Stuck in Limbo with Magical Solutions: The Testers’ Lived Experiences of Tools and Automation

Evans, Isabel; Porter, Chris; Micallef, Mark and Harty, Julian (2020). Stuck in Limbo with Magical Solutions: The Testers’ Lived Experiences of Tools and Automation. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Joint Conference on Computer Vision, Imaging and Computer Graphics Theory and Applications, SCITEPRESS - Science and Technology Publications, 2 pp. 195–202.



The automation of people’s roles at work brings changes to their lives and work, bringing advantages of increased effectiveness and efficiency, yet potentially life-changing effects, including redundancy. The software industry’s purpose is to automate people’s tasks and activities, and this applies also to jobs within the software industry, including teams who specialise in testing software. Test automation projects are not always successful, and our research initially set out to discover whether the challenges were usability-related, and whether HCI methods could help improve tools. We discovered a much richer story, which told of emotional stresses and life experiences within the software testing community. We discuss how automation, with all its benefits, affects motivation, causing disassociation of testers from their roles, and affecting their job-task mix. We show reasons why software test automation affects testers. Finally, we set out our position for our research about the li ved experience of software testers using automation, which we are calling TX: The Testers’ Lived Experiences of Tools and Automation, and argue that the effect of automation and tooling on testers’ lived experience and its effect on their motivation is an area of study worthy of research.

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