A Really Useful List For Exploratory Testers

Simon Tomes

By Simon Tomes

The first time I tried exploratory testing I realised it was the thing I had to learn to move my testing career forwards. I was hooked! In my experience exploratory testing is the key to continuous learning, better products and closer collaboration with your team. Check out this Really Useful List™️ for all of your exploratory testing needs.

1. Get started

Resources to help you and others start exploratory testing.

2. Triggers for test ideas

Use the following to trigger test ideas for your next exploratory testing session.

  • 🗒️ Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet: By Elisabeth Hendrickson, James Lyndsay, and Dale Emery. This cheat sheet is a simple yet unique resource for those moments you're stuck with what to explore next. It's fantastic! [PROMPT]

  • 🗒️ Welcome to the-internet: A handy oracle to trigger test ideas for typical web-based interactions. [PROMPT]

  • 🗒️ 37 Sources for Test Ideas: Enjoy this treasure trove of prompts for test ideas by Rikard Edgren, Martin Jansson and Henrik Emilsson. [PROMPT]

  • 🗒️ TestSphere: Teams brainstorm, share knowledge and experiences by using these cards as a conversation starter, a story telling game, a tool that facilitates workshops and as a guide for their testing sessions. [PROMPT]

3. Your questions answered

Sometimes it helps to ask questions and these are the places people are likely to answer.

4. Tools for the trade

Support your exploratory testing efforts with these tools.

  • 🧰 LICEcap: Create simple animated screen captures of your testing discoveries and share as a GIF. [APP]

  • 🧰 MindNode: Capture your test ideas and notes on one of the best mind mapping tools. [APP]

  • 🧰 Big List of Naughty Strings: Use this list of strings to increase your chances of causing issues when used as user-input data. [APP]

5. Places to practice

Use the following to hone your application of exploratory testing techniques.

  • 🖥️ Products by Indie Hackers: A vast and excellent array of live/beta applications to hone your exploratory testing craft. [PRODUCTS]

6. Convince others

Good exploratory testing isn't just about you, it's about working with others. The following will help you convince others to believe in the value of exploratory testing.

7. On automation

Automation in testing supports your exploratory testing efforts.

8. A deeper dive

Long-form exploration for the inquisitive explorer.

  • 📖 Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing: A brilliant book by Elisabeth Hendrickson is a must read for anyone who wishes to enhance their exploratory testing capabilities. It's packed full of useful advice on how exploratory testing fits into different contexts and what you can achieve with various techniques. [BOOK]

  • 📖 Exploratory Testing: Written by the incredible exploratory tester Maaret Pyhäjärvi, this book is about exploratory testing as an approach to thinking and learning while testing. [BOOK]

Simon Tomes


Simon is a CommunityBoss at Ministry of Testing and his pronouns are he/him. Currently learning to be a better community enabler, he has a passion for all things testing with a career in various testing roles since 2003. He particularly enjoys promoting and sharing the value of exploratory testing.