Is it lonely in edge case land?

As testers, it seems we’re always living in “edge case” land. The risks we see before code is written. The scenarios we think of to test. Even the real use cases we observe in a percentage of our users.

It can sometimes feel like all of our ideas are edge cases. But who decides what an edge case is? And is it just an excuse not to consider something a priority as we develop our products?

Who decides?

When it comes to a consensus on the definition of an edge case in your context, do you decide this as a team? Or, is it a decision that your team has made for them by another power?

Using the data

More recently, I have found myself relying on the data a lot to advocate for something not being an edge case. The reason is twofold:

  1. I’m reasonably new to the team so my “gut feeling” isn’t fine tuned quite yet,
  2. The data rarely lies.

My team uses data to see things like:

  1. Number of occurrences of a given error message,
  2. Places where our users get stuck,
  3. Number of people using iOS or Android and what version,
  4. Screen sizes of the devices our users are using, etc.

We rely on the data a lot in our decision making process but also involve a healthy amount of common sense too.

No user would do that

We’ve all heard this nugget at some point in our careers. Users will always surprise and delight.

What happens if you have data that says 10% of users are in “edge case” land?

What if that 10% equated to a single user? Or to 2 million users? Would you advocate for them both in the same way?

For every “no user would ever do that” comment, there will always be a non zero amount of users who do that.

Questions for you

Do you use data to decide if something is an edge case? Is it based on a gut feeling? Or does it fall under the “no user would ever do that” mantra?

Do you find it lonely in edge case land? Or are you supported there by the team you have around you?

Concluding thoughts

With all of this said, I find myself with more questions than answers. Am I on my own in edge case land? Or, do we all find ourselves on our own there from time to time unsure of how to advocate for the problems we see?