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Software Testing for the Government

Governing a nation is a challenging feat and requires every kind of assistance. Technology relieves the government when managing the nation’s people, resources, security, and public services. A wave of digitization can be seen in the public sector and government services, courtesy of excellent technological advancements.

Technology is transforming everything through the adoption of cyber and information security, data analytics, cloud platforms, artificial intelligence, and hyper-automation in different aspects of government operations. No wonder the government invests heavily in technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

“Worldwide government IT spending is forecast to total $589.8 billion in 2023, an increase of 7.6% from 2022, according to Gartner, Inc.” (source)

Applications of Technology in the Government

A government faces various challenges, such as environmental issues like climate change, deforestation, and pollution. Also, there are issues in governance like corruption, geopolitical tensions, political polarization, etc. Sometimes disasters and emergencies like natural calamities or pandemics, social and welfare challenges like health care services, unemployment and poverty, and economic difficulties disrupt everything.

With such a multifaceted and multilayered profile, governments worldwide utilize technology for various operations and services. Here is a concise list:

  • Taxes and licenses: Many governments have established online portals and platforms to deliver government services to citizens, like filing taxes, applying for permits and licenses, accessing government benefits, and more.
  • Managing Cybersecurity: Governments tend to collect vast amounts of data, and technologies like big data analytics and data mining techniques help in managing, storing, and analyzing this data. As beneficial as technology is, it also introduces data security and privacy issues. Hence, cybersecurity measures to safeguard against cyber threats and attacks ensure the integrity and confidentiality of government data.
  • Citizen communication: Governments use digital communication tools and social media platforms to engage with citizens, share information, and receive feedback. This promotes a transparent and accessible government-citizen relationship.
  • Provisioning smart cities: Some governments are investing in innovative, smart city initiatives that use technology and data to improve urban living.
  • Crime control: Technology supports law enforcement agencies in crime prevention, investigation, and data analysis. Tools like surveillance cameras, facial recognition, and predictive policing software are used to improve public safety. Technology also plays a vital role in defense and national security, encompassing intelligence gathering, communication systems, and military hardware development.
  • Active collaboration: Technology facilitates collaboration among government agencies at different levels like local, state/provincial, national, and international. This interoperability helps coordinate efforts, share information, and respond to crises more effectively.
  • Elections and voting: The electoral process also utilizes technology to streamline voter registration, electronic voting, and counting.

How to Test a Government Software?

As governments develop and implement various technology solutions, such as e-government platforms, data management systems, smart city initiatives, etc., software testing becomes essential to ensure these applications’ reliability, security, and proper functioning.

Some of the types of software testing techniques that these applications benefit from are:

  • End-to-end testing: Testing the application flow from an end user’s perspective rather than a developer’s will matter once the application is released into the market.
  • Security testing: Governments regularly deal with sensitive data and information, prioritizing security. This form of testing looks for potential breaches and data leaks and ensures compliance with security standards and regulations.
  • User experience (UX) testing: UX and UI testing is crucial for e-government platforms and other citizen-facing applications since people from different walks of life with varied levels of technological proficiency will be working with them. It involves evaluating the usability and user-friendliness of the software to ensure that citizens can easily interact with government services online.
  • Compatibility testing: Government agencies often use various hardware and software configurations. Compatibility testing helps ensure the applications work seamlessly across different devices, operating systems, and web browsers.
  • Performance testing: As many citizens and businesses use government applications, performance testing is essential to assess how well the software performs under expected and peak load conditions. These activities help identify and address performance bottlenecks and ensure smooth user experiences.
  • Accessibility testing: Governments are committed to providing equal access to services to all citizens, including those with disabilities. Accessibility testing ensures that government applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities, complying with accessibility standards and guidelines.
  • Localization testing: Government applications will likely be accessed by people of different ethnicities. Depending on the popular languages in that country, having localization arrangements within the application will help make the system accessible to the masses.

Challenges with Testing Government Software

With the diverse scope of government software applications, testing them is bound to be challenging. Below are some challenges that further highlight the importance of thorough testing.

  • Cyber security: The foremost worry with government software is its resistance to cyber-attacks. Since these applications deal with sensitive data belonging to citizens and the government, rigorous security measures are needed. Testing disaster recovery plans and backup systems for their ability to recover and maintain operations during disasters or system failures are also necessary.
  • Vast and diverse user base: Almost every citizen in a country would have had some or other form of interaction with government applications, be it to get a citizenship identification, passport, or driver’s license.

The user base could be diverse enough to include teachers, doctors, engineers, stay-at-home spouses, house help staff, children, college students, security officials, farmers, politicians, postal service workers, etc. Thus, the application needs to be user-friendly and intuitive for the citizens.

  • Ever-changing software: As technology advances, government software must adapt to meet new requirements and take advantage of innovations. This means regular system updates to ensure the software is compatible with industry standards and can serve the citizens’ demands.
  • Constant subjection to heavy loads: If a government system crashes, it affects innumerable citizens, even businesses. Thorough performance testing is thus required.
  • Complex integrations and legacy systems: Many government agencies still rely on legacy systems that may have outdated technology and are not easily compatible with modern testing methodologies. Moreover, they are often interconnected, requiring extensive integration testing to ensure seamless communication and data exchange among various applications and departments.

testRigor as a Solution for Testing Government Software

Government software applications warrant intensive testing, and this can be accomplished by leveraging automation testing using a state-of-the-art testing tool like testRigor. It leverages AI to give you a seamless experience in test case creation, execution, and maintenance.

It is a perfect fit if you want to perform end-to-end, functional, user acceptance, or regression testing for complex applications. The reason is simple: it is agnostic to the code base and focuses instead on verifying how the application appears and behaves for the end user.

Some of its key features apt for testing such applications are mentioned below.

Guaranteed security

testRigor takes security very seriously and hence has security built into the architecture. External security tests are a regular part of this tool’s testing process. Being SOC2 TYPE2 compliant, you can rest assured that your application will not experience any security leaks through testRigor.

Adept at dealing with a changing UI

Automating test cases for the sake of it is a sheer waste of time, if not an expensive exercise. With most of the tools in the market, your test suites are bound to incur costs in the form of test maintenance. Moreover, the cost will shoot up with applications that keep introducing UI changes.

So, how does testRigor deal with this? That’s easy. It eliminates mentioning a web UI element by its implementation details like XPath or CSS value. Instead, it uses testRigor locators, you only need to mention where or how the text appears on the screen, and testRigor deciphers the rest. This way, even with attribute changes in these UI elements, your test cases won’t fail.

Example: enter “Peter” into “First Name” in “From” section

Minimal test maintenance

testRigor uses AI to ensure that once your tests run successfully, they continue to do so as long as there aren’t any critical errors with the application. The test runs are known to be stable enough to rely on for monitoring purposes.

AI-driven test case creation

Using AI under the hood, testRigor allows you to write test cases in plain English without writing a single line of code. You can write test validations and user actions, interact with elements, create reusable sets of instructions for use across test cases, and much more with plain English statements.

testRigor takes test creation a step further by providing generative AI out-of-the-box to assist with this. Simply provide the test case description and URL and watch testRigor’s generative AI algorithm create a full-fledged test case for you within seconds. You can also edit the steps per your requirements once the test case is generated in plain English.

Test every platform with a single tool

Testing across multiple platforms and application types like a hybrid or native, web, desktop, or mobile application is accessible with testRigor. The process of creating these test cases is also the same. You can use the rich commands provided by testRigor to perform actions specific to the platform. For example, there are commands to support swiping action for mobile application test cases.

Improved team productivity

Since test creation and maintenance are so easy, testing teams no longer need to worry about the technicalities of the automation tool and can focus instead on test coverage. Collaboration between testers and other stakeholders like developers, business analysts, and other department testers becomes easy due to testRigor’s easy syntax and intuitive UI.

Build your own testing ecosystem

testRigor can do a lot more than web UI testing. Along with the ability to test different platforms, it supports accessibility testing and data-driven testing. There is a provision for a record-and-playback feature to simplify test creation further. Integrating various issue and test case tracking platforms like TestRail and JIRA, CI/CD platforms, databases like Oracle and MySQL, and infrastructure-providing tools like LambdaTest and BrowserStack is seamless.

Conclusion

The use of technology in government can vary significantly from country to country based on infrastructure, resources, and priorities. Despite that, it is imminent that as technology evolves, so will its application in government systems. As long as technology is utilized in government systems, software testing is needed to ensure that the government’s technology solutions meet high-quality standards and serve the intended purpose.

The choice of correct test automation tools is the deciding factor here, and it is advisable to select a simple yet robust tool, such as testRigor, that keeps the users’ privacy and security as its top priority.

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