2019 – Review

Retrospective of the amazing 2019

Last few days of the year, In fact, this is the last few days of this decade. In about 05 days we will be heading to a new decade – 2020! In a retrospective of the last decade, It was quite an interesting one. Definitely a roller coaster ride.

Completing high school, Starting the professional life, switching different workplaces, falling love and getting married, Starting new hobbies, Getting healthier, Lifestyle changes, Forming some life long habits are certainly a few highlights of this amazing decade.

The last year of 2019 was also superb! Incredible year in terms of personal victories and achievements.

2019 started with getting an award from my workplace, 99X Technology. It was runner- up award for Technology Leadership.

Runner-Up – Technology Leadership 2018

The next highlight for the year for me is definitely the progression of the Toastmaster journey. I joined Toastmasters in September 2018. I was the runner-up in Humors speech competition in that season. But I was not able to proceed beyond the Area level competition in 2018. However, I was able to go beyond Humors competition in 2019 representing Area J4. I won the title in Area competition and represented the Area at Division stage. That experience was really amazing – certainly a post-worthy experience.

Division Contest
Toastmasters Division Conference

One of the best things that I have tried out this year was moving to Audible. Handling all the physical books was getting out of hand and it was really hard to find time to sit and read a book peacefully. Audible gives me a perfect solution. Thanks to Audible majority of my traveling time are now utilized to read (listen) to books!

2019 as a year was a good one. Most goals were met – some goals were not completed. Some KPI achieved, some were not. Some plans were executed as expected and some were not. That is how life is, we can’t predict everything as we expect!

New year will always give a new ray of hope. Plan what you want to achieve and work for it.

I wish all of you a wonderful and successful new year!

[Webinar] Become a Business + Quality Enabler

I was featured in a webinar where me and my work colleague talked about how being a business and quality enabler.

I had a chance to be a part in a Quality Engineering webinar hosted by 99X Technology along with one of my work colleague, Tharindra Jayamaha – Associate QA Architect at 99X Technology. 

First, we talked about the common misconception about the quality assurance. Many people think that quality assurance is just the testing. We explained that there are more things to the quality assurance that the testing. Then we talked about how quality assurance professionals can think differently to deliver a high quality product. There we talked about using journey maps and Personas.

We also talked about important of understanding the users. Tools that qa professionals can use to identify / understand the users. Finally we explained the importance of being a quality + business enabler to your project.

Then we had a QnA session. We received lots of questions and hopefully we were able to answer every one of those questions. 

Here is a recorded video link for the webinar

“How to Get Rich” – Donald Trump and Meredith McIver

My thoughts on the ‘How to get rich’, Book about/by ‘Donald Trump’

I saw this book at CIBF (Colombo International Book Fair) in 2017. This book immediately caught my attention and title could be a one of the reason. Also, there is Trump’s quote in the book – “Five billion reasons why you should read this book”. This is the economy edition of the original book, So it doesn’t have the colored images. If I am not mistaken this was priced under 1000 LKR. This was first published in 2004 by Ballantine Books. This has around 300 pages with 06 chapters.

From the readers perspective when I bought this, I was expecting to read some insight information on how he(trump) made the deals. 

I also think chapter arrangement could have been better. Sometimes it feels that chapters added without any proper sequence. It feels that he is explaining a bunch of his life stories. This is not by far the best book I have read. but this could be an interesting book for those who like autobiographies/biographies.

Everyone will not like this book, the way he writes/ or the way he explains things. Most of the examples in this book are about Trump’s personal experiences. How he works / How he manages things etc. This book is written in a unique way (Trump’s way).


My rating for the book is 5/10.

Books

My thoughts on the ‘How to get rich’, Book about/by ‘Donald Trump’

Right folks, This is some random thought that came into my mind which I am executing. Reviewing a book requires an enormous amount of knowledge in books. I am not an expert critic. But this is my attempt to tell about certain books. More importantly how I feel after reading a book.

I love reading anything. I was a bookworm when I was in the school. I have missed reading books last couple of years. I usually spend a few thousand rupees each year to buy books ( which I tried to reduce from this year onward ). Colombo International Book Fair is one of most important event that I am not trying to miss on each year. Big Bad Wolf is also becoming to be a competitor.

My interest has changed from fiction to biographic recently. Following visionary leaders could be the reason for this. Big Bad Wolf 2018 edition had lots of biographic, I got a couple of them.
This doesn’t mean that I have stopped reading fictions. I still love reading them whenever I got a chance. Dan Brown is still my favorite author to the date.

Also, I love to read books about Buddhism. I have a collection of books about various topics taught in Buddhism.

Right now I am reading a book called “How to get rich” By Donald Trump and Meredith McIver. I have purchased this on Colombo International Book Fair two year back. I will share my thoughts on next post.

Let’s make “Testing” great again

How you can make testing great again! Session conducted for SLASSCOM – Quality Circle.

Quality Circle, Initiative driven under SLASSCOM ( Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies ) organized a Quality Engineering session on latest Quality Engineering trends. I had the privilege to do a session on how we can make testing in a more interesting way. My topic title was ‘Let’s make testing great again’

I talked about the problems testers might have in the traditional delivery model and how we can avoid those problems by using a new way of doing the testing such as introducing Personas to testing.

I also talked about using Journey maps to Personas and how testers can think in a different way.

It was a well-organized event with lots of enthusiastic participation. Thank you SLASSCOM – Quality Circle for organizing an event like this 🙂

05 Things that should not be on your CV

Top 05 things that you should not be on your CV

After considering a fair amount of CVs, It comes to my attention that most numbers of CVs received are not up to the minimum standards. It does not contain information that the company/ or hiring person wants to know. So let’s talk about how not to write a CV

Curriculum Vitae is the first document which interviewer sees about the interviewee. In order to make a good first impression CV needs to be in the good standard.

1. Highlighting unnecessary information

It is really cool if you have won the best school actor award in 2006. It might really count if you are applying for a position in the similar industry, but I’m afraid it won’t add a weight in IT field.

This doesn’t mean that you should completely omit your achievements from your CV, but make sure to add only necessary and most suitable extra-curricular activities to your CV.

2. Stating oblivious/basic skills

It is not 1998 anymore, so stating the competency in Windows operating systems or Office packages would not make any sense to anyone.

3. Spelling mistakes

This probably might be the easiest thing to fix but the most ignorant thing done by a majority of people. Especially If you are applying for a position in Quality Assurance track, you should double-triple check your CV for mistakes (If not someone else will find it for you 😉

So always, ALWAYS do a proof read! You can easily do it by any word processing package.

4. Stating ‘not-so-related’ professional skills

You might have finished your ACCA (Accounting) or Marketing foundation level examinations or you may have done a course in quantity surveying in a reputed institute, but all of the above are completely unrelated to the applied position.

The bad side of having this on your CV is that person who is reading your CV might thing that you don’t have a defined career goal/career path or the understanding in IT and that may result in not short listing the CV for next round.

5. Competency Level

All above are very primitive and basic things, which can make a difference in the CV. It doesn’t take much effort/time to change the CV to support.

…….. and a Bonus point

Try to save CV by your name / or the position you’ve applied in PDF format rather sending it cv.pdf / cv1.pdf

Chamal.Perera.PDF or Chamal_Perera_QA_Engieer.pdf

Some job requirements expect you to send the CV in a certain format, If so please follow the given format.

Above 05 points will be helpful for you to make your CV shine from rest!!

Beach, Food & Sun

Exploring eastern part of the beautiful Sri Lanka

After having a couple of hectic months in our day to day life,  Finally, we (me and my wify)  were able to spend a couple of days away from our day jobs. Both of us came to an agreement that our destination should be a beach destination (Of course, Wife suggested & I agreed). So it was decided to go for Trincomalee, one of the major resort port city in the Eastern province of Sri Lanka.

Road to Trincomalee from Colombo

Our home for the holiday was Jungle Beach by Uga Escape, undoubtedly one of the best hotel that both us stayed. It took almost 06 hours to travel from Colombo to Trincomalee. Driving in Colombo is not the best experience that anyone could ask for, But it is a completely different story when you go out from the city. Empty roads – Zero traffic gives you a different experience.

We arrived at the Jungle Beach around 02.00 p.m. and we had a warm welcome. After a very smooth check-in process, we were taken to the place which was going to be our home for next couple of days. We stayed in Jungle Cluster Cabin, It was a cluster villa with a private pool.

This pool is shared by 03 cluster cabins. If there are no other guests in other two cabins, It is your lucky day. You can have the pool for yourself and we were lucky to have it only for ourselves 🙂

All the meals they served at Jungle Beach were on set meal basis. If you are Sri Lankan, You may not like it, because we normally opt for buffet menus. But the food was so good in here, You don’t need to think about a buffet. They had options for Sri Lankan, Asian, and Italian foods.

They have a special breakfast platter called Uga Breakfast platter, which was the best meal for me. It came with so many different foods including fruits, sweets.

Uga Breakfast Platter

Trincomalee is a town with various attractions and so many things to do. Pigeon Island, Koneswaram Kovil and Marble Beach are some of the few attractions. The hotel offers you some activities on each day to entertain visitors. Also If you don’t like to explore the town, Hotel itself could be a good option chill.

Friendliness of the staff is definitely something that should be on this post. They were all really helpful and always had a smile on their face, not something that you can experience in most of the hotels. Everything was unique in this hotel and both of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Uga.

Persona Based Testing

People who involved in software quality assurance are increasingly being challenged to provide a better coverage of the tests. They are often asked to think like the end users, Be in customer’s shoe in order to deliver a high-quality product.

One of the best and interesting way to increase your product quality is to do persona based testing.

What is Persona? What is Persona based testing?

A Persona is a fictional character/user profile created to represent a user type that might use a product/or a service in a similar way.

Persona based testing is a software testing technique that puts software testers in front of customer’s mind and determines use cases/scenarios that customers will execute.

How to create personas?

There are many ways to create personas. The best way to think like the end users/or to be in the customer’s shoe is to get to know with your end users.

Below 03 questions can be asked in order to get to know with end user behavior.

  1. Customers of the product who use it as intended
  2. People who are not current customers but for who it is targeted and who will use it as intended
  3. People who are not current customers but for whom it is NOT targeted and who will NOT use it as intended

Let’s look into this by an example.

There is an application which serves the purpose of employee management. The application can be used to apply leaves/fill out appraisals and many more employee management activities. This application is also accessible to the entire company.

Let’s think of typical users who will use this kind of system.

  1. Management
  2. HR
  3. Employee

Now let’s drill down above user types further and add a few characteristics to them.

Management – Management won’t interact with the system often, But they will interact with the system to use specific functionalities. They probably use it in between meetings. Because of this management users are very impatient. They might use the quickest workflow to use complete actions. They use shortcuts, they want fast interactions.

To spice up things, Let’s add a name for our manager character, or else If you are super interested, let’s go for a theme – Superhero theme. I’m going to pick Nick Fury as my manager.

Characteristics of Nick Fury(Manager)

  • Won’t’ interact more often
  • Impatient users/Need faster responses
  • Using quickest workflow to complete action

Let’s look at some possible users for HR. Let’s assume they use the same workflow each time when they interact with the application,

  • They may focus on mostly used features
  • Complete each and every field possible
  • Be patient with slow responses

Seems good candidate for Black Widow(HR)

 

Likewise, we can go think many possible scenarios/many possible personas from different angles.

For the employee sections, Let’s think of an old user with a lesser knowledge in computers and always has trouble with the system.

That user probably;

  • Use the application really slow, takes the time to read each and every information available on the screen.
  • Using Internet Explorer 7.0 and no intentions to update it at all.
  • Maybe using zoom functionality of the browser to read out sections

Perfect candidate for Flash in Zootopia(Old employee)

 

 

 

Like this, you don’t need to maintain any limitations when creating personas.

Do not hesitate for someone like this……..

……….If your persona has characters such as;

  • Try to enter invalid data to input fields
  • Try to get error messages by doing various things
  • Going further beyond by entering SQL Injections or trying any methods to break the application.

In action

Once you are done with creating personas, then it’s time to be in end user’s shoe. Now, remember that you are no longer testing you usual test cases/test scenarios. You are executing your test cases/scenarios like Nick Fury the manager, Black Widow the HR, Flash the old employee.

You can arrange your test case/scenario document like this to make things more attractive;

TestScearoio_ChamalPerera.com

By using this kind of the way, it will not just make the whole testing interesting, it will also help to cover the real user behavior.

Note: This post was inspired from the Ministry of Testing, This is not afflicated with MOT

#HappyTesting

#FloodSL – How you can help

[Last Update 29/05/2017: 01:00 P.M]

Sri Lanka is currently facing the southwest monsoon and with the monsoon, like in the last year, there are flooding and displacement. As of now the number of deaths increases to 164 while 104 persons missing. Extreme weather forecasted to continue over next couple of hours/days as well, so the numbers may rise.

This year also there are some wonderful organizations/people get together for flood relief. Some techies also help them from what they can, Here is a consolidated list of the solution/options we have right now. I will update the list whenever I get more information

2017 Flood Crisis Map

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1lMTSXqIUwgT8LCfeRdTqzDKob1Q&ll=6.470581407199456%2C80.58815789397192&z=9

This is done/maintained by Ganindu Nanayakkara. You can contact him & help him with updating the data.

Relief Support

http://reliefsupports.org 

 

This is a community-driven Open Source project to support relief support activities conducted by volunteers. This project was originally created to support flood relief activities in Sri Lanka in May 2017.

So If you are a developer, You can contribute to this project on GitHub

If you see any errors on the website or If you come across in any features which you like to include on the website, You can put them here

Disaster Management Centre

There are many ways you can help to DMC. Follow DMC_lk on Twitter for more details

PickMe Support

If you or someone you know is affected by the floods and needs urgent attention, you can seek PickMe’s help. All you need to do is open up the app, select the relevant location and click on the SOS icon. This will allow PickMe to receive your request and will be forwarded to the Disaster Management Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit Sharing from Mobile Networks

Dialog offers a free Rs.100 reload to those in the affected areas of Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Dehiowita, Yatiyantota, Ruwanwella, Kolonnawa, Biyagama, Kelaniya, Kaduwela, Hanwella, Dompe and Padukka. Airtel is also offering free calls and SMS facilities to the people in the above-affected areas.

Mobitel has increased credit limit for postpaid connections by 50%, with prepaid connections getting free Rs.100 talk time and Rs.50 in credit limit(prepaid). Additionally, Hutch has provided free Rs.25 credit as well.

AirTel is extending free calls and SMS facilities for the people in the 5 flood affected districts to reach out for help

 

 

Online Donations: RedCross

http://www.redcross.lk/online-donations/ 

#FloodSL Tweet

All the latest tweets about flood situation can be found from the #FloodSL hashtag.


Featured Image Photo Credits: The Guardian – Credits to all the posts owners

Web Accessibility Standards – What, Why and How to Test?

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is an initiative by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The main responsibility of the WAI is to work with the global software community to develop and publish guidelines on web accessibility. In 1999 WAI published the first version of the guideline, named Web Content Accessibility Guideline ( WCAG 1.0 ).

In 2008, WAI published the WCAG 2.0, which is the latest version of the guideline. WCAG 2.0 have been widely accepted as the definitive guidelines on how to create accessible websites

WCAG 2.0

WCAG 2.0 organized under 04 main principles and 12 guidelines. Each of these guidelines has testable criteria. It basically covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.

We need something like this because an estimated of one billion people in the world have some kind of disability. 39 million people are blind in the world and around 246 million people around the world have low vision. More importantly, it is not only for those with disabilities. A fully accessible website is designed to be flexible and responsive to all people.

WCAG 2.0 principles and guidelines

  1. Website must be perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive
    • Guideline 1.1: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language
    • Guideline 1.2: Time-based media: Provide alternatives for time-based media.
    • Guideline 1.3: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.
    • Guideline 1.4:  Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
  2. Website must be operable  – User interface components and navigation must be operable
    • Guideline 2.1: Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
    • Guideline 2.2: Provide users enough time to read and use the content.
    • Guideline 2.3: Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures
    • Guideline 2.4: Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
  3. Website must be understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
    • Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable.
    • Guideline 3.2: Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.
    • Guideline 3.3: Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
  4. Website must be robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
    • Guideline 4.1 – Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.
More details on the above guidelines can be found from official WCAG 2.0 – Documentation

Right, So what is for developers or testers? How to do the accessibility testing?

Let’s talk about the important part of the accessibility topic. How can you develop/ or test a WCAG-friendly website, or in another word – How can you ensure your site is not violating the WCAG 2.0 guidelines? Let’s look at a couple of tools which is available for the task.

NoCoffee

NoCoffee is an extension for Google Chrome, It acts as a visual emulator and helps you to understand how visually impaired users can view the web pages.

Chamal_Perera_Blog_NoCoffee_Image
Nocoffee visual emulator in action: [This is how retinopathy patient view your web page]

Google Accessibility tools

Another handy/straightforward Chrome extension from Google. The extension will add an Audit section ( Accessibility Audit ) in the elements tab to the Chrome Developer tool.  Audit result will appear as a list of rules which are violated by the respective page

Chama_Perera_Blog:ol Google Accessibility to
Google Accessibility Tool – In action

Google Accessibility Tool
Google Accessibility Tool – Results


aXE

axeDemo_Chamal_Perera_blog
aXe in action

aXe is again an extension for Google Chrome. It’s pretty easy to use and analyze your web application. You need to go to the Chrome developer tools section once you installed the extension and there you can initiate your session. One of the advantage in aXe is that you can navigate to the exact point in your source code where it violated the WCAG standard and fix it from right there.

Wave

Wave has been there for a quite a long period of time. Wave can be used to test any public URL and not like the other tools, it gives the result on a side panel, which is easy to analyze. Wave also has an extension for Google Chrome and Firefox.

Wave-Chamal Perera Blog
Wave in action

Developers can use these tools to make sure the site they develop doesn’t violate any WCAG rules. Testers can use these tools to find out the accessibility violations.

Advantages of following accessible guideline

Other than not involving in potential lawsuits, there are proven cases studies which indicated improving accessibility could increase sales. CNET received 30% off boost in their traffic after implementing a simple change in their videos. All they did was to add a transcript to their videos. More the people that have access to the website, more the reach.

Everyone should consider about the web accessibility, not because you had to follow the guidelines. Becuase it is the only way to ensure that disabled users have the same experience that other users have. Truth to be spoken, web accessibility is likely not something we’ve spend much time unless we had to. But now we have required tools/ ways to do, So let’s make the web accessible for everyone.