App Maker Spotlight: Maiana Alebrant Momm
[Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles on app makers, highlighting ArcTouch’s talented team members. Like many members of the maker movement, the app makers we spotlight here crave getting their hands on the latest tech and finding creative new ways to apply existing tech to their projects.]
If you ask Maiana Alebrant Momm whether she prefers an iPhone or an Android phone, she can’t answer.
Momm leads ArcTouch’s quality assurance team. Her job is to understand in great detail how millions of users of our apps interact with their devices. So, when it comes to saying what her favorite technology is, she has an understandably hard time answering.
“I used to have an Android phone and I loved it,” she says. “Then I changed to an iPhone and now I am thinking about switching back to Android again. Whenever Apple or Google announce a new OS, I get excited about using it.”
She’s solved that problem by making a deal with her husband, Felipe Momm, a software engineer at ArcTouch. “At any given time, one of us needs to have an iPhone and the other an Android phone so we can stay up to date on both platforms,” she said.
Of course, understanding the latest phone technology is just a small part of what she does. Her team has the awesome responsibility of making sure the apps we build work with thousands of different devices and hardware features — along with ensuring compatibility with different operating systems and other software applications. Recently, we sat down with Momm to talk about how ArcTouch approaches QA and how her team is involved throughout the app design and development process.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The fact that I can see how the work I do improves the experience of using an app. With many apps, after you install them you experience problems right away. Some of them are almost unusable. Many of these issues lead to immediate uninstalls — and for the companies who made the app, that’s it. No matter how great the idea, if an app is buggy, those customers will never come back. I love the fact that my job really matters in how people experience mobile — and even makes a difference in people’s lives.
You started coding when you were 17. What was it about software that interested you at that young age?
I’ve loved technology ever since I can remember. When it was time to start thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up, I knew I wanted to do something related to computers. I started a course in software development during the first semester of my studies and I loved it. During the second semester, I found an opportunity to work as a trainee for an IT company. I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity of working in development, design and testing. It surprised some of my family and friends that I really enjoyed testing. A few months later, when my contract expired, I looked for development and QA jobs. I’ve been in both types of roles in different companies but as time has passed, I shifted more into a QA career.
Your first job was in web software development. Why did you switch over to mobile?
At the time I made the change, mobile development was relatively new and I saw an opportunity to apply my testing knowledge in a completely different area. During the interview with ArcTouch, it was clear it was a great place to work — and it made the decision to jump into mobile that much easier. Things change so fast here, and I really like the challenge of constantly working on new technology.
What separates ArcTouch’s QA approach from others?
The main difference is that the QA team participates in all phases of the process to create a successful mobile app, not just right before an app is released. We help the product management team refine the requirements of the project, we analyze user flow during the design phase, and we work closely with our developers during the engineering phase. Everyone on a project works as a team, and everyone is encouraged to suggest improvements, ask questions and make decisions. Everyone is focused on delivering a great experience to users and value to our clients.
There’s a perception out there that QA and testing can be a bit boring? Why are you so passionate about it?
I don’t think it’s boring at all. For me, testing is a science. Contrary to what some people might think, to run a successful testing program, you need to understand and apply a lot of test knowledge. There are thousands of different devices, hardware, and feature sets out there — and we are constantly challenging ourselves to use different techniques and strategies to test for the largest percentage of variables possible. I am always studying new techniques to do more effective testing, including processes like mobile test automation.
When people think about mobile QA, they might envision a bunch of people pushing buttons and touching screens on different devices. But it’s much more than that at ArcTouch. How do you explain this to people?
It’s pretty simple, really. Everything we do is about quality, so that we can deliver the best user experience and real value to our clients. Our QA team is involved throughout the app development process. We offer 16 different services as part of our ArcTouch QA service — device testing is just one of them. QA is much more than people touching buttons; it’s about looking for ways to make the app perform faster and flawlessly, and make it easier to use.