Blink Testing

I was trying to write an introduction to Blink Testing that was different to James Bach’s, but in actual fact his description was always much better. Therefore here it is:

“What you do in blink testing is plunge yourself into an ocean of data– far too much data to comprehend. And then you comprehend it. Don’t know how to do that? Yes you do. But you may not realize that you know how." – James Bach – Satisfice -

How to do blink testing

If you are testing a “wizard" series of input screens you could run through the forms at a leisurely pace (recording in Selenium or a screen capture video tool) filling in each field and completing the process. After finishing the process play back the recording or video and watch - it works well if you play back faster than it was recorded. You may spot layout issues, inconsistencies in labeling, errors on the page or interesting patterns to explore that you hadn’t spotted before.

You could record a video whilst you hold down buttons that generate values (like in the video on James Bach’s article -, or use it to record an entire exploratory testing session which could be played back at a faster pace afterwards. You may spot things you missed first time around.

When you see the pages and/or data flashing by you will start to observe differences that weren't obvious during your "regular" testing. Selenium is a perfect partner for this, as are screen-recording tools and other automation technologies.

I once used this on a 9 page wizard process and spotted that the labels and fields were in different places on each one of the pages. Nothing major, but an inconsistency that I didn’t spot going through the forms at a leisurely pace.

Useful Hint

When testing audio it can be very effective to play the audio at twice speed. You start to notice patterns or interesting elements that you might not normally have noticed.

Useful Links

James Bach’s article on Blink Testing -
Screen recording for your browser -
Desktop screen reading software -

If you’re interested in a career in Software Testing then check out my book Remaining Relevant And Employable (Tester’s Edition) - it’s packed full of ideas about writing good CVs, communicating your value to employers and doing well in an interview.