Everyone is a statistic.

Fish climb a tree

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Mind if we go on a rant? I knew you would not.

How many times have you heard the fish and the tree quote? Let’s take the fish out of the tree a moment and discuss testing in general.

How often are we failing tests through no fault other than the over-simplified, inexorable testing model fails to meet the current situation it is meant to gauge? Would an example help?

One of the many statistics every search engine examines is the bounce rate for websites. The short form is:

If a website is good enough for search engines to point customers (traffic) to it, its visitors need to find what they need. Bounces are the people who come, view one page for less than X seconds and leave without clicking anything.

Sounds logical the way it is explained. Let’s look at what is wrong with that really simple test.

number 1Spammers are constantly trolling the internet in search of new places to spam. They frequent the pages in the first two years of this blog often. When they arrive on a page, they click a bookmarklet in their browser to run a script which spams a comment. In less than the time it takes for the page to load on their screen, they can be off to another site to repeat this process. Count one bounce. (times an average of 500 spam comments per day…)

number 2More than half of the people I know have a spot worn on their backspace and/or delete buttons. People make mistakes. They click the wrong link, type in the wrong address or are delivered via all manner of insidious and nefarious mailings and notifications to websites all over the internet. Most of them will hit the back button and go to the right place. Guess what. That is another bounce.

number 3Software creates easy ways to view our content. If I open a preview window or you open a link on M3, there is an orphan page you and I will read and close without clicking through to something else. Guilty. I bounce a lot under this explanation. So do all the people who open links and realize they have already read the support.

Are you getting the picture? The test is a loser. Attached to the loss is a sweeping judgment of how websites should all adhere to a policy which search engines have promoted and customers have always hated: The Landing Page. When I click through to something, I want to land on it. I do not want to load 14 pages to generate ad revenue and page views for a company I may not choose. Plus, who has time for all of that? Furthermore, why should I be penalized for the bad behavior and mistakes of others?

This is the beginning of a series which will look into the failures of testing in a number of different fields. The entire point is to raise awareness the statistics with which you are bombarded every day are not always what they seem and are portrayed to get you to act in a manner which will profit someone else regardless of personal need or benefit.

Which test have you recently encountered fails to gauge what it was meant to gauge? Why do we agree standards should be upheld and skip ensuring the measurement of those standards are apt?

Hashtags: #standards #testing #reality

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© Red Dwyer 2014
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  1. There are lies, damned lies and statistics!

    Ever heard that one?

    It’s an old quote from a political article I read decades ago and it is still true today.

    Also, on a more humorous note: 68% of statistics are made up… 😉

    God Bless!

    Prenin. recently posted..Monday – A doctor calls.My Profile

  2. The motorcycle permit test at dmv. I was told the average passing score, and it was a little frightening how low it was.
    El Guapo recently posted..A head is an awful place to live.My Profile

    • Whoa… The one which makes my hair stand on end (and keep off the road) is the legal level for drunk in SC. It is .15 – disturbing to the point of being deadly.

  3. Most fish also have a poor comprehension of English.

    I hate it when there’s two answers for a problem, but only one is considered right when the other one, while unconventional, still fulfills all the requirements.

  4. Ha … didn’t ever feel that poet’s pain … since I tend to kill my children (poems) … cum every new year … maybe just the way to go ??? Love, cat.
    cat recently posted..Brother.My Profile

  5. Red, m’dear,

    So serious is this!…..

    Not sure yet I am my mind’s coherence will suffice, even speaking in Yodaesque though be I, an answer to provide…. Try there is none, an answer will be given therefore…

    As for the first ?, I find, of late, the tests we people set up in our minds for others, the standards we set upon meeting, upon interacting, are such that the parameters/standards being utilized aren’t being made plain to either party…. aren’t even always shared… which leads to the second ?’s answer, which is, it is the nature of most humans to live according to their fears, and this colors every sort of judgment of reality they make… thereby limiting the effectiveness of ANY standards applied….

    There, that’s my story, & I’m sticking to it…. Not being able to currently self-judge, I’ll leave that to others, and promise not to be offended at whatever may ensue…. Well, not much, anyway….


    Ned, aka, gigoid, the cynical
    xxxx ooo0 (feeling affectionate…)

    gigoid recently posted..Baggy pants and a wrinkled silk shirt….My Profile

  6. Please, don’t ask me to list them. Is this a test?

    I don’t do tests anymore…honestly, the world is full of them and none of them are an accurate assessment of the truth. We are constantly and forever and ever amen, tested for something that has nothing whatsoever to do with whatever it is we are doing that day, hour or minute.

    There are days I hate this world.

    • For me the bigger question is, To what end? The answers are more misleading than the ignorance they are meant to abate. Ugh.

  7. I know exactly what you mean, it’s crazy how we are thrown from pillar to post in order to see what we initially chose, a disgrace really but then what do they care as long as they are generating the hits? Hmm…

    Have a fun Monday Red 🙂

    Andro xxxx


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