While exploring, I use this framework to guide the way that I judge something that has bothered me.
- external (vs an external authority i.e. a spec)
- internal (vs another similar thing)
- cultural (vs my own expectations)
- absence: something is surprising by its absence
- extra: something is surprising by its presence
Before I can spot bugs on behalf of an external authority, I need to work to understand it. In practice, this means that I need to know the spec, I need to understand the regulations, I need to have worked with an end-user to develop empathy. If I've seen this kind of inconsistency, that's easy: it's a bug.
Tools are often helpful in picking out internal inconsistencies, especially where there's lots to sift through; pixel shifts in the UI, configuration differences, data entities, log weirdnesses. The art is in knowing which is the bug – but perhaps we don't always need to make that judgement, if we've got access to someone who cares.
I find that it's natural (and therefore easy) to spot cultural inconsistencies, and hard to persuade someone else – or even myself. So while I might notice the problem, I might not be able to make a decision, let alone take action.
more to come
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