ET Session of Google.com.au – Report

Having recently undertaken an ET session of Google.com.au I thought I would extend my practice to reporting on my findings. What follows is the report of my session.

Initial mission:

  • Practice mapping a website (Google.com.au) using a mind mapping tool (MindMup)

Mission inclusions (as I tested):

  • Learn more about the chosen website
  • Practice Exploratory Testing (ET)

Note – I did not time box the session, nor did I accurately measure the length of the session. I would estimate the approximate session time being 1 hour. This hour includes the note taking, but excludes the time taken to write this report.

Tools utilised:

  • MindMup – Used to map the website and note taking while testing
  • 15 inch laptop
  • Google Chrome (version 0.2125.111 m)

Site tested:

Note – I was logged in to my Google account during the session.

Google

Mapping:

Product Breakdown:

For the purpose of this report I have broken the website into 3 main areas and will report on them separately. The 4th area I’ll report on relates to elements outside of the 3 areas. The areas are:

  1. Header
  2. Search
  3. Footer
  4. Other

Note – this breakdown only partially aligns to the structure of the mind map I created.

Report of findings:

Header

The Header area consists of a series of buttons and links placed in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Links:

  • David+
  • Gmail
  • Images

Buttons:

  • Apps
  • Notifications
  • Google+ Share
  • Account

Note – In this report I’m using the term ‘buttons’ as a label for buttons and clickable icons.

There are further links within each of the buttons as shown on the mind map.

Potential problems identified in the Header, and suggestions where applicable:

  • As is consistent with many links on the website, each of the links in the Header open in the same tab. My personal preference would be to have the majority of these links opened in a new tab.
  • The Search link found within the Apps button appears to be redundant. When clicked it takes you to Google.com.au, which is same location as before clicking. Suggest replacing this link with another Google App link.
  • The Google+ and Gmail links found within the Apps button appear to be redundant. There is already a Google+ and Gmail link in the Header. Suggest replacing these links with other Google App links.
  • The Privacy link found within the Account dialog after clicking the Account button takes you to the same page as the Privacy link found in the Footer of the website. I don’t feel that 2 of the same link are required. Suggest removing this Privacy link and keeping the Footer Privacy link as that will always remain on the page. This link may not be available if you are not logged in when on the website.
  • After clicking sign out and landing back on the website, the Use Google.com link is no longer visible in the Footer. This happened on another occasion and will be reported on in Footer area.

Search

The Search area consists of the search bar (where characters are entered for the purpose of a www search), a logo, and 3 buttons:

  • Voice Search
  • Google Search
  • I’m Feeling Lucky

Note – Voice Search was not included in the scope of this session.

Information discovered in the Search area:

  • Clicking on the I’m Feeling Lucky button when no text is entered in the search bar takes you to Google Doodles.
  • Clicking on the I’m Feeling Lucky button takes you directly to the page of what would be the first search result (assumption). This allowed be to find where all the previous Google logos for special events are stored.
  • Clicking on Google Search when no text is entered in the search bar does nothing.
  • There are several Easter Eggs that can be discovered in the search bar.
  • The word length limit of Google search appears to be 128 characters. Note this is different from the string length limit; that was not explored.

Potential problems identified in the Search area:

  • The Google Search button appears to be redundant. When entering text into the search bar, it is moved to the top left of the screen and the button is removed and replaced with a message of ‘Press Enter to search.’ or the standard blue google search button at the right hand side of the search bar.
  • Following on from the above potential problem, clicking the browser back button takes you to a different version of the Google search website. This new website appears to be the same one you get when opening a new tab. Entering text in the search bar on this different website then moves your text and cursor to the address bar. This is confusing. This new screen also doesn’t have the Google Search or I’m Feeling Lucky buttons.

Note – At the time of writing this section of the report (approx. 3 days after the session) I attempted to reproduce the above potential problem. Instead of being taken to the different website I was taken back to Google.com.au as I would have expected during the original session.

  • As above, the I’m Feeling Lucky button also appears to be redundant.
  • When searching for something that Google’s predictive search does not find you cannot use the I’m Feeling Lucky function. This function is only available by highlighting one of the Google predictive searches and clicking on I’m Feeling Lucky at the right of the predictive search.
  • Due to the above listed potential problems, the I’m Feeling Lucky function is somewhat confusing to use.
  • There appears to be a few different ways you can perform a search using Google. While this may seem to be beneficial it is also somewhat confusing.
  • Searching for spaces only appears to do nothing. I would suggest that the search is reset and a message be displayed to the user stating that spaces are not recognised in searches (if in fact that is the intended behaviour).
  • Spaces before and after text appear to be ignored. As above I would suggest a message to the user; however there may also be valid searches that have spaces before and after so revisiting this behaviour could be beneficial.

Footer

The Footer area consists of a series of links placed in the lower left and right hand corners of the screen.

Links:

  • Advertising
  • Business
  • About
  • Privacy
  • Terms
  • Settings
  • Use Google.com

Potential problems identified in the Footer area:

  • As is consistent with many links on the website, each of the links in the Footer open in the same tab. My personal preference would be to have the majority of these links opened in a new tab.
  • The Use Google.com link is removed when performing a I’m Feeling Lucky search for Google. This occurred on another occasion as noted in the Header section of this report. I would suggest further exploration of this as I have a feeling there would be more scenarios where this occurs. It is also difficult to get the Use Google.com link to return as a page refresh does not work.

Other

During the session I decided to explore the function keys to learn how they interacted with the website, if at all:

Potential problems identified with the function keys:

  • The following functions keys did not appear to have any actions:
    • F2
    • F4
    • F7
    • F8
    • F9
    • F10

I would suggestion making use of these function keys if possible.

  • Pressing F3 for a second time does not close the find function.
  • Pressing F6 for a second time does move the cursor away from the address bar, but does not move it back to the search bar. I would suggest this as a good place to move the cursor to.

Summary:

After spending approx. 1 hour exploring Google.com.au I have identified 18 potential problems and discovered some interesting pieces of information.

I don’t believe that any of the potential problems I have identified pose a great risk to the product; however that is my opinion only and I would suggest each one is further assessed by the product owner/s and other users at different levels of capability using search engine websites.

I achieved my initial mission via the creation of the mind map, and also achieved the late inclusions to my mission as I have learned more about the website and also practiced ET.

One thought on “ET Session of Google.com.au – Report

  1. Hi, the post is very amazing.
    I followed some of your test approaches and found out that there is something related with relevant operation system for those functional keys. I am using windows 7, I had tested functional keys in windows explorer, and found out that as well F3 brings out search bar, F11 takes to full screen, F10 brings Menu bar.
    And the suggestion you made for these functional keys, like pressing F3 again should shut the search bar off, it works same here.

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