to the architecture. Ensure that the architecture is loosely coupled to give developers the freedom and flexibility to deploy parts of the system independently so that the system does not break.
  7. Incorrect incident management:
    Even in the event of an imperfect process, DevOps teams must have robust incident management processes in place. Incident management has to be a proactive and ongoing process. This means that having a documented incident management process is imperative to define incident responses. For example, a total downtime event will have a different response workflow in comparison to a minor latency blip. The failure to do so can lead to missed timelines and avoidable project delays.
  8. Incorrect metrics to measure project success:
    DevOps brings the promise of faster delivery. However, if that acceleration comes at the cost of quality then the DevOps program is a failure. Organizations looking at deploying DevOps thus must use the right metrics to understand progress and project success. Therefore, it is essential to consider metrics that align velocity with throughput success. Focusing on the right metrics is also important to drive intelligent automation decisions.

To drive, develop, and sustain DevOps success, organizations must focus on not just driving collaboration across teams but also on shifting the teams’ mindset culturally. With a learning mindset, failure is leveraged as an opportunity to learn and further evolve the processes to ensure DevOps success.

All you need to know about the AngularJS – ReactJS choice

With a variety of frameworks available in the market, deciding which web application framework to use can become overwhelming. There are a host of factors to consider including the libraries they offer, the database access options, templates, and code reuse. JavaScript frameworks are developing fast, and frameworks like AngularJS and ReactJS have become extremely popular. With over 318,754 unique AngularJS domains and 214,467 ReactJS domains, the choice is not easy. Let’s look at both these frameworks to see what may best suit your needs.
reactjs-vs-angularjs-framework

AngularJS

AngularJS, an open-source JavaScript-based front-end web application framework primarily maintained by Google. It provides a structure for building an application end-to-end: from writing the code and designing the UI to testing. It addresses many of the challenges encountered in developing single-page applications. It simplifies the development and the testing phases and allows for automatic synchronization of models and views for improved testability and performance. Like similar frameworks, AngularJS offers multiple solutions and designs and is used by several organizations such as AWS, YouTube, Google, Nike, PayPal, Upwork etc.
Key Features:

  • AngularJS offers an out-of-the-box MVC framework that automatically combines all the elements, making it easier to build client-side applications.
  • It uses HTML to build the user interface. This is easy to understand and simple to organize and maintain.
  • Being an end-to-end, full-fledged framework, it requires minimal coding and can run on any browser or platform.
  • AngularJS drives context-aware communications. This ensures the right messages are sent to the right nodes at the right time.
  • The dependency injection feature enables one object to supply dependencies to another object. This allows greater flexibility and cleaner code.
  • Custom directives enable assignment of the right attribute to the appropriate elements.

Advantages:

  • The MVVM (Model-view-view-model) allows different developers to work simultaneously on the same sections using the same set of data.
  • Since AngularJS relies on TypeScript, it offers more consistency and enables faster compilation.
  • Detailed documentation enables developers to easily get the information they need.
  • The two-way data binding reduces the impact of minor changes, minimizing the possibility of errors and eliminating the need for additional effort for data sync.
  • Being open-source, AngularJS is constantly updated and improved through contributions from developers everywhere.
  • AngularJS developers and designers constantly collaborate and contribute to the community. The global community support is excellent. This enables quick familiarization with concepts.

Disadvantages:

  • The earlier versions of AngularJS bring with them complex Angular-specific syntax that drives a steep learning curve.
  • The physical DOM is hard to manage and update.
  • Migration issues make it tough to move from an older AngularJS version to a newer one.

What is ReactJS?

ReactJS, an open-source JavaScript-based library primarily maintained by Facebook, offers a robust base for developing single-page web or mobile applications. Being declarative in nature, ReactJS makes the process of creating rich UIs seamless. It ensures the code is predictable and easier to debug. Since it is component-based, it ensures seamless integration of different components written by different people without causing major ripples through the codebase. The ReactJS ecosystem comprises many building blocks and online tools and is used by several organizations such as Instagram, Netflix, WhatsApp, Airbnb, Microsoft, Facebook etc.

Key Features:

  • The Virtual DOM enables developers to focus on writing the JavaScript code without worrying about updating React components or the DOM; when any data changes, the virtual DOM automatically updates the user interface.
  • The component-based architecture makes components easily reusable, enhancing their testability and maintainability.
  • By using JSX to write views, ReactJS enables JavaScript and HTML to operate in a single file.
  • External plugins enable developers to interface ReactJS with other libraries and frameworks.
  • In order to design an app interface, developers can either use nested elements (by including a reference to the child class within the render method of the parent class) or loops (by combining numerous HTML elements into an array).
  • Server-side scripting can be enabled with Node.js. Developers can create dynamic web page content before the page goes to the web browser.

Advantages:

  • The simplicity of syntax makes ReactJS easy to learn.
  • Since ReactJS is universally flexible, the libraries can be paired with all kinds of packages.
  • ReactJS gives developers more control to size an application by selecting only those things that are really necessary offering extreme flexibility and responsiveness.
  • The Virtual DOM makes arranging documents in HTML or XML formats much easier while developing different elements of the web app.
  • Since data flows only in one direction, the result is better data overview and easier debugging.
  • Downward data binding ensures child elements do not affect parent data.
  • Being open-source, ReactJS is constantly updated and improved by contributions from developers everywhere.
  • The presence of codemods ensures a seamless migration from earlier versions to newer versions.

Disadvantages:

  • The absence of systematic documentation and limited guidance makes development tricky and, sometimes, risky.
  • Since ReactJS is not a full-fledged framework, developers require deeper programming knowledge for integrating the UI library into the MVC framework.
  • Developers may take more time to get familiar with ReactJS as each project architecture varies.

Choose the Right Framework:

Clearly, choosing the right framework for your web application has to be a top priority. Since the framework you choose can have a direct bearing on your ability to meet your current requirements and as well as future needs, choosing between AngularJS or ReactJS is an important decision. While AngularJS offers more consistency, is easier to develop and compile, the complex Syntax and physical DOM make development a little tricky. On the other hand, ReactJS offers a shorter learning curve, is flexible, and easier to debug, but, the absence of documentation and the requirement of deeper programming knowledge make it more suited for professional developers. For the experienced developer, there is no substantial difference in the frameworks; but your choice will have to be driven by your business requirement, your web application goals, and your system constraints.

Check back with us if you need any help in picking what’s right!

Are you missing on these latest eCommerce web trends?

Ecommerce has come a long way from the time when a tiny company called Amazon started selling books online. Today predicted sales in the eCommerce industry are expected to cross $27 trillion by the year 2020. The mobile revolution further fueled the eCommerce revolution and today, you always have your favorite store in the palm of your hand. Almost 11% of online shoppers shop online using their smartphones. 35% believe that the mobile will become their preferred purchasing tool. 39% of the shoppers look towards social networks for purchasing inspiration. Clearly, eCommerce is evolving at a rapid pace. With every product imaginable available online and the increasingly mobile nature of the eCommerce customer, just having a good eCommerce website is not good enough anymore. Consumers today expect that online transactions will mimic the engaging and immersive in-store experience, eCommerce companies must make sure that they follow the latest trends to stay their customer’s preferred online shopping destination. Here’s a look at some of the latest eCommerce web trends you cannot afford to ignore.
latest ecommerce web trends

  1. The ‘motion’ experience:
    Motion is making big noise in eCommerce design this year. Subtle animation, some form of movement on the website, to engage the customer will be a UX imperative this year. The idea of introducing motion is to attract the consumer, keep them engaged, and make the online shopping experience more alive. You could, for example, use animated iconography like Etsy uses to notify people when a product is almost sold out. However, as with everything else, minimalism rules here as well. Don’t overdo the motion experience. This could annoy more than improve.
  2. The Social Connect:
    Today, 9 out of 10 people turn to Social Media before they make a buying decision and almost 75% of people purchase something after seeing it on social media. The Shopper Experience Index reveals that shoppers lean heavily on visual content to absorb the experiences and behaviors of others and to discover the products people are using on social channels.
    Social shopping is expected to be one of the biggest eCommerce trends for 2018. This provides retailers with the opportunity to showcase their products on the social applications their consumers spend the most time with. Levis, for example, added the social connect to their eStore and found that almost 30% of the website traffic started coming from Facebook. Adding the social connect to your eCommerce website will become imperative to give today’s shoppers the opportunity to purchase a product without switching between websites or applications.
  3. Shoppable videos:
    We all know that videos are a mainstay in the eCommerce landscape. They play a big role in drawing the crowds to your website. However, 2018 is all geared to be the year of shoppable videos, where the consumer will be able to shop for a product or service directly from the video itself. Shoppable videos reduce the catalog browsing time for the consumers while providing them with the best visual shopping experience. Global retailers, Marks and Spencer’s have given this trend a try already by selling their new denim collection via such videos wherein the customer could pause and purchase the denim at any point directly from the video itself.
  4. The omnichannel transition:
    The customers of today demand a fully integrated and unified shopping experience. The Shoppers Experience Index 2018, thus unsurprisingly shows an accelerating transition among online retailers towards providing customers with an omnichannel experience. Retailers thus need to focus heavily on delivering a high-quality customer experience that is consistent across online and offline channels irrespective of device. This omnichannel approach allows the customer to view the product on any device, ship purchases to stores, have in-store purchases shipped to them, and process returns and exchanges in any store location. With this approach, Online retailers can truly increase their market reach and develop the capability to sell online as well as offline. They can effectively ‘be everywhere’.
  5. Artificial Intelligence is on the rise:
    AI is going to take eCommerce to the next level. eCommerce companies such as Amazon and eBay are already leveraging AI to improve the online shopping experience. Did you know that Amazon’s recommendation engine drives 35% of the company’s sales? In 2018, Use of AI in eCommerce in the form of chatbots and AI assistants, smart logistics for automated warehouse operations, recommendation engines to analyze customer behavior, and in making hyper-personalized product suggestions will see significant growth.
  6. Voice search to become more commonplace:
    Voice search is geared to take off this year as voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa become more commonplace. Research suggests that more than 40% of millennials use a voice search before making a purchase online. Almost 20% of Google searches on mobile are voice-based. With mobile commerce gaining an even stronger foothold (it is estimated that mobile commerce will cross $600 million in 2018), optimizing the online store for voice search becomes imperative this year.

Finally, eCommerce websites have to become more performance-focused this year (like the years that went by!). Jem Young, of Netflix, said, “Beyond frameworks, beyond libraries, beyond the latest design trends, it’s performance that ultimately matters the most…For eCommerce businesses especially, where the difference of 200 milliseconds can mean the difference between gaining a customer or losing them to a competitor, keeping your site performance is crucial in order to stay competitive in 2018.”
How many of these eCommerce trends is your company following? How have they worked out for you?
Do share your experiences with us.

5 Technologies that are the Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

Organizations are in the quest to accelerate business activities and offer an exceptional product and customer experiences by driving digital transformation. With 57% of organizations believing that digital transformation is a competitive opportunity, it is without the doubt that technology is enabling organizations to become more agile, responsive, innovative, and efficient in addressing their needs.

The Building Blocks of Digital Transformation

In a highly dynamic and competitive world, having an amorphous digital transformation goal is not enough; what is required is an understanding of the tools and technologies that can enable you to get there. Digital transformation spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by the end of 2019. Clearly, leveraging modern technology to significantly drive transformation has become a mandate for organizations around the world. However, only 10 percent of companies around the world describe themselves as fully digital – a significant gap. One of the challenges is the vastness of the scope. Where to start? What technologies will play a role? The questions are many.

Since markets, customer demands, and technology is changing rapidly, leading digital change requires you to embrace modern technologies. This will allow you to evolve with the rapid pace of digital change. Here are 5 technologies that are the building blocks of digital transformation:

  1. Cloud:
    For digital transformation to have a profound impact on business activities, the cloud must play an important role. The cloud offers digital organizations the flexibility to do business from anywhere, freeing them from the hassle of investing in and managing physical IT resources. It offers businesses the scale and speed needed to become agile and focus on continuous transformation. The cloud enables organizations to fuel better collaboration and constantly develop, deploy, deliver, innovate, and implement modern solutions. By offering flexible, on-demand access to resources, the cloud enables organizations to execute plans faster and address the changing needs of the market. With the cloud computing market projected to reach $162 billion in 2020, it is past the time for businesses everywhere to embrace cloud solutions to drive digital transformation.
  2. Mobility:
    A key pillar of digital transformation in today’s fast-paced world is mobility. Digital transformation involves radical reconsideration of how organizations use technology to build new revenue streams or business models. Mobility enables them to do that and achieve a host of benefits: anytime anywhere access to information, improved productivity, better process efficiency, lower operational cost, and an enhanced customer experience. Since mobile technology bridges the gap between the physical and digital world, it helps organizations make use of the right data in the right context at the right time and at the right place. It also fuels better communication and collaboration within the organization – helping organizations make more informed decisions, be more proactive, and engage with their customers and employees better. With 82% of organizations believing mobile is the face of digital transformation, the role that it plays is now self-evident.
  3. Big Data and Analytics:
    In today’s digital economy, organizations need to embrace technology not just to support existing business processes, but also to drive new avenues of competitive differentiation. Big data and analytics are driving organizations to analyze humongous amounts of data and unearth critical insights. They are examining business processes, customer behavior, market trends, and competition data and creating value. Since today’s digital customers are a major catalyst for digital transformation, harnessing the right data helps organizations to understand customer needs, make data-driven decisions, build products and processes to meet those needs, and shape the right experiences for them. As big data and analytics enable organizations to get answers to critical questions in near real-time, it allows businesses to react quickly to change, improve performance, and build competitive advantage.
  4. IoT:
    The Internet of Things is driving substantial transformation across industries by linking critical assets in a connected ecosystem. The data generated from these systems can be used to drive sufficient business value, potentially transforming operations and improving business efficiency. Gartner predicts that 1 million new IoT devices will be sold every hour and that IoT spending will reach $2.5 million per minute by 2021. Using IoT, organizations can extend their enterprise and make the most of the exciting business opportunities for transformative business growth. IoT can help drive industrial automation, derive insights into equipment data, enable predictive maintenance, and improve the safety of the workforce. What’s more, IoT data can also be used to boost efficiency, improve customer experiences, and increase overall business agility.
  5. AI:
    In a bid to drive transformation, organizations across the world are looking at ways of applying Artificial Intelligence to boost their business outcomes. AI is already a key driver of digital transformation across a wide range of sectors. Nearly 9 in 10 businesses believe that AI will serve as a key competitive advantage, and help them explore new opportunities and revenue streams. AI can drive significant automation in the enterprise. It enables organizations to apply a more agile framework for digital transformation and create repeatable, reliable functions that can be used widely. By understanding customer journeys and the outcome of future interactions with customers, AI can also be used to drive personalization in customer engagement – a key expectation of the modern digital customer.

Technology at the Core

The pace at which the world is moving is compelling organizations to embrace modern and innovative technologies. The aim is to become extremely agile, to quickly respond to market changes, and to address customer needs. Digital transformation requires you to leverage the available technology to enhance your business process efficiency and become more competitive. Modern technology advancements such as cloud, mobility, big data and analytics, IoT, and AI, offer a variety of potential business benefits. Picking an area of impact to your business and applying the right technology mix will help you take the first successful step towards digital transformation.

5 Changes Your Startup Must Make To Succeed With Offshore Product Development

Offshore product development is now quite common in the technology world. Some of the most successful startups such as Basecamp, GitHub, and MySQL are good examples of startups that successfully outsourced their product development and yet were massively successful.

It’s fair to say that outsourcing is only going to increase because of the cost and business benefits it brings to organizations and especially to startups. Highlighting this trend, the IT Outsourcing Report stated that nearly 40% of companies that outsourced application development planned to increase the volume of work they outsourced. The report also stated that 53% of companies with a mobile app outsourced their development initiatives. When it comes to startups, outsourcing had its own set of advantages other than just cost. Since startups are usually resource and time constrained, outsourcing product development makes abundant sense. Outsourcing gives startups the bandwidth to focus on the business aspect without having to worry about the many complexities of product development.

That said, outsourcing product development is anything but a simple process. Both the startup and the offshore product development team need to iron out certain processes to ensure that product development happens effortlessly, and the end result is superlative. Here are some suggestions on how to make this work.

  1. Treat the offshoring team as your extended team:
    Your offshore product development team is an extension of your internal team. They thus should be treated with the same amount of trust that you would show your local team. Startups must trust that the outsourcing vendor will work with a commitment to ensure that they develop a product that is successful.
    In our experience when a startup treats their outsourcing vendor and the team as their partner they work harder for you and empathize more. The fact is, you hire an outsourcing team for the experience and expertise they bring to the table. So, treat them as a part of your internal team to get the most out of that portfolio. Trust their insights and get them more involved by embedding them into your development process.
  2. Leverage them as your technology partners:
    Your offshore team gives you open access to strong technology experts. Sometimes this might lead to a clash of views. Such clashes often happen when the technology expert feels that a particular technology is more suitable for a project and the startup feels otherwise. In such a situation, it is advisable to have an open discussion like you would have with your internal team member. Let us speak on behalf of the offshore product development vendor for a minute. Given that these experts have their finger on the pulse of the tech ecosystem beyond just your product, their opinion will usually not be driven by technology bias. It will generally stem more from a desire to leverage the technology that will help in developing a better, feature-rich and more robust product.
  3. Integrate – make them a part of the big picture:
    Would your internal team be able to function if you don’t give them an idea of the big picture…of where your startup is heading? It’s no longer the case that offshore product development teams work best only when managing certain non-core activities in isolation. If you want your startup to succeed, you must ensure that all invested stakeholders have a clear idea of your company vision and mission -and this includes the offshore team. Help the offshore team understand not only the problems the product is trying to solve but also where the company wants to go in the long run. When you share your vision with the offshore team you give them the context in which they can innovate on your behalf. They can then help you come up with ideas to make the product better, how to extend the product, how to plan for an accelerated product development roadmap and come up with a product evolution plan.
  4. Establish clear criteria for success:
    You can only manage what you can measure. The same is true for startups working with offshore product development teams as well. Adopting an agile approach even in communication is key. Clear expectation setting helps in establishing clear criteria for success. To establish measurable and clearly accountable goals, have reasonable delivery timelines, have regular check-ins at a mutually convenient time, have a defined process of engagement that ensures that all deliverables are transferred in the appropriate format. It is most important to agree upfront on the parameters that define success to establish the performance of the offshore team.
  5. Great communication is critical for success:
    Great communication leads to successful partnerships. When it comes to an offshore product development team, communication can sometimes prove to be the Achilles heel. Startups, thus need to ensure that there is an environment that fosters effective communication between the offshore and local teams. This means leveraging all available tools like emails, messenger, and chat for communication and clarifications. This will involve the use of appropriate productivity tools for proper project management. This is essential to eliminate misunderstandings based on assumptions. Ensure that your outsourcing partner offers a model for business engagement that helps you get clarifications in case the outsourced team is in a different time zone. Regular check-ins also play an important role in establishing clear communication channels. This approach is more structured and ensures that everyone’s time is used optimally and that no information falls through communication gaps.

A change in mindset is essential to succeed while outsourcing product development to offshore teams for a startup. Once you see this team as an extension of your own company then ironing out issues that emerge during any product development lifecycle become easy. Remember that at the end of the day, “Individually we are a drop but together we are an ocean”. It’s time to dive in!

What the widespread adoption of digital transformation means for us?

Digital Transformation – These two words have changed the enterprise as we know it. Given the intense focus on digital, it has become evidently clear that the world will soon be divided into two parts – that of ‘digital leaders’ and of ‘digital laggards’ as per a Harvard Business Report. Unsurprisingly, HBR believes that it is the digital leaders who will outperform the digital laggards. Digital transformation has impacted business models, customer experiences, and operating models. This trend is all about employing digital technologies to business workflows and operations along with customer interactions. The aim is to enhance existing processes and improve the existing modes of interactions and consequently enable new, better, and more relevant products and processes. So pervasive has been the impact of Digital Transformation that it has topped the CIO agenda in 2017 as per a Wall Street Journal report. Having said that, here’s a look at what this widespread adoption of Digital Transformation means for companies like ours who support the organizations that have embarked on this journey.

  1. Web App Development:

    The enterprise today has to keep up with an insatiable demand for apps. It is because of the demand for enterprise-grade, secure, robust, and intuitive applications that organizations developing these apps have had to rethink how applications are created. Development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps, Behaviour Driven Development, and Test Driven Development thus have emerged as key enablers of digital transformation. They give organizations the capability to deliver reliable applications faster. Low-code, rapid application development platforms, also, have been thrust into the spotlight to fuel this digital economy that depends on applications. Given that organizations have to be more consumer-focused in this digital age also means an increased focus on UX. Organizations also have to realize that apps now have to be tightly integrated with existing systems and deliver value to the business. The need for IT agility also means that apps become more customized, simple and modular, and highly secure. App development needs to accommodate these needs. As digital transformation becomes stronger, app development also has to factor in the interfaces with and the working of all networking elements, servers, and databases. Insights into how they are likely to perform under application conditions will become key inputs to delivering service assurance. That is our challenge now.

  2. Mobile App Development:

    The mobile has a decisive role in digital transformation. The growing mobile obsession irrespective of geographical, cultural, and social diversity means that enterprises have to calibrate their digital transformation initiatives around mobile consumerism. For software partners like is, this means mobile app development has to look at emerging technologies such as bot frameworks, machine learning, AI etc. to elevate mobile apps to match consumer expectations and have a transformational business impact. Having a mobile plan for all the disparate systems, and ensuring all legacy applications have a mobile front-end will be imperative. Mobile app developers also have to take into consideration business intelligence and analytics as more enterprises move towards SaaS applications and the cloud. At the same time, traditional mobile apps will make way for intelligent mobile apps that employ cognitive API’s and focus on delivering hyper-personalized UX’s to finely-tuned mobile app experiences. With greater digital proliferation, mobile app development will also move towards amalgamating experiences of the web with the mobile to develop apps that are extendable, performance oriented, highly secure, discoverable, and shareable.

  3. Software Testing:

    The shift towards methodologies such as Agile and DevOps is changing the way software is tested. The need for fool-proof, secure, available, comprehensive, and robust applications has never been greater than today. Owing to this, shift left testing is becoming popular. Here testing is integrated into the development process itself and starts early in the development cycle. Testing in the digital world is not only about finding faults but also about assisting in creating an application that focuses on customer experience. Testing teams have to now not only look at the business aspect but also focus on providing intelligence for business creation. The speed of testing has to increase and thus, we have to implement higher levels of test automation and leverage technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to make testing smarter. Software testing teams also have to focus on ensuring consistent application performance across different platforms, mobile devices, and operating systems, even with an increased focus on UX. Most importantly, test automation initiatives have to be open to evolution in keeping with constantly evolving application demands.

  4. Cloud

    The cloud is a key enabler of digital transformation efforts as it offers enterprises the ease, speed, and scale that businesses need. The digital economy demands application availability. There is no place for latency in this business environment. The cloud emerges as the enabler of efficiencies here to ensure the anytime, anywhere availability of applications and information access. The need for greater computing power, storage, and a robust IT infrastructure can be addressed with the cloud. We have to consider that the cloud will become even more pervasive in enterprises looking at the digital transformation. This is inevitable as it provides enterprises with the capability to continuously innovate, build, test, implement, and experiment with different applications on multiple platforms. Additionally, since digital transformation demands the adoption of a culture of collaboration, it enables people to work more efficiently, to find ways to service customers better, generate revenue, and to find solutions to unsolvable problems. The cloud emerges as its critical enabler of innovation, creativity, and productivity and it has to form a key part of our arsenal.

The true value of digital transformation lies in complete transformation- not just tweaks. This transformation implies disruption and halting a previous trajectory to allow a fundamental change of path. It is only then that you can achieve the goal of digital transformation – to raise the bar and change the ground rules so that you can win in this competitive global economy. And yes, it will be software service partners that will help power that transformation.

The Top 5 Programming Languages of 2018 for Software Excellence

Spring 2018 is already here, and with the year flying by (like it always does), it’s time for a bit of a pause and a status check. At the heart of our world of technology is the underlying programming language. It follows, that if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop cutting-edge software, you must keep pace with new and upcoming languages. Although mainstream languages like Java, C, C++, and Python continue to be among the most popular in the software industry, emerging languages are just as (or sometimes more) capable of delivering great outcomes.

Emerging Languages of 2018:

Software development is one of the most dynamic industries out there. Languages, frameworks, and technologies arise, become popular, and then die an inglorious death. Developers have to constantly learn new skills (and languages) to outperform the competition. That’s why this collation of the top 5 emerging and influential languages for 2018!

If you’re an aspiring product developer, this is a good insight into what’s trending; if you’re an experienced hand, here is your chance to unlearn/re-learn.

  1. Elixir: First appeared 7 years ago in 2011, Elixir is a dynamic, functional programming language designed to build distributed, scalable, fault-tolerant applications. Used by companies like Pinterest, Elixir helps in creating high-availability, low-latency systems. It boosts performance by running on the Erlang VM.  Since the Elixir code runs inside lightweight processes, thousands of processes can run concurrently in the same machine. This offers substantial horizontal and vertical scaling. What works for Elixir is its high-scalability, high-extensibility, fault-tolerant nature, its functional programming capability, the fact that it is Erlang compatible, and part of a growing ecosystem.
  2. Swift: Debuted first in 2014, Swift is a powerful, intuitive, general-purpose programming language developed by Apple Inc. for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Being a multi-paradigm, compiled programming language, Swift serves as a good replacement for the Objective-C language for OSX and iOS development. Used by companies like Uber and Airbnb, Swift is new-programmer friendly and ideal for developing robust and lightning-fast applications – a must in today’s fast-paced world. What works for Swift is its modern, forward-thinking nature, its easy and fun-to-use Playgrounds, its security features, Objective-C interoperability, its fast and powerful performance, and the fact that it is open-source.
  3. Haskell: First released in 1990, Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose functional programming language that ensures excellent software performance. Haskell uses two popular systems: 1) the built-in type system determines the type of every expression at compile time – reducing the possibility of bugs and ensuring code optimization, and 2) the lazy evaluation system which delays the evaluation of expressions until its value is needed – avoiding repeated evaluations and reducing run time. Being used by companies like Facebook, Haskell is ideal for applications that need to be highly modifiable and maintainable. What works for Haskell is its expressive syntax, its clean code, shorter lead-times, higher reliability, code re-use features, powerful abstractions, and built-in memory management.
  4. Scala: Scala, which first appeared in 2004, is the perfect combination of an object-oriented and functional language, offering you the best of both worlds. Since Scala runs on the Java Virtual Machine, it provides language interoperability with Java; it allows you to use Interact seamlessly with Java libraries and also overcomes many of the challenges associated with Java. Just like Haskell, Scala also uses the same type interface, and hence reduces the possibility of logic errors. The simple and straightforward syntax and highly functional code make development entertaining and fun. What works for Scala is its code reuse feature, high flexibility and extensibility, and built-in class hierarchies.
  5. Go: Google Go, appeared first in 2009, is a compiled, open-source programming language ideal for building simple, reliable, and efficient software. Used by companies like BBC, Go offers immense speed, and is easy to deploy – you can cross-compile your applications, and easily run your original code on multiple machines. Since there are no complex abstractions or clever metaprogramming in Go, it makes it easier for new programmers to learn and excel at development. What works for Go is its simplicity, scalability, its straightforward syntax, its code optimization and error-checking feature.

Surge Ahead

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. The world of software development is blessed with an undying energy and new technologies and languages, all with their own virtues appear each day. Languages like Elm, Rust, and Kotlin could easily find mention in a list like this put up by someone else. Working in software development requires you to always keep pace with technological innovations and to hone your skills with the ever-changing technology landscape. As demands grow, and projects get bigger and more complex, innovation in programming languages becomes key. Staying abreast of new and upcoming languages is crucial to developing bug-free software faster and smarter. Leveraging these (re)emerging programming languages will help you surge ahead in our competitive industry! You can thank us later.

Mutation Testing – Learn This Interesting Testing Technique Quickly with a Simple Example

Mutation testing is one of the newly developed approaches to test a software application by deriving and using the better quality of test cases. The purpose of mutation testing is to evaluate the effectiveness of the test cases to detect errors in the event of modification or changes in the program code. However, these changes are very small so that it does not affect the overall quality of the application program.

The changes introduced or injected in the program code are generally referred as ‘mutants’. These mutants are injected in the lines of code to replace some variables or operands or syntax or conditions or expressions or statements in order to introduce faults in the code.

Let see a simple example to understand the concept of mutant injection in the program code:

Original Program:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of 2.50 lacs.

4- Endif.

Above given are the lines of code which is very easy to understand, thus not explaining them. Now, in the above-given program, we try to inject mutant. Let’s see some of them

Mutant Program-1:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary< Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs.2.50 Lacs.

4-Endif.

The original program has been changed to the mutant program by replacing the operator > with the mutant ‘<’. Further, more unique mutants can be injected to create more mutant programs. Let’s see how

Mutant Program-2:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary && Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs.2.50 Lacs.

4-Endif.

Note:- Invalid operator(&&) injected.

 

Mutant Program-3:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > Rs.2.50 Lacs.

3-

4-End If.

Note:- Deleting the line of code/statement.

 

Mutant Program-4:

1-Read annual salary.

2-If annual salary > 2.75 lacs.

3-Income Tax = 10% of Rs. 2.50 lacs.

4-Endif.

 

Note:- Changing the value in the statement/line of code.

Now, How to do mutation testing?

We have one original program and its four mutant programs. Test cases with relevant sets of test data are executed over the original and mutant program.

If the results of these test cases are same, then it may be inferred that the test cases are well enough to detect the difference between original and mutant program, and thereby killing the mutant.

And if the results are not same, then it may be concluded that test cases lack to distinguish between original and mutant program, and mutant is still alive. Thus, test cases need to be improved to kill mutants.

Consider following test data for executing test cases over the original program and mutant program-4:

  • 2.80.
  • 2.60.

On feeding 2.80, both original and mutant program generate similar results, thus mutant is killed by the test case. However, with the test data value of 2.60, results will be same, thus mutant is alive and is not detected by the test case, thereby needs improvement in the test cases.

Similarly, executing the above-given test data over the original program and mutant program-2, which generates similar results under both test data values i.e. failure. This means that the test cases are quite effective to detect changes and kill mutants.

The above-stated process needs to be repeated for each different mutant program and for each different set of test data to evaluate and improve the effectiveness and quality of the test cases.

Conclusion:

Although mutation testing is a time-consuming process but is effective to detect loopholes and flaws in the programming code. However, instead of seeing it as a testing technique, mutation testing may be more seen as a test improvement methodology, which improves the effectiveness and quality of the test cases, which ensures good test coverage and subsequently the better test results.

Beyond Code – 5 Benefits Your Software Development Partner Brings To Your Startup

In a world where technology rules and market velocity is king, even startups have to hit the ground running for success. However, you know that developing a great technology product is almost like climbing a mountain. Just like you need an expert guide when you scale a mountain, an expert guide can support you on the arduous uphill climb to product success too. Today startups have the option to work with an offshore development partner for their software development.

So, why should you outsource to an offshore development partner? The traditional argument has been that such outsourcing gives a fledgling startup the bandwidth to focus on activities such as getting their sales cycles moving and identifying new business opportunities while the outsourcing company does the software heavy lifting. However, to put your startup on a winning growth trajectory, instead of looking at a vendor, you should ideally look for an outsourcing partner…one who has the capability to help you beyond coding.

So what are the things that a development partner can help you with? For sure, coding is one of them. Let’s take a look at a few others.

  1. Assist in Making Correct Technology Choices:

    To succeed in the market today, you need specialized technical expertise. You might have the right idea but without the right technology in place, you may struggle to translate your vision into action.
    A development partner can actually be your technology visionary. They can help you not only make the right technology choices that fit best with your product but will assist you in identifying ways to make the product under development more robust and feature rich. A tech outsourcing partner will have a pool of technology experts and access to this valuable resource pool can prove to be of great value to your startup. With access to tech experts, startups can be sure that they make the best technology choice and not just go by the latest trend.

  2. Innovate on Your Behalf:

    Yes, a startup almost always has a clear picture of what their end product should look like. But what if it could be better? A technology partner can give you an early proof of concept to help you assess if your final product is market ready or not. They can help you understand if the product fulfills the needs it was designed for and if not, help in identifying the gaps. Given their experience in software product development, your partner can innovate on your behalf and also identify ways in which your product can be better and even future ready.

  3. Assist in Developing New Opportunities:

    Outsourcing has a definite cost advantage associated with it, but it also gives startups an opportunity to develop new markets.  Having been a part of the technology circuit, a technology outsourcing partner can help a startup identify new need gaps and new market opportunities. They can help the startup identify new ways of making the product viable for a new market. For example, the startup might be interested in developing a mobile app for a specific demographic, but perhaps they could increase their market acceptance by deploying a progressive web app.

  4. Mitigate Risks and Navigate the Regulatory Landscape:

    Startups also need to ensure that they mitigate risks of various kinds. Security, regulatory, and compliance regulations are now a top concern for startups in the face of data breaches and the associated consumer anxiety regarding these breaches. Startups need to be more well-versed in areas such as data protection laws and applications security. They also have to be nimble to adjust fast to ensure compliance with changing regulatory and operational requirements. An outsourced development partner gives you the experience advantage and helps you navigate these challenges with ease and assurance.  

  5. Assist in Team Scaling:

    Working with a partner gives your startup the capability to scale your team up, or down, faster. Finding great programmers with the right skills, in the right quantity, at just the right time, in today’s competitive market can be hard and expensive. At the same time, a start-up might need to scale down as well at times. With a strong outsourcing company, you do not need to worry about the emotional and logistical problems associated with scaling down. You can gain access to rock star developers on demand, and you can focus on developing a product that you want.

According to IT Outsourcing Statistics, application development is the most frequently outsourced function with 37% of organizations outsourcing this function already. By working with a software development partner, startups, like yours, not only gain the coding advantage from programming experts but can also gain other advantages that will help them go-to-market faster with a product that will win the market.

Are great products due to great developers or great testers?

As the world becomes increasingly software-defined and all products become software products, the focus shifts to not only developing newer, better products but to develop them faster. Along with faster development, there has been a shift in the way quality is perceived today. Can we even imagine using a product that is slow or prone to bugs today? In a software-defined world, quality includes reliability and an assurance of uncompromising security. Software development too has undergone a quantum leap over the last few years. Developers are now the superheroes of this software dominated world developing products using new technologies to make our lives simpler and agiler. Developers don’t just create code but are deeply invested in creating products that generate value in our lives. Given this tectonic shift in the manner in which products are developed one big question that may crop up is, “Are great software products created due to great developers or great testers?”

are great products due to great developers or great testers

First, a caveat. Clearly, product development calls for a bunch of collaborative efforts. Just as vital as development and testing are defining the user’s needs and adoption behavior, designing a great user experience, and obviously impactful marketing and sales. For the purposes of this blog though we will focus on the nuts and bolts of building the product.

To begin that conversation, we have to take a look at the change that has come about in the software development landscape. The need for great software products to be delivered in the shortest timeframe possible has led to the adoption of development methodologies such as Agile and DevOps. These methodologies are all about faster processes, the use of the latest and the most relevant technology options, and a clear alignment with business demands. As software eats the world, businesses have to release software products faster to meet the ever-changing and increasing consumer demands. The success of an organization has become directly proportional to its capability to release, update, and improve its software. Development teams have thus had to become focused on perfecting releases. Key is making incremental changes to the software as the need arises.

The connection of the end-user with the quality of code is also becoming ever-tighter as the consumer base becomes more used to great digital experiences. Developers are now expected to create intelligent apps that include the latest technologies such as virtual personal assistants (VPAs) etc. New technologies have the potential to transform workplaces and make everyday tasks simpler. Clearly, the developers of today have to know exactly what their audience needs from them and how the application is expected to fulfill a business demand. At the same time, they have to create code that rocks the user’s world. Software products are becoming easier to use but harder to build! Developers now have to focus on creating code that has interconnected parts which render themselves to iterations with ease. Without a doubt, developers have to constantly keep an eye out for the latest technological and business trends and remain updated to create stellar products that can survive in today’s intensely competitive marketplace.

While the role of the developer has risen to one of paramount importance and software delivery reaches Formula 1 speed, the role of the tester has evolved as well. In order to finish first in the race for quality software delivery, the focus on software testing has moved from a good-to-have to a must-have. Software testing can no longer remain an end-of-development exercise. As DevOps and Continuous Delivery move from being a competitive advantage to just par for the course, testing becomes more integrated into the development process itself. Can we imagine fast deployment without adequate testing? Can we release quality software products, releases, or updates fast if the speed of testing does not meet the speed of development? Can we, any longer, afford to leave software testing to the end of the development lifecycle?

While developers have been the key people to recast our society with software, it is the testers who decide the strength of the software in production. It is the testing teams that will identify numerous and creative ways to dispassionately break down a software product so that the product, in the hands of the end-user, behaves as it should. Testing teams are utilizing test automation and technologies such as AI to make the testing process smoother, more expansive, and yet faster, to make sure that broken code does not impede product performance or render the product to vulnerabilities. Testers are the superstars who will dare to raise the uncomfortable questions that ultimately elevate the barometer of quality.

If we look at these two roles closely, we can identify that both developers and testers are working with the same intent – that of creating quality products. However, with new development methodologies such as DevOps coming into play, these two roles are becoming inextricably entwined. Development and testing can no longer function in isolation. If you need a great development team, you need an equally strong testing and test automation team to make sure that the final product is accepted in the market.

The way the world is heading, it is clear that great products can only be created when you not only have great developers but great testers as well. Developers and testers thus both become superheroes fighting the quality war in the software universe…one the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the other the Avengers. Despite their differences, they remain superheroes in their own right, and the biggest battles are won only when they fight on the same side!

What is a Multi-Cloud Strategy and When is it right for you?

The developments around cloud computing just seem to keep coming. With the cloud computing market expected to reach $411 billion by 2020 according to Gartner, the sheer degree of adoption is massive. For organizations, the world over experiencing challenges of market dynamism, competition, and customer demands, cloud computing is helping them to be responsive and relevant.  With cloud computing spending expected to grow at 6 times the rate of IT spending from now through 2020 according to Gartner (again!), there is a high likelihood that you will, sooner or later, consider moving to the cloud (i.e. if you haven’t already!) When you decide to migrate to the cloud to streamline your processes, boost collaboration, and increase accessibility, you will come across a variety of cloud models such as private, public, community or hybrid, and cloud offerings such as IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, as well as cloud architectures such as the multi-cloud. So what is the multi-cloud?

what is multi cloud strategy and when is it right for you

The Growth of Multi-cloud

As cloud computing becomes more and more mainstream, the introduction of new and innovative cloud technologies is inevitable. Although cloud computing started with the placing of workloads on a single cloud – whether private or public – the hybrid cloud quickly became a more attractive option because it gave enterprises more choice over storing their critical and not-so-critical data.

Soon enough, more and more vendors got into the public cloud business – starting with Amazon, and then Google and Microsoft, and now several others as well. Each has their own set of features and capabilities. Organizations were soon spoilt for choice. With such a variety of viable public cloud options, enterprises began to mix them together, both through formal architectural processes and through shadow IT. This signaled the emergence of Multi-cloud strategies.

A lot of times, the terms multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are used interchangeably. But the fact is, they are quite unlike each other.

  • While the hybrid cloud usually consists of a combination of a private and public cloud, the multi-cloud uses more than a single public cloud
  • A hybrid cloud environment refers to different deployment modes (public or private), while a multi-cloud environment refers to services from multiple cloud providers.
  • The multi-cloud enables organizations to avoid dependence on a single public cloud provider – so they can choose to opt for specific services from different public cloud providers and get the best of all their features and benefits.

When is multi-cloud strategy Right for You?

A typical multi-cloud infrastructure allows for the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, and resources across several cloud-hosting environments. With a typical multi-cloud architecture utilizing two or more public clouds (and in many cases multiple private clouds as well), the reliance on any single cloud provider is eliminated. The benefits of a multi-cloud architecture include choosing price-competitive and feature-rich cloud services from different providers, avoiding vendor lock-in, improved mitigation against disasters, and increasing performance and redundancy.

Many organizations think they can multiply benefits from multi-cloud environments (with the assumption that if they can benefit from one cloud, benefits will multiply if they use multiple clouds!).  But that’s not always the case. It’s not all straight-forward though -there are some specific factors to consider too. Although many businesses can benefit from it, especially those looking to improve reliability, protect privacy, remain flexible, and optimize the cloud experience, a multi-cloud environment is not for all organizations. A multi-cloud strategy makes sense only if:

  • You operate in countries where laws, regulations and corporate policies require enterprise data to physically reside in certain locations. For example, a healthcare organization can choose from multiple providers’ data center regions or availability zones to improve performance and reduce latency.
  • Your business and technical goals require you to leverage price-competitive cloud services. For instance, an automobile manufacturer can take advantage of the speed, capacity, and cost benefits of the storage and workload requirements offered by a particular cloud provider in a particular geography.
  • Your business relies on critical data where data loss or downtime due to a localized component failure in the cloud can have severe consequences. For example, a stock exchange can leverage a multi-cloud environment to ensure round-the-clock availability of data, reduce the likelihood of data loss, or shutdown, and eliminate business interruptions.  
  • You operate in a business environment where responding quickly to changing business requirements is critical for business survival. For instance, retailers who experience sudden spikes in demand during the holiday season can accommodate unexpected surges and meet demands in a more flexible and reliable manner.

Make the Most of Multi-cloud

In a world of constantly changing business requirements and customer preferences, organizations have to embrace the cloud in order to thrive and grow. Deciding to move to the cloud can be critical in improving business flexibility and agility. In that situation, choosing a multi-cloud environment can allow you to get the best features of multiple cloud service providers -a win-win all around.

Hybrid Cloud is Taking Over the Cloud – Why?

The Rise of the Hybrid Cloud – What’s Driving Global Adoption

Cloud computing is no longer just a buzzword. According to reports, the total global public cloud market will be $178B in 2018. The explosion in data sources in recent years and the pressure to use that data meaningfully has driven a further rise in cloud computing. Although the public cloud is comparatively cheaper, there are concerns about security; and while the private cloud offers high levels of security, the cost is substantially more. Therefore, a majority of organizations are looking to opt for hybrid clouds, so as to leverage capabilities of both the private and public cloud. In a highly competitive business environment, hybrid clouds are extremely sought after; this strategy allows organizations to deploy workloads through a mix of cloud variations, with various degrees of integration between them.  

hybrid cloud is taking over the cloud

The Rise of Hybrid Cloud

Enterprises are moving away from on-premises data center systems and are reallocating budgets on IT infrastructure for deployment in cloud environments. Spending on cloud services demonstrates just how rapidly usage has grown; according to IDC, cloud services spending will reach a whopping $266 billion by 2021. Although a shared public cloud offers the convenience of easily scaling infrastructure up and down on-demand, concerns about privacy and security within a shared tenancy arrangement are widespread. That’s where a hybrid cloud comes into the picture; it offers the right mix of IT infrastructure services to meet specific scalability, control, performance, and cost requirements.

A hybrid cloud architecture offers the best of everything: top-notch security for critical workloads (such as financial data and intellectual property), and high performance to run common business processes (such as marketing, and human resources). These cloud services operate independently of one another, although they integrate with each other at various levels. By enabling workloads to interoperate across heterogeneous cloud environments, hybrid cloud bridges data silos, allowing organizations to seamlessly conduct business.

Business Drivers

Hybrid cloud is a coming together of multiple individual cloud infrastructures that remain distinct but are tied by technology that allows data and application portability. The Hybrid cloud takes advantage of the quick provisioning capabilities of the public cloud while also keeping the security and control of private cloud solutions. With Markets and Markets expecting the hybrid cloud market to be $91.74 billion by 2021, the model is being adopted by numerous organizations looking to leverage the direct benefits of both a private and public cloud environment.

  • A major reason why enterprises opt for a hybrid cloud is security. Using both private and public clouds in tandem allows them to pick and choose which data and services they want to keep in the private cloud for added security, and which in the public cloud.
  • The hybrid cloud offers the much-needed on-demand scalability that helps organizations manage any unexpected surges in workload. By enabling workflow automation, organizations can ensure resources can be made available when needed, giving them much-needed agility to efficiently run their business.
  • Hybrid cloud offers the ability to host environments in the public cloud and link them on demand to mission-critical data stored in private clouds, allowing businesses to ensure high performance of applications while simultaneously safeguarding sensitive data from prying eyes.
  • In a highly competitive environment, improving time to market is every organization’s goal. The hybrid cloud environment improves the speed of deployment of applications and services, enabling organizations to offer products and services quickly.
  • Hybrid cloud offers significant advantages in terms of disaster recovery. Although a private cloud would offer total control over data and recovery timelines, it also presents the problem of a single failure point. By migrating at least some of the recovery workload to public servers, companies can get the benefit of speedy restoration while decreasing the chances of complete system breakdown.

The Future of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud migration is rapidly becoming commonplace across industries due to the benefits of improved security, better cost control, and enhanced disaster recovery. Hybrid cloud will see an upward trend in a variety of industries: in the financial industry, it will help organizations ensure minimum downtime, in the healthcare industry, it will help organizations in limiting information and in the retail sector, it will help in substantial cost savings by scaling resources based on surges in demand. If you’re looking to migrate to the cloud, take a step by step approach in order to realize the benefits of the hybrid cloud in your ever-evolving IT landscape.