What is "attention to detail" in a QA lifecycle?

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When I began working as a QA Engineer, I was introduced to Comprehensive Reviews, Test Cases, and various technical aspects. However, despite a basic visual analysis, there was no “technical” approach to performing a Pixel Perfect Review

After conducting an exhaustive search of the internet, even a simple query such as "What is the QA lifecycle?" proved to be challenging for ChatGPT due to the abundance of information on the daily responsibilities and parameters of a QA Engineer. That’s why this blog intends to provide readers with valuable insights into the first steps of conducting a Pixel Perfect review and techniques to enhance its efficacy. 

First steps on a serious QA Pixel Perfect review  

Initially, I focused on familiarizing myself with the design environments, specifically Figma (now owned by Adobe). Understanding the complex layout of the application, where every image corresponds to a different part of the application or page, and following a flow similar to a user's "Happy Path" required time and a steep learning curve, well beyond traditional QA skills.

For those who are new to graphic design applications, it's important to take it slow and steady. The initial experience can be overwhelming, confusing, and even frustrating –but don't let this discourage you.

When using Figma, the primary tasks involve measuring distances and examining relationships between elements. This includes measuring the size, height, and weight of a font. Fortunately, access to Figma is restricted to only viewing content when the link is shared with all members; there's no option to alter or make any changes.

Inspecting the elements is the best approach to gathering information on styles, font size, padding, and more. As a result, it's crucial to spend more time exploring and experimenting with Figma through your browser.

As QAs, we have a big responsibility for the design  

The responsibility for design in different organizations is often placed on a select few, including the client. However, the impact of design is critical to both the user experience and front-end developers who need to understand specific graphic design terms. QAs, especially those who are starting out or have not had projects focused on the end-user experience, must also access this knowledge.

Terms such as "text box," "weight in a font," "colors in HEX, RGB, HSI, CSS, or HSB," and "radius of a rounded box" are important for front-end developers to understand, and QAs must also have a grasp of these concepts to incorporate them into the quality assurance life cycle and provide accurate feedback. While developers have their own methods and expertise, such as tackling a CSS challenge to bring a design to life, QAs must also possess a similar level of expertise and methodology to perform a Pixel Perfect review.

From my personal experience, I always strive to communicate with the designer to clarify any doubts, offer suggestions, or propose fixes that could enhance the design and user experience. In the end, teamwork proves to be more effective, yielding better results for both our teams and clients.

Improving the Pixel Perfect Reviews as a QA  

In order to conduct a proper Pixel Perfect analysis, one must possess a discerning eye, an intuitive understanding of design, and a heightened sense of what looks good. When something appears off or out of place in the overall composition of a screen, it's essential to pay close attention and invest more time in scrutinizing it until that nagging feeling of "something's not right" is resolved.

Do you think you need to possess a special ability to carry out an accurate Pixel Perfect review? Perhaps.

For instance, if the lines that frame a modal are slightly thicker than those of other modals (a difference of just 1 px), then technically, they may be acceptable, but they don't look good. This is where a trained eye is critical.

Do the modals function properly? Yes.

Is the code correct? Yes.

Do users experience issues with these lines? No.

Is the app flow seamless? Yes.

Should we still fix it? … – The unequivocal answer is YES.

You must possess the necessary skills to explain why it's wrong, supported by a technical design argument. However, plain language can suffice. Express your opinions and arguments in the simplest manner possible regarding whether a design adheres to the desired standards.

If something doesn't appear to look right on one browser, try switching to another. If you're using a mobile app, test it on an actual device, or use a non-standard screen size on the simulator. Always attempt to eliminate any doubts you have and never close a ticket with that unsettling feeling of uncertainty.

Achieving a better Pixel Perfect Review demands more than hard-skill learning; it requires honing the soft skills necessary to develop the discerning eye that is indispensable for conducting accurate evaluations.

Final thoughts

As Quality Assurance professionals, we must become more stringent and precise in our evaluation of designs and comparisons with the deliverables against Figma mockups or any other tool used. It is essential to establish standards and procedures to conduct an optimal Pixel Perfect Review and allot more time to these areas in our analysis.

Furthermore, it is imperative that organizations recognize that these reviews require additional time compared to regular tests. The importance of aligning elements to the center of a screen, maintaining the right padding, using the correct font size, and ensuring color consistency across pages cannot be overstated.

Pixel Perfect Review demands a QA's complete attention to detail, as it requires detecting even the slightest movement in one or two pixels, which could significantly alter the user's experience. As such, it should be considered a crucial step in the QA process, with an established timeline and detailed protocol. QAs must lead the way in promoting this type of analysis and precision for future projects.

Effective communication with designers is also critical. We need to collaborate more closely, be open to improvements, and work towards enhancing the user experience. Within the QA lifecycle, there are opportunities for improvement and growth, which we must capitalize on.

In a world where technology is advancing rapidly, and competition is fierce, precision in web page and mobile app visualizations is key to maintaining a competitive edge. Therefore, it is essential to have in-depth discussions about the Pixel Perfect Review in the QA lifecycle to improve its importance and efficacy.

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