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win with us.
We exist to make your business thrive and our greatest reward is our returning clients. Our focus is and always will be on our clients and not on industry awards and accreditations, which could account for why we’ve won so many of them…
Test Automation - What, When & Why.
In a world of digital technology and software project delivery quality, accuracy and speed are everything. One way to deliver these three key principles as part of your software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) is by investing and utilising automated testing as part of your test execution strategy in producing robust products and solutions for your end customers.
What is Automated Testing?
Automated testing is using software tools or coded scripts to control and predict the outcome or expected outcome of your test cases - in some cases the tools can also compare the outcomes and deliver comprehensive reporting
There are a number of programs that can be used to automate testing, these include (but not limited too) Selenium, Appium, Cucumber, Eggplant and RFT. These will all have different requirements, costs and ways of working. My personal belief is that codeless automation is the way to go as it is more inclusive and easier to pick up as a novice. Frequently they are designed with a very intuitive interface and a plethora of online libraries, tutorial videos and end-user communities. In my role at Sagittarius, my tool of choice is Katalon Studio.
Katalon Studio is a codeless automation tool that also offers a scripting mode to allow for more diverse tests when required. I’ve been leveraging the power of Katalon for over 3 years now and have always been impressed with its functionality, usability and ever-expanding feature list that allows me to test the complex digital web applications that we deliver for our customers.
When to Automate?
Automated testing can be done for even the most minor of tests as well as far larger and lengthy regression tests. It is important to get an automation strategy in place from the outset of a project so all team members are clear on expectations and related workloads - this includes the customer or client too!
I firmly believe that the best time to start automation is at the beginning of a project as soon as you have something tangible to test, no matter how small, start as you mean to go on! This is especially true in an agile environment where the iterative approach means baking-in an automation tool throughout. This also means that come the end of the sprint delivery your regression suite is pre-built and will just need refining with minor adjustments.
The 4 major benefits of automated testing are:
- Automation significantly reduces the chance of human error. It is very easy during manual testing to become ‘click-happy’ and skip past possible defects. So long as the automated script is written correctly those errors are much less likely to be missed which significantly increases the accuracy of the QA process
- Using any automated software will always take time to initially configure and perfect for the initial test cases. However, once up and running, automation can make your speed of testing much faster - sometimes up to 6-7x faster meaning an hour's worth of QA work can be done in approximately 10 minutes. This is even more noticeable when you use a testing suite that will run the scripts in parallel and even greater efficiencies are realised when you have a base framework in place
- The quality of the automation is integral to the quality of the output. If you’re able to build high-quality automation scripts that can run time and time again this allows you to double up on testing. In turn, you’ll be able to do more explorative testing manually whilst the automation software runs the remaining test cases. This allows twice the output within the same time scale allowing for a significantly higher quality product being delivered
- Customer satisfaction and speed to market. This is a key consideration in a digital world that moves at a pace that most digital transformation programmes are unable to keep up with. Ensuring that you are frequently delivering improved experiences and features to your customers will help you stay ahead of competitors whilst keeping your customers excited by the rate of updates whilst not facing a reduction in the quality of the digital solution they are consuming.
It’s key for us (and you!) to invest in the right skills and tools to truly provide incremental benefits to the software delivery process, and the rewards of high quality, rapidly and frequently tested products for clients goes without saying.
If you’re looking for an agency to start looking at your test automation and drive up the quality of the digital experiences you offer, simply get in touch today - we’ll love to talk more.
Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.
A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.
So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance.
What is a Content Strategy?
It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.
But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business.
Who are my Audience?
You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.
So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context.
Do I need to tailor content?
As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.
Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:
What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?
Who are they most influenced by?
What voices influence their behaviour?
What type of content do they consume?
Where do they consume content and engage with brands?
Different Content, Different Objectives
All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.
There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.
Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale.
Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels.
Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.
Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.
Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.
How do I manage all this?
Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.
Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.
Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.
If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.
want to speak to one of our experts?
Aaron is a strong believer in automated testing and feels this is the way forward but also understand the importance of a strong manual approach.