The definition and examples of Test Design Techniques

Test design techniques are used to test software. Testing can take place in a variety of areas. Test techniques have their own way of working and usually focus on a particular element within a system. Are you curious about what a test design technique is, and what techniques there are? Then read on quickly!

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What is a test design technique?

A test design technique focuses on finding errors in software and systems. Techniques are used to thoroughly examine (parts of) a system for errors. There are several techniques. These techniques have their own way of working and can be used from a test base to find errors.

What is a test base?

A test base is a description of the desired behavior of a system. A test base consists of all sources that tell something about the requirements of the system. You need a test base in almost all cases, because otherwise you don't know whether a system has desired or undesired behavior.

How do you choose a test design technique?

Which technique is most appropriate depends on what exactly you want to test. TMap® Next has drawn up a number of test forms. These test forms, also called quality attributes, are examples of what you can test with a certain system:

  • Functionality
  • Detail functionality
  • Overarching functionality
  • Adaptability, usability, connectivity, performance, or usability

The last form of testing contains a number of elements. That's because most test design techniques that fall under it test multiple things at once.

To give you a clear picture, below we will categorize the eleven design techniques according to the test forms. Under each test form, you'll see which test design techniques can be used.


The two test design techniques that fall under "Functionality" have to do with input to a system.

Semantic Test (SEM)

This design technique focuses on input data. A Semantic Test allows you to determine the degree to which the system accepts input data.

Syntactic Test (SYN)

The Syntactic Test is partly about the same topic: input data. This design technique tests the extent to which a system can withstand invalid input data.

Detail functionality

The name of the test form says it all: design techniques that fall under this focus on a specific functionality.

Decision Table Test (BTT).

The Decision-table test tests the detailed functionality of a system. This technique allows you to check the design specifications present.

Data Combination Test (DCT)

This technique tests the combinations of system functions. When performing a DCT, the goal is to simulate as many situations as possible with as few tests as possible.

Elementary Comparison Test (EVT)

The EVT can also be used to intensively test detail functionality. The Elementary Comparison Test places the focus on testing decision points in systems.

Overarching functionality

Overarching functionality testing means looking at the whole. Many techniques examine specific components of a system. Test design techniques that focus on the overarching functionality can bring out errors that cannot be seen by specific tests.

Data Cycle Testing (GCT)

Tracking down integration errors, that is the purpose of the Data Cycle Test! The GCT tests the linkage between all kinds of functions of a system.

Data Combination Test (DCT)

The Data Combination Test (DCT) was briefly explained above, but it can also be used to test the overarching functionality of a system.

Compatibility, usability, connectivity, performance or usability

There are several test design techniques that test one or more of the above terms.

Use Case Test (UCT).

The Use Case Test allows you to discover missing items in a system. Examining individual components of a system does not always result in discovering missing elements. With a UCT you solve that problem.

Real Life Test (RLT)

With the Real Life Test test you examine the ease with which connections can be made to other systems (connectivity). Usability and performance are also tested with the RLT.

Process Cycle Test (PCT)

The Process Cycle Test is often used to test the integration between administration and an automated information system.

Data Cycle Test (GCT) and Syntactic Test (SYN)

The Data Cycle Test (GCT) and Syntactic Test (SYN) can also be used to test the elements within a given system.

Learn test design techniques?

This article has given you an overview of different test design techniques. Want to learn more about software testing? Testlearning is your test training provider in a digital learning environment. For example, we offer the following courses:

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