Comparison Testing in Software Testing: When software development takes place, several stages or development processes are followed to finally create a quality software product. All activities fall under the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) which serves as a software development framework and which the software developer/engineer team follows to build a high-quality software application. In SDLC, software testing is an important step to find and fix bugs and build a good-performing software product.
There are various types of software testing and software testing metrics available that are performed according to the objective of building a high-quality software application. Different types of software testing are done not only to identify and fix bugs but also to help monitor performance, reliability, security, scalability, usability, accessibility, UI, functionality, behavior, etc. Comparison testing is not a large type of software testing but building a great software product is not possible without comparison testing. So let’s discuss this comparison test further with a little more analysis.
What is Comparison Testing?
Comparison testing in software testing is where the strengths and weaknesses of currently developed software are compared to existing software products in the market. It helps to assess how the existing software product performs against the market competition, with comparison testing in the development of a high-quality software product with better performance and functionality.
In fact, comparison testing allows for finding the shortcomings of the existing software product and forces us to overcome the shortcomings to stay ahead of the competition. It is focused on creating a better software product from time to time. Any part of a software application can be considered for comparison testing. It can be a user interface, a number of functionality, speed, database, security, and many more. Basically, these test criteria are decided based on the type of software application being tested and the specific use cases for the business requirements.
How to Perform Comparison Testing?
There is no specific phase for comparison testing and there are no specific guidelines for comparison testing and it is not a specific phase of software development. It can be performed individually or in conjunction with other types of software testing. But generally, it is performed in three phases of software development.
- The initial stage of the software development process
- The middle stage of the software development process
- The final stage of the software development process
Comparison Testing Criteria
In fact, when there is confusion regarding the quality of the test, it goes through two different comparison stages viz
- Compare a software application to known standards or benchmarks.
- Compare the software application with specific features of other existing software products.
Comparison Testing Example
Suppose you are developing a PDF merge software application and you need to compare your product with other PDF merge software applications, particularly the speed of the merge, Performance, PDF quality of the merged file, etc. You might consider doing a comparison test.
How Comparison Testing Can Help a Business
An unambiguous comparison test standard and accurate test results can help businesses, make claims for software products e.g.
- Fastest app in terms of response time
- Most durable products with respect to network load and so on
Test results can be used not only to promote the software product but also to reveal vulnerabilities and improve the product.
An insight into the challenges, limitations, and scope of this assessment:
The success of any new venture or software product is the result of various activities such as design, development, testing, sales and marketing strategies, investment, and accumulated profits.
In this context, benchmarking helps in making important decisions about the software product but cannot ensure the product’s success. Despite thorough due diligence, businesses can still fail due to poor business strategies and decisions. Therefore, market research and evaluation of different business strategies is a topic in itself and beyond the scope of comparative testing.
A typical case study to understand the scope of this test:
The launch of Disney Mobile in the US in 2005 is a case in point. Disney entered the wireless services business with no prior experience in telecom. Despite the “Disney” brand name, the new mobile venture floundered badly in the US.
An autopsy of its initial failure revealed that the product failed, not because of poor design or faulty testing, but because of bad marketing and business decisions.
Disney Mobile targeted children and sports lovers as consumers with the promise of providing unique downloading and family control features.
The same Disney mobile app that failed miserably in the US took off in Japan. Interestingly, this time, the real target customers were not children but women in their 20s and 30s.
Comparison Testing Advantages
- This can reveal the weaknesses and strengths of your application.
- This software helps in evaluating the quality of the product.
- It shows how competitive and useful your product is.
- It indicates whether the software project is salable or not.
- It indicates whether the software has a reasonable chance of being profitable.
- It helps to check all the important features of the software before the commercial release.
- It helps to understand the structure of the interior design.
- This helps in making the product competitive enough to perform well in the market.
Comparison Testing Disadvantages
- It becomes very difficult to retrofit or change anything because it has already gone through a series of development stages.
- Sometimes clients develop a mindset against your product after knowing its flaws or weaknesses.
Comparison testing can serve as a valuable tool and is an effective means of improving the image of a software product. Comparison tests serve as a benchmarking resource and allow software companies to identify what they hope to achieve with their product.
When companies conduct comparison tests, they can introduce a number of features that ultimately improve product usability and help the product become more accessible. In addition, it provides business insights that are critical for developing a software product and uncovering potential flaws before it is launched in the market.
End users will also benefit greatly from these types of tests, as they will be able to choose the appropriate software that will best suit their needs.