Instead of a black box/gray box tester or engineer, consider me the QA detective on your team. Sneaky!

I started my career as a QA detective in early 2007.

I cut my detective teeth working on the Flash-heavy mitsubishicars.com (and affiliated microsites) for nine months. Later that year, I jumped into the interactive industry with Mekanism on the first release of RockBand. After that, it was a flood of increasingly fun and challenging sites, plus hand-held devices like iPhone, iPad, and Android. I’ve also investigated cases breaking kiosks for CES and YouTube channels for various projects.

I can break nearly any site.

Partially because I’m not a hacker.  You have to be smart, furtive, and methodical to track bugs, and though I appear to be casually perusing a site, I’m actually performing detailed surveillance and carefully tailing bugs across configurations. I get pictures of them in action and provide detailed dossiers with the pictures and steps to reproduce so your developers can find and eradicate the enemy. If a developer still can’t replicate or find the issue, I do another stake-out and catch the bugs in action on video.

Newer sites, microsites, and Facebook apps and tie-ins can be astoundingly complex.

I’ve helped teams win many awards. Seeing how they work on hand-held devices like iPhone, iPad, and Android is a natural extension of my investigations. In this day and age, more people view and play on their phones constantly. Getting it to all work and testing on new platforms is fun. Every investigation is different and I love challenges.

The bugs try to hide in the complexities of new tech.

I employ all the tools a professional QA detective needs to catch those elusive little gremlins. Things like:

  • Charles and Fiddler (web debugging proxy apps that can also throttle bandwidth).
  • Firebug, Accessibility, and Web Developer plugins for Firefox. IE debugger. Flash detection software.
  • My all-native QA suite has all possible platform/browser configurations. Are people still using it? I have it.
  • Webcams for detection across platforms for computers using both internal and external cams. Audio recording quality and playback.
  • Screenshots and videos.
  • Bug tracking software—I’ve used them all. (I have my own Lighthouse account, in case you don’t use an in-house bug tracker).
  • Online collaboration through software like Confluence, Redmine, and Basecamp.

I can write concise test plans.

These help the dev team know exactly which browser/platform configurations are being used by their target audience, so we know where to focus our efforts, and what can be a lower priority during the investigation. I run quarterly reports on worldwide browser/platform configurations and predominant connection speeds by country.

The bugs don’t have a chance.

Working directly with development teams, producers, and tech directors has proven that my detective skills are incredibly effective. I speak neither Geek nor Regular User fluently, so I’m a translator between the two. My creativity and experience help the dev team see how the sites can work better for the user. My QA detective powers, plus 15 years as a copy editor and print designer make it really hard for functional or cosmetic bugs to hide from me.