Today I’m going to share something I’m tired of: the sign in system of the Microsoft Developer Network.
Well I’m a frequent contributor/participant of the MSDN forums and community, so everyday I check the forums for at least three times.
The problem is that I first log in to hotmail.com and then go to the forums page the system doesn’t recognize me:
Until here something is wrong, why does the system ask me about signing in again if I’m logged to hotmail.com?, Well I just click on the “Sign in” hyperlink next to the “United States (English)” hyperlink and after an automatically signing in I’m took back to the last page but again something is weird as you can see in the next picture:
For some reason, I’m not yet logged into the system as the “Sign in to forums” hyperlink next to “My forum links” shows in the above picture. It seems those are two iframes or different pages which don’t talk each other . Well I’m forced to click on the “Sign in To Forums” but surprise!, I’m not automatically signed in, I’m redirected to the standard Windows Live log in page and I had to introduce my password again. After that I finally reach next page:
After some online activity I decided to leave the system, so click on the Sign Out hyperlink next to the “United States (English)” hyperlink and you know what? the “My Forums Links” sidebar shows me still logged in as shown in the picture below.
Well, what can I say?, as a Software Developer Enginner who likes testing I have built systems which falls in this kind of navigation inconsistency -and belive me, I still develop them-. I know it’s hard to model all the navigation paths a user can take, but as explained in the book “How We Test Software at Microsoft” some combinatorial testing can be performed by using a tool like PICT to ensure most probable combinations are covered or writing a Control Flow Diagrams at system level can be usefull. .
A conclusion at this point, it’s that as developers/testers, We focus on the main functionality (let’s say, posting questions in the MSDN forums system), on the happy path but We forget important features like testing the password recovery system, the about box dialog, the log in system, the integration of external components (like the sign in system in this sample) and others.