Category Archives: Programming

Visual TDD in Test Automation – part 2

A month ago I was in the sport school. The manager had a conversation with me:

“You are using the wrong liquid to clean the machine.”
My eyes went to the automatic liquid dispenser.

She followed my view:
“You must use the hand trigger sprayer. You used the spray for the hand instead of the machine.”

Somehow I missed the hand trigger sprayer. It was clearly in view. But I came from the other side, the sprayer was hidden behind a machine.

So what was the problem?

People tend to use the most simple solution for a problem. You know, I am one of them.

For programming I use Test Driven Development. After some impressive demonstrations and real life experiences.
For me the Red Green Refactor cycle of Test Driven Development is simple.

When I used Visual Testing in the preivous blog post, I used a breakpoint.

If I set a breakpoint and debug the program, then it will stop at this breakpoint. Now I have enough time to get useful information from the program, get some coffee, or take a small nap. The latter is an advantage of blogging in free time or being jobless.

Disclaimer: I am not paid by Applitools for writing this article.

Let me visualise the steps from the last blog post:

Start: I have automation code, that opens the Login dialog.
A big rectangle has an arrow with "Automated steps" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle!

Red: make a failing test.
I added a CheckWindow method and placed a breakpoint on this line. During the debugging I manually entered the password “Cap” and resumed the program.

What I actually did, was making a screenshot of the desired situation or baseline.

Then I ran the program again. The test failed, because my code did not enter “Cap” in the username.
Why? Cap can be an abbreviation of Captain Marvel or Captain America.

Green: make enough code to pass the failing test.
Then I added code to enter “Cap” in the username textfield. Then I ran the program and it passed.
A rectangle has an arrow with "Automated steps" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle. In turn this big rectangle has an arrow with "new automated steps" to a big rectangle with a rectangle containing "Cap". The last big rectangle has an arrow with "snapshot" to a big rectangle with a rectangle containing "Cap"!

Refactor: there was no need to clean up the code, because it was a proof of concept.

Breakpoint overboard

For some people the breakpoint is really strange. So let me try to find a solution with using Test Driven Development while avoiding this point.
A breakpoint to be more precisely.

You are about to read about exploring a new situation in test automation.
Go.

Undesired baseline

And I off went.

For a fast demo I based my code on the Java code on
https://applitools.com/docs/topics/overview/walkthough-example.html#Building

I used the source code TestLogin2.java and pom.xml from this repo.  Notice the name of the class and the test.

The source code of TestLogin2.java is shown with the TestLogin2 class and test name "Login test 12"!

The really interesting coding took place is in the test01 method.

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// TODO: fill in the username

// TODO: add test.
// TODO: for making a baseline and
// TODO: comparing the screen with the baseline.
// [edited for blog post]

Now I added the CheckWindow method.

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// TODO: fill in the username

// add test.
// for making a baseline and 
// comparing the screen with the baseline.
// [edited for blog post]
eyes.checkWindow("Username filled in");

I left out the breakpoint: no red filled circle is shown.
On line 66 no breakpoint is set, so there is no red filled circle!

Then I ran the program.
On Testlogin2.java the right menu is opened and the Run TestLogin2.main() option is selected!

A message was shown, that a baseline was created.The console shows the following message: "New Baseline Created: 1 steps"!

Time to look in my free Applitools account.
The batch run "Login test 2" has been selected and the result shows a printscreen with a plus sign, thumb up sign, and a green bar!

Now I had done something really strange:
I made an undesired baseline.

Note the danger, that the passed test is accepted as passed, but that was not my intention.

That was not my goal for that day:
adding code to enter “Cap” in username.

There was a simple fix to solve this problem.

Desired baseline

Let me fill in “Cap”.

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// fill in the username
driver.findElement(By.id("username")).sendKeys("Cap");

// Test.
// add test. // for making a baseline and 
// comparing the screen with the baseline.
// [edited for blog post]
eyes.checkWindow("Username filled in");

I ran the program again.
On Testlogin2.java the right menu is opened and the Run TestLogin2.main() option is selected!

The test failed.
The console shows the following message: "Test failed : 1 steps matches=0 missing=0 mismatches=1"!

In applitools.com things were not updated yet, so I pressed the Refresh button.

The Refresh button is located under the last 30 batch runs and above Login test 2!

I opened the test result and noticed a difference. But the new screen was right.Button with two images of a form and a double pointed arrow between them is selected. In the left image or baseline; "Cap" in the username field is hightlighted in pink, in the right image or checkpoint several spaces in the username field is hightlighted in pink!

So I pressed the Thumb up button.

A message is shown± `You have successfully resolved all steps. Would you like to continu to the next step or close this editor=` with the Continue button and a Close button!
And the test ruslt became green.
The result shows a printscreen with an unequal sign, thumb up sign, and a green bar. In the upper right corner a Save button or Diskette button is shown!

There was Save button which changing size about every 4 seconds. So I pressed it/

I double checked the test result by removing the hightlighing of the differences.In the menubar a button with a stack of sheets is selected showing a menu with Diffs option which is unchecked. In the left image or baseline; "Cap" in the username field is not hightlighted, in the right image or checkpoint "Cap" in the username field is not hightlighted!

So I ran the program again.On Testlogin2.java the right menu is opened and the Run TestLogin2.main() option is selected!

The test passed this time.The console shows the following message: "All steps passed: 1 steps"!

I went to the Applitools website and pressed the Refresh button.

The Refresh button is located under the last 30 batch runs and above the batch run of Login test 2!

And I selected the last batch run.

The last batch run "Login test 2" has been not selected. The previous batch run "Login test 2" has been selected!

The green test result was shown.

The last batch run "Login test 2" has been selected and the result shows a printscreen with an equal sign, thumb up sign, and a green bar!

There were no differences.

Button with two images of a form and a double pointed arrow between them is selected. In the left image or baseline; "Cap" in the username field is not hightlighted, in the right image or checkpoint "Cap" in the username field is not hightlighted!

Questions

Now I had a test to check whether the username was equal to Cap.
But did I see whether the test fail?
No. Can I trust a test, which I did not see failing?
Probably not.

Another question:
is it good to trust a test, which status went from Green to Red?
I don’t think so.
If someone takes over the coding  of my test, then this would be really confusing: “A failed test is a good sign?!”

According to me this is the problem:
I have a useful pattern or way of working. It is Red Green Refactor.
Then I changed it into an anti pattern or bad way of working. This is Green Red Refactor.
This happened, because I wanted to avoid a breakpoint.

There is another way to explain this.
I have the habit to make pictures of the state of the game or baseline. Please have a look at a game in progress.

Same hotel board game in progress from another angle!

A hotel board game in progress!

Notice that I took pictures from different angles to be sure that the positions of all game pieces were clear.
Also to be sure that there was no hand trigger sprayer hidden somewhere somehow.

Suppose one of my kids would protest: “We were playing another game.” This is actually a bad baseline.

Then I could changed to this picture:A game of Settlers of Catan in progress!

Right game, but right state?
Looking at the boats I don’t think so.A board game of Settlers of Catan is shown with land and and sea tiles. At the edges of the sea files there are ships transporting people and spices!

Visual steps without a breakpoint

Let me visualise the steps taken in this very blog post:

Start: I have automation code, that opens the Login dialog.
A big rectangle has an arrow with "Automated steps" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle!

Green: make enough code to pass the failing test.
I added a CheckWindow method and ran the program.

What I actually did, was making a screenshot of the undesired situation or baseline.

When I ran the program again, the test passed.
A rectangle has an arrow with "Automated steps" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle. In turn this big rectangle has an arrow with "snapshot" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle!

Red: make a failing test.
Then I added code to enter “Cap” in the username textfield. Then I ran the program and the test failed.
A rectangle has an arrow with "Automated steps" to a big rectangle containing an empty rectangle. In turn this big rectangle has an arrow with "new automated steps" to a big rectangle with a rectangle containing "Cap". The last big rectangle has an arrow with "snapshot" to a big rectangle with a rectangle containing "Cap"!

Refactor: there was no need to clean up the code, because it was a proof of concept.

The used anti pattern is Green Red Refactor.
Highly unrecommended.

Wrap up

In this blog post I described a way to use Visual Testing without a breakpoint. I also did not really use Test Driven Development.

There were two drawbacks to this approach:

  1. The test CheckWindow was not tested. So an extra step was needed.
  2. I assumed that the change in the test result would be a sign of progress.

Visual TDD in Test Automation – part 1

A few weeks ago I was in my sport school.
Minding my own business. Keeping my distance.

I was called by the manager.
Minding her own business. Closing her distance to the allowed 1.5 meters.

“You are using the wrong liquid to clean the machine.”
My eyes went to the automatic liquid dispenser.

She followed my view:
“You must use the hand trigger sprayer. You used the spray for the hand instead of the machine.”

So what is the problem?

In the previous blog posts about Test Driven Development in test automation I showed how to slowly grow the code. I used the case of a log in form using Red Green Refactor:

  • Red: Make a failing test for entering a user name.
  • Green: Make enough code to let the test succeed.
  • Refactor: Clean up the code.

There is also a password field, so I have to repeat these steps. There are probably more text fields, which lead to similar steps.

Big side step.
At the moment I use the Page Object Model or POM to represent my application. It is a popular model in test automation. This basically means, that every webpage has unique web elements like text fields.

An advantage of this model is that a webpage has his own class or all code in one place. A disadvantage is that code is copied and pasted and therefore harder to maintain.

“You used the same code for all 200 textfields in this web application. Now you have to change at all those 200 places.“
This can go wrong at 200 places and counting.

I wouldn’t be surprised, if it is possible to make some nice class for a text field. But I try to avoid this because of the complications.

Big side step back.

But entering the right username is not very exciting stuff to check. What about no username or a user name with spaces? So I have to check whether error messages are shown. A message can be shown in different ways under the text field, after the text field, or in a dialog.

Filling in a user name in text field could lead to 2 checks:

  • does the right text field contain the user name?
  • is the right error message shown?

The code to check for the right error message is of course different.

Unfortunately there are many elements on a website like checkboxes and buttons. For every check I need new code to check whether Selenum WebDriver executed the right steps and whether the right error message is shown. That is a lot of code.

It is as cumbersome like using 2 different liquids in sport school to prevent spreading of the Corona virus. For me this was confusing.

So my test automation problem is that I want to check every step in my code, then I need to write new code every time. For the people who are worried about the increasing number of checks I have a spoiler: it is not always needed. See the FAQ in the previous blog post.

For the people who really need to code check for every test automation action; there is a viable alternative.

A solution for the problem

A baseline is an old state which is used to be compared with the new state. This is handy for testing purposes.

I like to play board games with my kids. There is a problem: the kitchen table is also used for dinner. In case of game time shortage I make pictures. That is our baseline. When we want to continue the game we use the pictures to restore the state of game. In case of any arguments the pictures are right.

A board game of Settlers of Catan is shown with land and and sea tiles. At the edges of the sea files there are ships transporting people and spices!

At the moment there is software to make pictures of my screen during an automated test. Applitools is a tool which uses AI or Artificial Intelligence to compare these pictures.

The advantage of artificial intelligence is that pixel perfect comparisons are not always needed. If the new state differs a few pixels from the baseline, then the test passes. In case of a failed test a human tester must verify the test result. This can save time and energy.

It can be compared with restoring the state of a board game.A ship must lie on the edge of sea tile. If the ship is close enough to 1 edge of a blue tile, then the exact location of the game piece on the tile does not matter.

Disclaimer: I am not paid by Applitools for writing this article.

The first time the code is used this will happen:

  • the code fills the username field.
  • the code makes a picture of the screen and suggest this as the baseline.

The second time the code will be executed this will happen:

  • fill the username field.
  • make a picture of the screen.
  • compare this picture with the baseline.
  • determine whether any differences are acceptable. Only the last step must be executed by a human tester.

In this example I will show the most basic test using Visual Test Driven Development in Test Automation.

Minimal Viable Project

I will describe the steps using Java. You are free to switch to your favourite language and programing tool. Applitools supports other programming languages. On Test Automation University there are several courses for Applitools including installation instructions.

At the moment I will only focus on the combination of visual testing and Test Driven Development. This means that the code can be improved in many ways. Let’s call it a proof of concept.

Java code

For a fast demo I used the Java code on
https://applitools.com/docs/topics/overview/walkthough-example.html#Building

For this blog post I used the following the files pom.xml and TestLogin.java, which can be found in my github. I made a Maven project, which used the XML file. You can use the code to follow along.

I made some adjustments and minimised the code to demonstrate Visual TDD:

  • I changed the appName and the testName.
  • Because of some execution problem I changed the resolution in viewportSizeLandscape.
  • I changed the application under test to http://the-internet.herokuapp.com/login.
  • I put the method test01Changed in comment
  • I removed some code in the method setup.

In the main method 3 things are done:

  1. Set up the test.
    Applitools is initialised and the URL of the website to be tested is set.
  2. Execute the actual test.
    This code is in the method test01.
  3. Tear down of the test.
    At the end Applitools is stopped in orderly way.

Red: make a failing test

Let’s start.

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// TODO: fill in the username

// TODO: add test. // TODO: In other words add code for making a baseline and
// comparing the screen with the baseline
// [edited for blog post]

I used the checkWindow method.
For me this was confusing. This method has two possible outcomes:

  1. If there is no baseline, make a screenprint and suggest it as a baseline.
    I could not derive this from the method name.
  2. Compare the screenprint with the baseline and report the test result.
    This was the expected outcome of the method.

A better name wouuld be something like compareScreenWithBaselineIfPresentOtherwiseSuggestBaseline.
There is an advantage: I only need 1 method.

So I added checkWindow

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// TODO: fill in the username

// add test.
// In other words add code for making a baseline and
// comparing the screen with the baseline
// [edited for blog post] eyes.checkWindow("Username filled in");

and a breakpoint.

On line 65 a breakpoint is set which is shown as a red filled circle!

Then I started the debugger .

The Run Menu is openened and the Debug TestLogin is selected!

The Debugger pane is shown with information about the program at the breakpoint!

At the breakpoint I entered Cap as user name. Why? Cap can be an abbreviation of Captain Marvel or Captain America.

Then I resumed the program.

The button with the thin green filled rectangle and the green filled triangle poining to the right is selected showing a menu with the Resume Program option!

Now I was curious about the result. I logged in in the Applitools website with my free account,:

In the Applitools website the Login Batch run is shown with the minimised screen with an orange bar on the left!

My last batch run showed an orange test result. I clicked on the test result.

A message is shown, that the baseline is not present and a picture of the screenshot. In the right upper corner there is a thumbs Up button!

But there was no baseline. So I selectedt he Thumb up icon in the right upper corner.

A message is shown± `You have successfully resolved all steps. Would you like to continu to the next step or close this editor=` with the Continue button and a Close button!

There was only 1 step I had to resolve.

Then I clicked on the Save button or the Diskette button..

What happened?
I made a script which does 2 things:

  • Go to login page and
  • make a picture of the login with the filled in user name field.

Then I went to a website to set the expected baseline.
Now I had a test with a baseline. But would it fail?

I removed the breakpoint and ran the the program again.
The test failed.

The console shows the following message: "Test failed : 1 steps matches=0 missing=0 mismatches=1"!

Back to the Applitools portal.
I pressed the Refresh button or the button with the two pointed arrows above the list of batch runs.

After the selection of the Refresh button or the button with the two arrows followed by the selection of the last Test Login batch a screen print with a orange bar to the left is shown!

I clicked on the orange test result. The differences were highlighed in pink, because the the button with the Stack of sheets had Diffs checked.

In the menubar a button with a stack of sheets is selected showing a menu with Diffs option which is checked. In the print screen "Cap"; in the username is highlighted in pink!

I unchecked the Diffs, so I could see screen print without any pink highlighting.

It was possible to show both screen printes at the same time.

Button with two images of a form and a double pointed arrow between them is selected and showing a menu is shown with the Show both option which is checked. In the left image or baseline "Cap" in the username field is hightlighted in pink, in the right image or checkpoint several spaces in the username field is hightlighted in pink!

It was also possible to compare the picture without the pink highlighting.

In the left image or baseline "Cap" in the username is shown, in the right image or checkpoint the username is empty. In the right upper corner there is a thumbs down button!

This was expected: a failing test,I clicked on the refresh button.

The refresh button is located under the last 30 batch runs and above login test!

Then I selected the Thumb down button,

The latest Test Login batch is selected and a screen print with a red bar to the left and a Thumbs down are shown!

So I had my failing test.

Green: make enough code to make the test succeed

// Go to Login dialog.
driver.get(weburl);

// fill in the username
driver.findElement(By.id("username")).sendKeys("Cap");

// Test.
// In other words add code for making a baseline and
// comparing the screen with the baseline
// [edited for blog post] eyes.checkWindow("Username filled in");

Remember: checkWindow can also compare the screen with a baseline, if present.

Let’s run the code.
And it passed.

The latest Test Login batch is selected and a screen print with a green bar to the left is shown!

I went back to the Applitools website and pressed the Refresh button.

The refresh button is located under the last 30 batch runs and above login test!

The website gave the same green test result.

The latest Test Login batch is selected and a screen print with a green bar to the left is shown!

Refactor: clean up the code

For a proof of concept the code is good enough.

Recap

  • Red: make a failing test by adding the username test and using a breakpoint.
  • Green: add code to fill the username and execute the new script.
  • Refactor: clean up the code.

Problem solved?

Did I reduce the number of lines of code to check whether my test automation scripts work?
Probably.

Some people might think:
“One line to rule them all.”
checkWindow for the win.

But you might have notice that extra code is needed for setup, tear down, and report. So that is a trade off.

For this demonstration I did not have to pay for Applitools.
This tool must be paid, if you use a lot of image comparisons.

There is an extra price tag for storing the images on your preferred server instead of the server of Applitools. Something which should be discussed with the legal department.

This case looks complicated with the breakpoint.
In the next blog post I will look to a different solution without using the breakpoint.

The Clokie Project

In December 2018 Katherina Clokie, a known speaker, announced to look more outside the Tester community.

My reaction

Amazement, grief.

After a few months I realised that it was not a bad idea.

My change of heart

My wife has some really tough questions I have to answer. The biggest one is:
“What did you learn?”
Right behind each test conference.

So I reduced my number of test conferences and number of hours at the conferences. There are still some really good conferences like TestBash, Agile Testing Days, and European Testing Conference with plenty of awesome few insights.

I attended a lot of other conferences and after a while I would be just happy to pick up something new.

There is more to gain at a conference if you only know the basics. With more than 20 years of experience it is a way less.

It was time for my Clokie project.


Time for a small flashback to October and November 2018. I already had looked outside the Test Community.

Here are some notes from Infosecurity 2018:
In case of doubt treat data as personal data. Zip code and house number are personal data.

In EU there are several privacy government organisations, but they have different focus on privacy issues.

Steps in case of data breach:
Secure proof
Look in the logging
Determine scope
Communicate
Remediate
Learn

A change of behaviour can indicate an identity theft.

The way of accessing data in the cloud is the weakest link.

In GDPR, the European Privacy Law, a penalty is used to let the company feel the pain instead of putting a company out of business.

GDPR is not applicable for dead persons. But there can be other laws which are applicable for dead persons.

Meet the expos

How to attract people to an expo? Goodies, free access, and talks.

Some Healthcare and ICT notes of me in random order
Anonymize pictures, determine objects of interest, and annotate them using smart software.

First step is vision and then involve stakeholders like care providers, health insurers, and suppliers.

Patient panel discovered that 60 % of the patients want a personal health environment.

Care providers like hospitals and doctors are stimulated. They get money on basis of results and not on actions taken.

Law of customer’s rights. E.g. A care provider should only get information which is needed for the care to be provided.

Misconfiguration is becoming the weakest point in defense.

Meet the meetups

010dev is a small meetup in Rotterdam. It has Dutch characteristics like gezellig (cosy) and Buy Own Drink. It is in a pub after all. Once in a whole while it is in a company.

During my meetups there are no lectures, but I still listened a lot. As a tester was I am able to follow the small talk and tech talk?

In a few hours a lot of subjects passed. Programming languages, projects, and new trends were discussed. Somehow I could understand bits and pieces.

Developers.nl had a more traditional format for the meetup: free drinks, free meals, and free lectures.

I went to two meetups. The first one was abstract. It was about architecture. What are good guiding principles to set up a complex environment?

The second meetup was about vue.js. This was a challenging one. I had only basic knowledge about JavaScript and HTML. So I read some ebooks about vue.js which are based on these languages.

This talk was more understandable for me. The speaker shared some tips about vue.js.

How to speed up the performance by loading the needed content in 2 stages? First the necessary stuff was loaded for the web page. The rest followed while the user had a first impression of the page.

Looking under the hood

My blog has been made with WordPress. One day I was blogging and a conference in Rotterdam was announced in the dashboard.

There were some particular benefits: 25 Euro for a ticket including lunch, an environment friendly environment, meeting other WordPress users, short traveling distance.

As a tester I had not had a chance to attend a talk about accessibility. I honestly don’t understand this.

This conference offered more talks about this subject than I could process. I skipped the last ones.

Another interesting subject was security headers. It is possible to make WordPress secure. I was thinking that a header only contained some information.

For the interested reader have a look at my conference digest mind map.

Finishing thoughts

Retro: did I learn more than previous years?
Yes.

But what did I pick up in those previous years?
Mostly subjects related to programming and law. Less about testing.

Just made me think.


On Twitter Trish Koo placed a thought provoking tweet. In order to become better in software development  you have to learn both testing and programming.

A Bit More Responsive

Years ago some websites looked terrible on my smartphone. They looked like websites viewed from 6 meters distance.

The first time I visited my blog with my smartphone, I was really anxious: “Does it look right?”

5 seconds later “What did I worry about?”

Disclaimer

I am not a legal expert. So please have a look at my used sources. Or contact a legal expert.

I am just a tester finding test ideas about accessibility. Thanks for joining in advance.

Some test responsiveness stories

My first tablet app to be tested was intended for an iPad. I had a Windows PC instead of the tablet. This was not right.

My solution was to install Safari and let it emulate an iPad. In other words: “I know you are a Windows machine. Now you function like an iPad.”
It sounds like a hypnosis act.
“What did I worry about?”

This work around did not stop me to demand an iPad. There is nothing like the real thing.

Responsive web design is basically about creating the best possible user experience in the assigned space on the screen.

This blog looks good on a mobile device and a laptop. The same features are shown only in a different order and in a different way, but it feels the same. Really responsive.

The last years I learned CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. CSS determines how the websites looks. It is even possible to change the locations of web elements.

If I look to this website in a browser on a laptop, I can make the window smaller by resizing the window. The effect is that elements of the web page are resized or relocated or not shown any more.

During a debriefing a developer showed me this resizing trick.
Resize and look for bad things like hidden buttons or partially shown texts.
It is a fast way for the first impression.

Can not install on my machine

All that resizing stuff is not an exact science and Safari … cannot simply be installed on a company laptop because of a company policy. So I did a bit of research. If you don’t mind.

Firefox has a special feature Dev Tools. It can be accessed using the F12 key. In the upper right corner of this sub window there is a button with two rectangles, which look like a smartphone and a tablet.
A green eclipse marking a button with a smartphone and a tablet in the menu bar of Dev Tools!

This opens a lot of options to test smartphones and tablets.

It also support the screen orientation like portrait and landscape.

Just look to this website on a mobile phone while holding it in portrait mode. Then change it to landscape. In portrait mode only the headers of my last blog posts are shown, in the landscape mode the last complete blogs posts are shown. Courtesy of my website software.

Chrome and Edge also have Dev Tools which can be accessed using F12 key. Both Dev Tools windows have an emulator tab for mobile devices.

Concerning responsiveness

One of the biggest search engines decided to give a higher ranking to mobile friendly websites. So support for small screens can give a positive boost to let a user find a website.

Most people have a PC or laptop with 1 screen. It is sometimes tedious to switch application. So I tend to resize the applications to fit more of them on my screen. My preference is squeezed and usable.

Another thing for responsiveness is language. Some customers prefer to use a website or application in their own language. OK is translated to OK, but Cancel to Annuleren or Annullieren. So the button should be resized after translation.

Responsiveness is not only about reshuffling web page elements. It is also about resizing the web page elements in case of bigger fonts.

Suppose I have bad eyes, then I need to make fonts bigger so that I can actually read the text. Pressing the Ctrl key and the + key at the same time will enlarge the text in browsers and Windows applications.

Problem solved?
No, I am so sorry.

As a user I have to scroll a lot. It is like watching a picture which is split over three different screens. I have to change my seat to get the whole picture.

In 2024 this could have some legal consequences in Europe.
In Annex 1 of the European Accessibility Act “flexible magnification” is mandatory for specific commercial websites.

In case of American customers for an e-commerce website there is a law already in place at this very moment. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) explicitly points to  the WCAG or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines on page 196 of Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Regulations.

In WCAG  also attention must be paid to screen size and orientation.

One more chat

“How would you like your website?”
“Responsive please.”
“No problem.”
“Thank you, my dear.”
“You are welcome, grandma.”

Link Missing In Action

“Know the ways of all professions”
– Miyamoto Musashi

UX designer

A few blog posts ago I told about my attempts to make this very blog more accessible. I just walked my talk.

For people who need a story:
As a user with no or bad view I want headers tagged as headers, so that the screen reader can read the headers differently aloud.

Web master

I changed the look of the headers in a lot of blog posts. I went in a flow and gained more speed in the process, until …

A small square disappeared. I just did an undo and continued editing.

The next time I let the square disappear, I had already updated the blog post on the web.

Hit the OK, Jack.
[on the melaody of “Hit the road, Jack”]

This was not good for my user journey. I did not want to lose a user by a missing link. Just stick around.

Tester

There was an easy trick for finding missing links. On the internet there were free websites and add ons for browsers available.

Marketeer

As a marketeer I had some problems with broken link reporters. A reporter had to hit every page and every link in it. So the number of hits would increase significantly.

Even worse there are web pages referring to other web pages. So some pages are counted double. Then there are categories and months referring to pages. So some pages are counted more than twice.

This would hide the real traffic in my daily reports. But this is not a company web site. Otherwise I should have to add a note about a maintenance period. For an auditor. So I could skip this role.

Tester again

First pick of a broken link service stopped half way. The second looked promising, but it had terms and conditions.

Legal expert

Now I was curious. I clicked on the link and landed on a page with lots of legal sentences. Must be American thing.

I tried to distil the information. The most important message was that the service was provided as is. There were no financial consequences for the service providers.

I have a website which does not provide me any income.
So what was I waiting for?

Enter my website and show my broken links you can find.

Author

Now it was the turn for the author to have a fix.
Yeah. Sure.

The first broken link was ejc2008.de. This is short for European Juggling Convention 2008 in Germany. More than 10 years ago. This must be an old-timer.

I entered the URL in the browser and got an error message. After 10 years the website was taken offline. But I needed a link.

Then I looked for internet archive wayback machine in my search engine. This website stores all versions of visited websites. I entered ejc2008.de and found my website.

I picked a link to 2019 copy and replaced the link in the blog posts. This way people can still read about a convention which was visited by more than 3,000 people sharing the fun of juggling.

In my list of broken links I found a link to a Let’s Test conference in 2015. I had a better link available, so I just updated the link. A similar situation for the first TestBash conference in the Netherlands.

It was a simple test tool. No need to switch to tester mode.

Another run of broken link test revealed that I had not changed the About me page. Why did they show up now? No idea.
Anyways. Fixed.

3rd test run revealed no more missing links. But something was wrong. I missed the comeback of the square. Popping back in view.

Web master again

In my memory I tried to locate the square. It was during header 6 handling. Then I remembered the use of anchors.

An anchor is a fast way to get a reader at the right place in a blog post instead of the top of the post. This saves the reader some scrolling. Example time.

In my blog post about a test exercise the following code is shown in my code editor:

My last upload before my workshop was for me <a href="http://mindfultester.com/a-look-behind-the-scenes/#disaster">another exercise in exploration</a>.

In my blog post “A look behind the scenes – in Runö” the following code is shown in my code editor:

<h1><strong><a id="disaster"></a>Flirting with disaster</strong></h1>

A broken link checker only checks whether the link exists and ignores the presence of an anchor. So it was an anchor missing in action.

Now I had to check the 90ish blog posts for anchors. Preferably automatically and not clicking all links myself. Please.

If I could only find them. I got a flash of insight. It was possible to find blog posts with a search engine in my Content Management System or website authoring program.

I looked for #. And yes, all blog posts with anchors and links with anchors were listed. Now it was easy to add missing anchors.

Professions

So I was

  • Tester
  • Marketeer
  • Legal expert
  • UX designer
  • Author
  • Web master

I skipped the auditor though.