Dark Patterns Are Just Very Bad Designs

Well, this made me laugh, and it is kind of true.  I also think that whilst designers would love to ‘delight the users’ all the time there are obviously forces from other sides of the business that have influence to have these daft designs implemented.

Of course, this could be created and built as ‘per spec design’, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing to do. As testers we should be aware of this and try to combat these bad design practices.

Stop calling these Dark Design Patterns or Dark UX — these are simply a**hole designs

Have you noticed that lately some people are trying to coin the terms “Dark UX” or “Dark Design Patterns”? Not only that, but also trying to put in the UX account some nasty psychological or cheap tricks.

We are User Experience Designers and our core objective is to create delightful and seamless experiences for the user. Let’s be clear here, if you do any of the following below I suggest a new term: “A**hole Design”. – Flavio Lamenza


I’ve been paying more attention to the term ‘meritocracy’ after I read the book Technically Wrong.  The guy (Michael Young) who coined the term meant it as satire. As with many things these days, we need to be careful, rethink and recreate what we know.

The man who coined the word four decades ago wishes Tony Blair would stop using it

I have been sadly disappointed by my 1958 book, The Rise of the Meritocracy. I coined a word which has gone into general circulation, especially in the United States, and most recently found a prominent place in the speeches of Mr Blair.

The book was a satire meant to be a warning (which needless to say has not been heeded) against what might happen to Britain between 1958 and the imagined final revolt against the meritocracy in 2033. – Comment on The Guardian

7 Ways You Can Change The Software Testing Industry

Too many people think they can’t make a dent in the software testing industry.  Here are 7 ways you can!

1 – Help Change The Software Testing Wikipedia References

The software testing pages on wikipedia do not represent software testing well. Turns out it is pretty darn hard to get them updated. There is the main software testing page, but then there are many other related ones too, for example, functional testing. It’s probably worth trying to do smaller changes in not so busy pages and work your way up to bigger changes.

Don’t be disheartened if your changes get reverted. Alan Page has started an initiative on this. There’s even a slack group for it.

2 – Quora, oh Quora

It is quite depressing looking at the questions then answers on Quora. As a collective we can make a dent on it. There are some useful answers hidden in there, but they seem to be hidden amongst all the sales spam.

On the positive side, Quora is easier to make a dent in that Wikipedia.

From what I see there are two things we can do:

  • help get rid of the obvious sales posts by marking them as spam
  • help answer questions in a good way

3 – Write and Make Good Stuff

We’ve been dedicated to this at MoT for a while and I still believe we have the best collection of relevant software testing information out there, but it needs more action. The problem, as I see it, is that people who want to find information about software testing on the internet stumble upon all sorts of poor quality, boring and outdated stuff. This makes us all, as a community look bad. No wonder people keep thinking testing is dead – if they go searching for software testing information and don’t find good stuff, then why would they get excited about testing?

You can write and make stuff in all sorts of ways. Videos, articles, comics, images, graphs, mindmaps, lists, GitHub Repos, conference talks…

You can do this on your own ‘online space’ or you can contribute to others places. There are plenty of testing and non-testing websites, publications and conferences that would love to see more contributions.

4 – Don’t Believe That You Can’t Make A Difference

It’s easy to think that you can’t make a difference. That all that is important has been done. And how could you possibly make a contribution amongst all these apparent ‘thought leaders’. I call nonsense on that.

I look at the software testing world and I see the opportunity for a ‘land grab’, so to speak. As in, you can go and make your space in the world of testing. There is plenty of room at the moment to get good ideas out. Don’t expect change over night, expect to fail, expect not to be recognised, expect some things to work better than others. With ongoing and consistent effort you too can make a difference.

Be nervous and then do it anyways!

5 – Show Face

How can others know that we exist if we don’t show up? Go to conferences. Meetups. Have conversations. Make friends. Reach out. Connect. Not just with testers, but with all types of professionals who work in the ‘tech industry’.

You may be surprised at how people will then start talking and recommending you as a person to talk to about testing.

6 – Be Ethical

This is a topic close to my heart. I’ve been developing my own ethics in personal and work life. Think about what yours should be.

For me, not a complete list, but for example:

  • I won’t produce work that I don’t believe in.
  • I don’t believe in taking advantage of ‘free labour’.
  • I believe in investing in people in a human way.
  • I will increasingly scrutinise people and organisations that want to work with me.
  • Doing the right thing comes first, other things like recognition and money are secondary.

Support people and organisations that are doing good things. That will help evolve our industry in a better direction.

7 – Look Elsewhere For Inspiration and Log It Somewhere

Think others just magically come up with ideas and turn it into something that you love?  Think again. Most of my ideas for Ministry of Testing have come from other sources.  I don’t claim to be unique, I look at how other people do things, or what others make and I ask myself: is this relevant to the software testing world?

Find your sources of inspiration, from your own and any walk of life.  Take notes, in whatever way works for you.  Then find some quiet time to make something.

Whether your publish it or not, living through the practice is an important part of the process of making something.

Being Open About Motherhood

I’m finding it interesting that women (not necessarily mothers) are starting to reach out and thank me as I start to be more open about motherhood and how I balance things with my family.  Mostly the comments are thanking me for being open about things and showing how things can be done in a different way.

Recently this has been more associated related to Pass the Piper and how I wrote about it being easier to do things ourselves (on a more personal blog).

Is LinkedIn Lying?

My job title is pretty unique, made up to be honest.  Often I get emails from LinkedIn saying things like: “27 FounderBoss jobs were filled on LinkedIn recently.”

I just find it hard to believe that anyone actually ever recruits for a ‘FounderBoss’.  Even more hard when I click on the link within the email to see current jobs listed and it says there are none.

So is LinkedIn lying and how ethical, or not, is it to do this kind of thing?

Commonplace Books

I’ve been looking more into taking notes with cards and have come across the concept of Commonplace books, which I like very much!  I’ve been working on taking notes on cards anyways, but this gives my efforts another sense of focus.

I plan to use a mixture of cards, Evernote and my varying websites to log all the things.  We shall see how it goes.

Here’s some useful bits that I’ve come across.

“A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organization these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do.” – Maria Popova


Notecard system

I’ve started experimenting with my own note taking system.  It’s too early to share specifics, so far I’ve been taking notes the past few weeks and dumping them into a pile.  I expect to revisit them at some point to start organising them into something useful for my ongoing projects and ideas.

Here’s an interesting article on the concept of using notecards by Ryan Holiday.

Too much automation you say Elon Musk?

The Tweet going around atm that I believe many testers are loving.

In the past month, Tesla has issued a voluntary recall of 123,000 of its older Model S vehicles, dealt with a fatal crash of a vehicle equipped with its semi-autonomous driving system and suffered a downgrade of its credit status on Wall Street. But the most important thing on Musk’s mind right now is solving production delays for the company’s Model 3 sedan. – CBS News

In the same article above I still love the fact that Elon tweeted an April fool:

On April Fools’ Day, Musk mixed his optimism with dark humor on social media. In the midst of widespread concerns Tesla might collapse, he tweeted: “We are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it.”


TestBash Feedback

Probably the most meaningful Tweet for me from TestBash Netherlands, especially as I was watching from afar.  This community has been growing strong!

Pass the Piper Ain’t Always So Easy

We can all laugh, rejoice and smile at the Pass the Piper.  At how wonderful it is to be inclusive and support me, mothers or working parents.

The reality is, I probably got lucky with the timing of Piper’s development.  She was happy to co-operate at the time.  Now, a month or so later, she is a different child and taking her out is much harder.

I went to a Brighton SWTC  recently and just couldn’t stay for the duration. And I just found it difficult to participate in any way.  So I left early. Ah well, I’m not disappointed, glad I showed up.

Rather than hide away, I believe in showing up, if I feel able to do so.  My previous self would not have done that.

I also think it’s important to share the reality, it’s not always happy smiles try to manage all the things in life.