a typical testing day

“Shirley at SAA I.T provides an excellent service. Her test report was clear and detailed. I was very impressed by the advice, solutions and instructions – I was able to apply many of the devices. However, with my work commitments I decided to hand over the website and let Shirley work her magic. In much faster time than me, Shirley designed and developed it into a professional website that will be a great asset to my business.”

Nicola, Hot Tubs In France

“What is it you actually do?”

Back in the old days, when I was a test consultant in the UK, it was probably easy to describe a normal testing day. But here in France my work has changed so much, and all for the better. Instead of working for large companies, my focus is now on helping small businesses improve their online presence. So let me try and tell you, in a few words, what a typical testing day is like.

Early start

I’m not a good sleeper. My head hits the pillow and I can be asleep in a few minutes, but it’s staying asleep that’s my problem. And I wish I could blame it on something – old age my husband says. I usually wake around 4 or 5am most days, lie there for an hour and eventually I get up, as quietly as possible. I’m so practiced at these ninja-like manoeuvres I could probably serve in the S.A.S. I slide from the bed, pick up my mobile from the bedside cabinet, nip to the loo and then glide stealthily across creaking floorboards, all by the dim light of my Fitbit.

So by the time my other half wakes up at 7am, (because I always forgot to unset the alarm) I have generally logged on to my PC, had a shot of strong black coffee and checked emails in my four personal and business mailboxes. 

Next task in my typical testing day? Social Media!

 

Being sociable

Trying to produce interesting and entertaining posts for my own business pages, as well as client ones isn’t as easy as it might sound. And when you have to publish something every day then it can be a bit daunting. However, what I generally do about once a week is spend a day researching topical and trending items, that are relevant to the business pages I manage. I post on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google My Business (GMB) for myself and some clients. Luckily, with Facebook and Instagram, posts can be scheduled in advance, which means I get them all done in a morning and only have to publish on LinkedIn and GMB daily. But usually I have already picked the images, ‘inspirational quotes’, and drafted the content at the start of the week.

French lessons

We moved to France in 2017 and I will make an effort to have a conversation in French with my friends and neighbours. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because I know they have led such interesting and varied lives, and I want to hear their stories. So I have 2 hours of lessons on a Monday morning – which definitely helps to exercise the brain cells. Plus there is regular homework to fit into a testing day. But I’m not complaining, I just wish I could learn quicker so I could chat with the neighbours about something other than the weather! Big shout out toLaetitia Poulter my very patient French tutor.

Blogging

As you have probably noticed, it’s been a while since I wrote my own blog, but only because I’m regularly creating blogs for my clients. Blogging can take up a lot of time, especially if the client wants a specific topic covered which requires extensive research. But I enjoy writing, and I have received some great feedback from my clients and their readers, which makes everything worthwhile. 

Great website report by Shirley. Very thorough and easy to read and implement. It was essential to have a pair of expert eyes review my website and there were quite a few quick fixes that I made after Shirley’s report. The report covered loading speed, functionality, spelling, grammar amongst many other tests

Sarah Adams – Loire Valley Llamas

Website reviews

A lot of my work comes as a result of the free business website reviews that I offer. I advertise the review service on my website and social media, and in particular, on several Facebook business groups. On average I can probably get through two website review per testing day. Anyone can ask for a review and they will receive my honest and unbiased feedback. I try not to criticise people because the majority of these business owners are individual entrepreneurs like myself, and have never built their own website before. So it’s a massive achievement for anyone to do that on top of all the other day to day business tasks, and taking care of their family.

Time for a review. fear of criticism. a testing day

Be constructive

However, there are those who seem to make it their daily mission to upset or publicly belittle others. And it was finding out how demoralised one of my clients felt when this happened to her that really brought home to me how distressing negative feedback can be. So I always word my feedback reports carefully, and I highlight the good points as well as the not so good. I also make a point of telling them that, at the end of the day, it’s only my opinion but as a visitor – and potential customer – to their website. If they don’t agree with the comments they don’t have to take any action, and I don’t get upset about it. In most instances, I’m happy to say that people do accept the feedback in the way I hope it should be taken, which is as constructive, not destructive, criticism. 

So far, I have not had a bad review, but if and when I do then I will act on their comments, and respond in a positive and professional manner (whilst silently slapping myself around the head).

Always learning

As I touched on earlier, some of my paid work comes from the free reviews. If someone has struggled to publish their website in the first place, it can be a daunting task having to make changes to fix any layout or navigation issues that I might have found. So they ask me if I can help them out. To be honest, this works well for everyone. I learn about different website design tools, apps and search engine optimisation (SEO), they get an improved site and their customers get a better user experience. It’s a win-win situation. 

Added bonus

The biggest advantage for me in doing the website reviews is that I find out about new businesses, great products and services that I might not have noticed before. And I have even bought from a few of them! Whether I buy something or not, I will always try to ‘like and share’ their business pages and posts to give them a bit of a boost. If 2020 has taught me one thing, it is to try and support small businesses as much as possible. 

Picky or perfectionist?

I have lost a client this year because they couldn’t keep up with home and business expenses during COVID-19 lockdown. I’ve heard of so many others that have closed permanently. And if it wasn’t for the fact that I can work from home, then it could easily have been me. The support of family, good friends and loyal clients has got us through this dreadful year. Yes, we have had to claim some help from the government during the worst months, but thankfully my regular client work has kept our heads above water. I have also been fortunate enough to pick up some software testing work for a large pharmaceutical company, thanks to a recommendation from an old work colleague. But testing in any shape or form makes me happy. I love finding bugs and helping to put things right. My husband says it’s because I’m picky and I have OCD, I prefer to say it’s because I’m a perfectionist. I’m still working on getting him right – but that’s another story and a different kind of testing day, and a long-term project!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog. If you didn’t like it please let me know. And if you did like it, then can you also let me know. 

Shirley Atkinson – SAA I.T Testing

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

Contact

Need additional assistance? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

 

What is a Generation Group? 

Let’s start with a simple question. Do you know which generation group you are in?

There are so many different terms that it has become quite confusing, especially as I now see business articles referring to target audiences as Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers. These are terms frequently used in the news and in marketing, but what do they all mean?

A recent article I received, about finding the best social media platform for my target audience, had me scouring the internet to find a concise definition. Then I thought, if I don’t fully understand what generation groups are, other people will be just as confused.

It’s not just a personal thing. From a business perspective, we need to be seen on the right social media platforms. We have to know which groups our customers fall into, because different generations have their own social media favourites. 

Our Ancestors

When people talk about Generation X it can be a bit baffling. It seems to me that it’s because when we think about generations we think about the family – parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents, etc.

 

This is one way of looking at it and it’s called ‘Familial Generation‘. You and your siblings are one generation, your parents, aunts and uncles, are another, grand-parents are another. And so on. 

When you hear talk about Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials there is a different term for these and this is when it gets a bit mind-boggling. These are called ‘Sociological Generations‘. It’s a bit of a tongue-twister isn’t it? I think it’s more important to know the actual group names, than understand the definition but I’ll try and summarise it.

Life Events

Putting people into sociological categories – Baby Boomer, Generation X, Y, etc is more complex because it’s seen from two different perspectives.

One is based on birth rates as documented by the census, which considers population expansion and contraction. So if there is an age difference of 5 or 6 years between siblings, according to the census they could be in different sociological generations. If your parents were very young when they had you, you could potentially belong to the same category, as defined by the census. That part of it is probably the most difficult to understand. 

The other way of defining sociological generations is through life events that link groups of people. Sociologists look at common life events and shared experiences to define the groups.  

For instance, ‘Generation X’ grew up with parents who divorced and mothers who worked. Personal computers were just coming on the scene. And there was that cross-over from analog to digital. Along comes MTV, Atari, computer games, Apple, YouTube, Facebook. It’s these elements which are used to define the X, Y and Zs.

Therefore, in marketing terms, it’s the sociological generations that we are referring to and should try to comprehend.

Identify the Generation Group

generation group and year of birth

 

I’ve made it into the Baby Boomers group (1963) so this article, about finding the Best Social Media Platforms is actually pretty accurate when I think of how I interact with the world wide web.

Knowing the generation group will help to focus on the right social media outlets. That will give us more time to focus and improve on other business areas, such as our websites, or improving our content

It won’t be a ‘one-size fits all’ for every business scenario, and there might be some trial and error. But, when we’re running a full-time business, this ‘Generation Game’ might give us more time to spend with our loved ones. That has to be a ‘Brucie’ bonus.

 

‘Sharing is Caring’

If you like this article let me know – and let your friends know!

 

Pages and Posts

alarm clock with roman numerals on the dial

If you’re new to websites and social media strategies you may be wondering what’s the big deal behind Pages and Posts. At first glance they appear to be one and the same: if you were to create either a new page or a new post you’d be presented with nearly identical interfaces and in many cases the public appearance of pages and posts will look the same.

Don’t let this fool you. There’s a very fundamental difference between the two and that difference is what makes content management systems, for example WordPress, great platforms for integrating blogs with traditional websites.

Pages

Think about the kind of pages that make up a typical website. Most often you’ll see pages like “Home”, “About Us”, “Services”, “Contact Us”, etc. Within your website theme these are often treated as Pages; documents that have no particular regard for the time they were posted.

For example, when you visit the “About Us” page of your favourite company’s website you don’t expect the content to be very different from what was available there a week ago.

Read more >