How Testlio Enables Consistent and Delightful User Experiences

Background

Stories that Change the World

Digital magazine platform Flipboard is a fan favorite for curating and devouring content from a variety of sources. Since its start in 2010, Flipboard has added thousands of publishers on its platform, tens of thousands of topics and its community of 100 million active monthly users is curating over 30 million magazines. Readers flip through, save, and share articles across mobile (iOS and Android) devices and on the web.

“What makes our app unique is that the content on our platform is very dynamic,” said Anna DeSilva, QA Software Engineer at Flipboard. “We have to make sure that no matter what content is being displayed and how the user is interacting with it, that the app performs perfectly.” Users can discover content based on their interests and can follow other users for the latest in a vast array of niche categories, from aviation to zoology.

Challenge

A Design-First Product

The variety of devices and environments puts extra pressure on the QA team to maintain an excellent experience for Flipboard users across the globe. “We want to make sure that our application is working great in every single environment,” said DeSilva. “That’s the most challenging thing for us.”

Flipboard is known for having a beautiful interface so intuitive it’s almost addictive. “We’re a design-first team,” said Barrie Levinson, Head of Program Management and Product Operations. “Flipboard is a better way to collect a lot of information about all the things you’re interested in or passionate about into one very pleasant and delightful reading experience. It’s a very UI heavy app which means it can be hard to automate, so manual testing is a really important aspect of promoting the user experience.”

Product complexity, device coverage, and UI functionality all result in a high need for manual testing, which can really overwhelm a lean QA team. Flipboard had worked with an external testing solution before but it felt impersonal, lacked communication, and didn’t impact the quality of the product.

In 2015, the team decided that it was time for a change in how they approached quality assurance. Levinson and others at Flipboard identified several solutions and chose Testlio because of the dedicated team, customized test management, and immediate feedback.

“That philosophy of really caring about the product almost as much as we do is one of the reasons that when we went through the selection process a year and a half ago we felt really comfortable working with Testlio,” said Levinson.

“The platform made it very easy to maintain communication and very convenient for me to triage bugs. The reporting system was great. The way it’s organized is very straightforward. It was a component of the communication flow as well.”
Anna DeSilva QA Software Engineer at Flipboard

 

Solutions

Fast and Flexible Testing (Weekends Included)

By quickly adapting to release cycles, Testlio offered a lot of flexibility to Flipboard. “We run pretty lean so we counted on Testlio,” said Levinson. “From a project management point of view, weekend cycles put Testlio squarely on a critical path for us.” The team typically submits to app stores on Monday or Tuesday, and will spend those first couple days of the week triaging the bugs found.  
“Testlio felt like an extension of our own team and capability.”
Barrie Levinson Head of Program Management and Product Operations at Flipboard

DeSilva provided a test plan for each cycle, and Testlio’s QA manager then divided up the structured exploratory tasks. Use cases without set scripts allowed Testlio’s skilled testers to approach each case from multiple angles, while the test plan kept everyone on track with Flipboard’s upcoming releases.

DeSilva used Testlio’s test management platform to communicate with the testing team. “The platform made it very easy to maintain communication and very convenient for me to triage bugs,” said DeSilva. “The reporting system was great. The way it’s organized is very straightforward. It was a component of the communication flow as well.”

Testlio’s experienced testers delivered a focus on the customer that was characteristic of the overall partnership. In addition to receiving well-organized and prioritized issues, DeSilva’s team also received suggestions and improvements that were forwarded to the developers. “The testers do care if the user experience is good enough and the app is intuitive enough,” she said.

“Working with Testlio felt like working with another startup,” said Levinson. “The team was dynamic, they care.”

Result

Lean QA with Maximum Impact

With Testlio on board, the Flipboard QA team improved on all methods of quality assurance. “We counted on the coverage for manual testing that let our employees work on automation concurrently,” said Levinson.

Partnering with Testlio also meant Flipboard maintained an excellent user experience despite organizational changes. “The company was growing and changing and still trying to do very aggressive things,” explained Levinson. “Even with some changes in the teamboth with engineering and QAwe were able to keep a really consistent and high level of QA service for the organization.”

 

“Testlio felt like an extension of our own team and capability,” said Levinson. “Testlio helped Flipboard improve quality on every device in every location where users rely on the app for stories that change the world from inside its elegant interface.”
 “Manual testing is a really important aspect of promoting the user experience.”
Barrie Levinson Head of Program Management and Product Operations at Flipboard
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