Practicing Mindfulness Through Testing
Inhale. Refresh the page. Upon initial load, the elements of the page start to appear on cue. I slowly scroll down the page to reveal more. I decide to move my cursor across the site; an exploration. My eyes follow the pointed arrow and I observe its effect on the elements. I see a link, and click through–I let it transport me to another destination. I arrive. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Pause. I fixate on an image. Back to top. Navigate away. Next. Exhale.
Throughout this past year, talks of mental health, mindfulness and meditation have made its way to the top of my feeds, and in turn have increasingly become top of mind. I continue to see self-help tips and tricks on how to practice mindfulness, from following formal guides created by experts, to letting a meditation app take hold of you, to creating your own practices. No doubt there are clear far-ranging benefits on both a personal and professional level.
These days, I’ve been thinking deeply about how I incorporate mindfulness practices both in my day-to-day lifestyle at home, as well as at my desk–particularly in the context of my work: software testing.
↑ What you read at the top of this post is a mere preview of the stream of consciousness I typically find myself engrossed in when in the middle of a web-based testing session. While executing testing activities, it is important to be able to maintain a state of extreme consciousness.
Being relentlessly focused, in the zone, and hyper-conscious of what is in front of you is required to closely observe, inspect, and process what you are experiencing.
This allows you to take mental note of all the moving parts in a meaningful, profound way. Every little detail, cause-and-effect, and response your user behaviour evokes is notable; recognizing these nuances helps you drive clarity into the product under test.
Testing demands that you are fully immersed in the present moment.
There are many characteristics that make up a good tester: they must be highly observant, have a grave attention to detail, and be astutely self-aware. In my experience, it is essential to declutter your mind and hone in on the product and user experience at hand (or in hand, if it’s an app) to allow for all this to happen. You can’t truly experience a product if you’re not entirely there.
Have you encountered mindfulness in an unexpected way while at work? In what ways do you practice mindfulness in your workplace, and how do you create a conducive environment to do so?
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Anneliese Herbosa is a QA Analyst/Tester. She currently works at a creative agency for entertainment brands. Her favourite way to practice mindfulness in the office is by listening intently to the gurgling of the water cooler in the lunch room while filling up her glass.