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Testing Personas

James wrote a nice post about test data and inspired me to write my approach to this topic.

In Germany “Max (Maximillian) Mustermann” is a tipical placeholder for a name. You can find examples of passports, bank cards, driving licences, CV and many other with this name.

Fun fact – person with name Max Mustermann really exists.

When I see tests from developers, it usually consist of: test test, teststraße 1, Teststadt 12345. Nothing wrong with that, but I cannot work like this,  after 2 weeks I will not be able to remember what did I test with this test user. So I came up with test personas, inspired from my family and colleagues. Here few of them mostly for bondary, layout and data mapping testing.


Anna Jautrīte Broņislava Pilz

My 90 years old greataunt is German, but born in Latvia in times when it was typical to give three given names for a child. Since WWII she lives in Germany and uses only her first name on daily basis. I was next to her as her hand bag was stolen in Berlin during our round trip. I guided her to the police office and experienced the situation with her full name. Police officers had trouble to squeeze it into the form. The field was simply too small for it.

María Dolores Martínez Ruiz and Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias

Several years ago I worked in a small company, whos 50 employees spoke 14 different native languages and none of them was English. We worked on products which main functionaly was based on data mapping. One of my colleagues came from Columbia and had trouble with his name. The system mixed up his last name with one of his given names. Here some information about traditional spanish names.

Calligenia Ioánnou Papadopoúlou

If I want to test bondaries, but not overact, than I use Greek names, which typicaly are long.

Jörg-Christian Müller

Given name with hypen. One of my developers had a name with hypen and in one of his tests he uses his own name and found a bug. Since then name with hypen is on my list.


Similar to names I use long, hypened and typical street names. In case I test something for abroad and not sure about address layout there, I search for restaurants in the specific country and use their addresses as a test address.

If I test something for ecommerce, especially for B2B customers, than I check if they have defined areas for sale representatives and use edge cases on daily bases. People tend to forget about special implementations – my test personas saved developer time already several times.

E-Mail Addresses

As I started my test career one of project colleagues showed me www.mailinator.com – free tool with free access inbox. “Isn’t it great?!Everyone uses it.” he added. I was not so big fan of it, I saw security issues everywhere. If you test an emails, than there is some information in it. For example, link to your test system. Are you sure you want it to be exposed?

Instead of that I have variety of registered email addresses, but I also use following two workarounds.

GMail Address with a dots

For example, if you have gmail address: gracehooper@gmail.com than you also can use: grace.hooper@gmail.com, gr.ace.hooper@gmail.com or grace.h.o.o.p.e.r@gmail.com – because GMail simply ignores dots.

Plus sign “+” in every e-mail address you have

For example, my email address is kristine@test.org. In this case I can use kristine+anna@test.org and kristine+calligenia@test.org to seperate my test cases by test persona.

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5 thoughts on “Testing Personas

  1. Pingback: Gmail And Dots – Test Retreat

  2. Well written, Kristine! Gmail, as well as two common mail server systems, sendmail and CommuniGate Pro, will deliver mail addressed to “user+tag@mumble.dom” as though it were addressed to “user@mumble.dom.” The “+tag” portion of the email address can then be used both for filing mail and for screening it.

  3. Kristīne on said:

    Thank you, Michael. Just to be sure that it is clear: “+” is supported by all email providers, not only Gmail.

  4. Pingback: Our reading recommendations of the week #22/17 | | Lyon Testing

  5. Excellent article! That Gmail “+” trick came in handy when a system we tested required a unique email address for setting up new users. Emails still got routed to the same address.