In the mid-2000s, i.e. immemorial technological times, I had the opportunity to visit the PACA Mobile Center, a rather unique company located at the pôle médias of the Belle de Mai, where a very large number of mobiles was ready to be tested by service providers. A great idea that has not been commercially successful, unlike StarDust Testing. Founded in 2011 by three entrepreneurs, still at the Belle de Mai, who took over the assets of PACA Mobile Center, this company has grown rapidly to reach today 90 employees in France and Canada, working on more than 200 projects per year.
« We provide quality assurance by testing an app or a website on a number of devices selected through market research, » explained Reynald Stevens, their marketing and acquisition manager. « On average, we test about fifteen devices. We buy a new one a week and keep the existing ones, which makes it possible to manage both the novelty and the obsolescence « . This is a particularity of StarDust, the tests are not emulated, but realized on real mobiles, in real network condition, by real people.
A Crowdsourcing Platform
They may not be on the premises of the company. Some are placed at the customers. Others are working for StarDust via a crowdsourcing platform, We Are Testers, with 1800 registered workers in 66 countries. It wants to distinguish itself from equivalent platforms by focusing on the professionalism of the selected people, some of whom have quality assurance certifications.
The tests are done in two ways. Exploratively, by entering the application and identifying the bugs. Or in a guided way, from a test book co-authored with the client. « We detail the paths to test the most important features, identify bugs and document them. In the case of a shopping tunnel, we can for example detect differences between the shopping cart and the shopping list, a displayed currency that is not the right one or a popin that hides the fields of the bank card » .
On average, a test includes 250 steps, a number that can grow quickly: for one of its services, an online bank has been entitled to a process in 4,000 stages. For such volumes, if the mission is not complex (eg to check that a button puts in the basket in nearly 200 configurations), StarDust proposes to automate through a program.
The next stage for StarDust is the Internet of Things. Already, its methodology has attracted important players of this industry, 25% of projects currently tested by the company being related to connected objects.
[Version française: Comment StarDust dépoussière le test pour applications mobiles]