The ever expanding reach of technology and its constant advancement has made the process of software development and testing complicated and complex day-by-day. Software products, applications, and other devices are now being designed to meet the requirements of clients and users from all across the globe, with adaptable features and components. Moreover, to ensure the accuracy of these products, software engineer are adopting new techniques and methodologies, which can assist them in developing a quality product that offers remarkable services.Globalization testing is one such testing technique adapted and recognized by software testers that assists them in verifying numerous features and functionality of the software and further allow them to deliver a software product that caters to the requirements of various global users and clients.
What is Globalization Testing?
Nowadays, it has become quite important for organizations and software developers to design a software or application that conforms to the requirements of different locations and are sensitive to various cultural expectations of users around the world. To keep up with these requirements of the global market, companies all over the world like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. are adapting various techniques like globalization testing to create a software that is user sensitive and is suitable for various location of the world.
Globalization testing, which is also known as G11N, is implemented during software testing life cycle (STLC) to ensure the global appeal of the software as well as to validate software system’s suitability and acceptability across different territories, countries, location, cultures, and more. A type of software testing technique, globalization testing allows the team to develop a software that can be used by people belonging to different backgrounds, nations, and linguistic communities. In short, globalization testing is a process of ensuring a software performs well in the required locales and cultures, without any potential issues.
Reasons for Globalization Testing:
The reasons for globalization testing are several and without its implementation during software testing life cycle (STLC), it is difficult to develop a software that can be accepted and used globally. Therefore, here are some reasons for globalization testing, which help increase its popularity around the world.
- Ensures that the application offers the same functionality irrespective of the international location, implementation environment, etc.
- Detects potential problems in the design or code of the software application, which can become a hurdle in imparting expected performance and functionality.
- Helps deliver optimum user experience across the world.
- Enables the team to develop a software that is suitable for diverse and global users.
Process of Globalization Testing:
Globalization testing has become an integral part of software development and testing as it helps build a globally acceptable software product with culturally appropriate features and specifications. This testing technique is extremely beneficial and can be easily implemented. Hence, here is the process for globalization testing:
- Prepare Test Strategy & Plan: During this first stage of the process, the team identifies the globalization test areas and prepares a strategy and plan to implement it effectively, while constantly monitoring the process.
- Design Test Cases: Here, test case and test data are designed for the fulfilment of globalization test requirement.
- Test Environment Setup: Once the requirements are specified and test cases and test data is designed, the team moves on to preparing the test environment setup. This includes creating a common server with multiple locales and other software, hardware, network, etc. requirements.
- Test Execution: This is the most important stage of the process where the test cases and test data are finally executed. This is implemented on the same day when regular testing is executed.
- Analysis & Defect Reporting: After the culmination of test execution, the team identifies and analyzes the defects and other discrepancies, which are then reported to the development team for rectification.
- Develop Test Summary Report: Finally, the team publishes a test summary report, which consists a detailed summary of the whole process as well as the defects detected by the team,during the stage of test execution.
Globalization Testing Approach:
To ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of globalization testing, the team of software testers follow a set approach which allows them to monitor the process of globalization testing, while validating that every required aspect of the software is tested as per the expectation of the team. Hence, globalization testing is carried out by undertaking the following actions:
- Some features of the product have to be muted or turned OFF owing to the switch between different locales that have varied cultural sensitivities. The purpose of this is to test that the product is actually switching necessary features between diverse locales.
- Multilingual applications require different storage & retrieval capacities which are tested for globalization testing.
- The functionality of the product is tested with language settings other than English.
- The product is tested for working with different date formats. For example, the date format used in the United States (MM/DD/YY) is slightly different to the one used Europe (DD/MM/YY).
- Since each country has its own currency, the software product needs to inculcate a transaction system which can allow exchange of money that is not limited to a single nation's currency. Globalization testing allows the team to test the efficacy of such a transaction system.
- With the assistance of globalization testing the team ensures that the product is displaying all the supported scripts accurately with correct associations of characters, their combinations according to their context, etc.
- Globalization testing also looks for issues related to the success of file transaction process. For example, in the event of absence of encoding specification, the product forces the user with default encoding which leads to wrong interpretation of data. Globalization testing attempts to restrict such possibilities by making sure there is specification for all types of encoding in the product.
- This testing validates support for all kinds of characters by making unique data types available depending on the kind of database.
- The feeding of all the other inputs which are unique for different countries are checked for expected response.
Things to Test in Globalization Testing:
The main objective of globalization testing is to make sure that the software is designed and developed in a manner that it supports the diverse requirements of all the global users and their various locale preferences and language scripts without any failure in functionality, incurring data loss, or encountering problems in user interface, among other things. In short, it aims at making the software adaptable to various locale and cultures without displaying any issues in the system. This goal of globalization testing is achieved by testing various components of the software, which are mentioned below:
- Language Vocabulary: For a globalized product, language is the most important as well as challenging component. The greater the number of languages supported or offered by a software, the more testing it requires. Moreover, translators are hired by the organization to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the vocabulary used for a particular language.
- Aspects Related User Interface: Another important aspect that require testing after testing language & vocabulary is the user interface and various aspects related to it. The objective here is to verify that the user interface is still working fine and is clean to use when different languages are selected by the user. Moreover, it is ensured that no issues are present in the software such as misalignment of text, overlapping, navigation issues, and more.
- Date Format & Time Notations: As various regions of the world follow different time zone & date format, it is vital for the software to automatically adapt to these changes appropriately with the change in the geographical location.
- Currency Format & Conversion Rates Handling: Testing these factors is important for an application that includes or offers e-commerce services to the users. This ensures application’s compatibility with various currencies of the world and intricacies of the transaction system with different currencies. Additionally, it validates accuracy of currency conversion rates and offers coding and decoding activities for the purposes of conversion.
- Graphical Images: Apart from language, currency, date & time, the graphical images and content present in the software and application also requires globalization testing to make it culturally appropriate and suitable for global audience.
- Phone Number, Address, & Zip Code: Other components of the software that vary with the change in its geographical location and language is the phone number, address, and zip code. Therefore, it is crucial for the team to verify that these components work fine when there is a switch in language or location and are presented in a manner that is suitable to a particular region.
By testing these key parameters one can develop a product that has a universal user subscriber base and that offers a remarkable usage worldwide.
Benefits of Globalization Testing:
Globalization testing is one of the most beneficial testing techniques implemented by software testers during the process of software testing. It helps the team create a software that can offer unparalleled performance all over the world and that delivers impeccable user experience. Other benefits of globalization testing are:
- Ensures the software system’s and application’s place in the the global market.
- Improves the quality, performance, functionality of the software.
- Makes application’s adaptable to various cultures, locations, environments, languages, time zones, and more.
- Similar to localization testing, Globalization testing also helps in reducing the overall cost of software testing.
- Guarantees fool proof functioning of various aspects of a software product, which enable it to be used by people from different nationalities & speaking different languages.
- It aids in maintaining the brand value of the software product.
- Ensures that the costs of the software product are reduced.
- Globalization testing enables software to be used in diverse languages without having the need to redesign the entire software code.
- Increases customer base around the world.
- Heps validate whether an application acknowledges all the language input texts.
- Guarantees application’s usability across globe.
- Reduces time of testing, which further reduces software’s time-to-market.
- Offers more flexibility & scalability.
The relevance and significance of globalization testing is quite apparent from the above discussion. It is, without any doubt the most important type of software testing technique for a software that is designed to cater to the requirements of global users. With the assistance of globalization testing, testers can easily validate miscellaneous features of the software and make it suitable for various locations and cultures. Hence, we can conclude that globalization testing is the best way to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and appropriateness of a globalized software & application.