Predicting users’ activities to search out bugs. He honed his tester abilities by playing games from around the world and founded the QA Team: Francois Hamelin
Francois has tested games from around the world. We asked him about how he became a web expert and about joining WOVN as a founding member of the QA Team.
QA Team Leader
April 2018: Joined WOVN
After traveling around the world as a game tester, he came to Japan and joined WOVN with a solid knowledge of internet technology. Started the QA team and is currently working as the team leader.
I cultivated my creativity through LEGO blocks and joined a company that uses 3D CG.
I was born and raised in rural Canada. I played with LEGO blocks a lot when I was young, which naturally led me to become interested in creating things.
I majored in art in university and got to study a variety of areas, like design, drawing, painting, and photography. In one of my graphic design classes, I encountered 3D CG animation, which is used in video games to merge “art and technology,” and I found it really interesting and captivating.
I wanted to work in the realm of 3D CG animation, so I joined a video game company after graduating.
This marked my first time working in Quality Assurance (QA).
Testing games from around the world
You have to remember a lot of things to do QA and testing content that was constantly changing was a lot of fun. The best part was being able to play video games before they came out!
I handled testing for games from around the globe, including for CAPCOM, Square Enix, THQ, and Konami and worked at their related-project office locations in North America, Europe, and Japan.
I traveled around the world to play video games from various countries.
I would do content checks of error messages and popups together with the translators. When localizing a game, it’s really important to make sure the translation lines up with the rules of that region. I’ve seen games from around the world, and the unique characteristics of each region come out in the games. In the U.S., most games are first-person shooter games, while in Asia they’re mostly single-player games.
Major titles will have as many as 200 testers. In the beginning, they’re full of bugs that are easy to find, but the final version of the game makes for quite a challenge. Sometimes I would have to play the same scenario for five hours straight searching for all the minute bugs.
We also had a “Golden Bug Award,” which was given to the person who could find the most interesting or complex bug.
I moved to Japan. After founding the QA Team at WOVN, I found lots of bugs.
I took the leap of my life ten years ago when I quit my previous job and came to Japan without knowing Japanese to begin studying web engineering and web design in Japan.
I scraped by through modeling, acting, and teaching English and French part time.
It was right after the Tohoku earthquake, so a lot of foreigners had gone back to their home countries. Foreign models and actors were in demand, and I happened to get scouted in Shibuya.
After studying web-related topics for two years, I met Ludo through the local French-speaking community and got a job at WOVN after he introduced me. My experience as a tester and the fruit of my studies led to me being put in charge of the QA Team.
I can laugh now looking back at this event from four years ago, but there was no QA Team when I first joined, so in my first two to three months, I found over 500 bugs. (laughs)
Moving things in and out requires communication.
Another member joined soon after me, so we became a two-person team dealing mostly with reporting parts and testing parts of the language switching widget.
Now we also deal with the interface, dialogue boxes, UI/UX, and the design to make sure things meet functional and design standards, so we watch over a lot of things.
Video games and WOVN deal with very different issues, but the fun of searching for glitches while thinking about how a user would navigate through the product never gets old. Web-related knowledge has really come in handy when it comes to doing QA for WOVN.
The QA Team now has 10 members, but I would love for everyone at WOVN to try out WOVN.io, WOVN.app, our upcoming services, and all of our products. After having tried out each service, I assign tasks as needed.
I mostly handle management, but requests are always coming in from all directions, so I do my best to handle each request quickly.
For example, if a customer inquiry comes in through Customer Success (CS), it then goes through Technical Support (TS) before reaching the QA Team. We order the issues by priority and then pass them on to the Product Team. Whether handling things on the business or the product side, a lot of communication is required when moving things in and out.
Making tasks 70% automated and aiming for a perfect product
The QA Team is great since everyone is really motivated and has the desire to learn.
For example, we’ve integrated an automation test to improve efficiency and accuracy, so that report results can be created manually as well as viewed with just the click of a button.
Our products’ level of complexity is completely different compared to four years ago, changing from 0% to around 70% automated.
The products are always evolving, so there will always be new types of tests we need to incorporate. I’d love to structure things so that we can automate processes even more and continue to provide good products without constricting our resources.
The mission of the QA Team is to create perfect products that are bug free.
With that said, we all know that a zero-bug status is almost impossible, so I want to strive for the best balance possible.
To everyone at WOVN
Let’s have more confidence in our products.
I think that product quality can be improved by everyone together, starting with the developers.
Even if you’re on the Marketing, Sales, or Corporate teams, you can still contribute by using the products and sharing your feedback with us.
Let’s make our products together.
To all future WOVN members
WOVN is a very international and open company.
The WOVN products let you access information on the internet in your own language easily and safely, and I think you can experience the same ideals in our unique workplace environment. On our team of professionals from around the world, you can work comfortably in your own language.
Plus, the QA team gets to try out products first. You can help us grow our products into the best on the Japanese market, as well on the global market.
Here is the book mentioned in the interview.
・“Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability” by Steve Krug (New Riders)