Exploratory Testing Playbook | CrossBrowserTesting
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Exploratory Testing Playbook:

7 Personas Your Team Should
Be Testing For

Begin Your Journey Here

Introduction To Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is where the tester goes through an application to examine areas that have yet to be thoroughly tested to find bugs and initiate expected changes and outcomes in the application.

Because exploratory testing is freeform testing, it can be hard to know where to start, what to look for, and how to test the limits of your application. That's why CrossBrowserTesting is providing this playbook, so come join our journey through the jungle as we look at some of the types of personas we should be testing for on a regular basis.

The Boring Tourist

The Boring Tourist is interested in sight-seeing and will follow their guidebook with little interest in going off the beaten path.

But don't let the Boring Tourist's uncreative behavior deceive you. They don't hesitate from posting a bad Yelp review if an experience doesn't meet their expectations.

How to Test for the Boring Tourist:
  • Check Your Documentation For Clues
  • Follow Your Own Onboarding Guides
  • Read Third Party Reviews & Blog Posts
  • Sift Through Detractors & Negative Feedback
  • Try A Competitive Feature Comparisons

The Petty Criminal

Societies have limits, rules, and no-go zones -- the Petty Criminal will ignore all of them.

While this persona probably won't send your application into any major downtime, they're focused on finding the easy breaks that most people wouldn't think to look for.

How to Test for the Petty Criminal:
  • Enter Illegal Inputs (Special Characters, Numbers, "Admin")
  • Enter The Least Likely Inputs Or Really Large Number Strings
  • Enter Invalid Data Into Promotional Fields
  • Cancel & Remove Items From Carts

The Loveable Loser

The Lovable Loser isn't the most popular, but his alone time allows him to be very observational, and he notices details that others miss.

The Lovable Loser will venture into rarely used areas of your application that you think might not be necessary to test, and they will be the first to prove how important broad test coverage is.

How to Test for the Loveable Loser:
  • First, Gather Usage Data From Your Analytics
  • Test Your Least Popular Features & Sections
  • Test Low Risk Code and Areas Without Many Features
  • Test Older Versions Of Browsers & OSs

The Lazy Kid

The Lazy Kid is going to try to get from A to B in the fastest possible sequence, with as few clicks as possible.

But just because they aren't working hard, doesn't mean your application isn't. It's important to prepare your application for blank fields and unanswered prompts.

How to Test for the Lazy Kid:
  • Do as Little as Possible in Each Area
  • Leave Fields Blank Like Addresses, Passwords, and Usernames
  • Take Shortest Route to Finish Each Step In Your Application
  • Leave Your Application Running For A Few Minutes Or Hours

The All-Nighter Partier

The All-Nighter will stay up until dawn embarking on spontaneous adventures and coming home when they please. The All-Nighter aims to test the boundaries of youth, or your application.

They don't always use your application as it's intended, but more for how it fits the convenience of their lifestyle.

How to Test for the All-Nighter:
  • Keep Your Application Running As Long As Possible
  • Keep Things Unsaved
  • Run Multiple Instances Of Application
  • Overwork Core Functions

The Glutton

The Glutton is your friend that gets every single topping in their burrito and definitely pays extra for guacamole.

They'll also overload your application in the same way, abusing your web pages with more activity than most know what to do with.

How to Test for the Glutton:
  • Buy Items Multiple Times During Checkout
  • Fill Your Cart With Items In Multiple Departments
  • Purchase Mulitple Items In Multiple Departments
  • Max Out Your Shopping Cart

The Supermodel

The Supermodel is beautiful but doesn't have much depth. Similarly, testing with the same mindset of the Supermodel only goes skin deep.

It's important to pay attention to functionality and performance, but you also want to go through and focus specifically on the application's design and UI/UX.

How to Test for the Supermodel:
  • Ignore function and look only at your UI
  • Examine first impressions
  • Are items consistent across your app?
  • Are there dynamic elements that distract during load time?
  • Does it look good?
  • Is it responsive?


Exploratory testing is not a cut and dry process. An important skill of the tester is to take themselves out of what they know, how they use an application, and how and application is supposed to be used in order to predict how different customers will use it.

This is all done while being able to understand the behavior of the software and debug broken areas. While this is no easy task, understanding some of the personas that are likely to encounter your application will allow you to better prepare to execute an exploratory test that focuses on the right issues.

To Continue Learning About Exploratory Testing

What Is Exploratory Testing?

What is exploratory testing? Learn how teams use it to produce improved software through learning, communication, and discovery.

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Deciding What To Automate

Choosing what test cases to automate becomes essential as teams realize that's impossible and inefficient to try and automate everything.

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