You followed all the rules of developing a new product: you did research, surveys, identified user needs, and came up with an absolutely wonderful product that you cannot wait to release.
But slow down, you cannot launch the product without doing the necessary testing. And, that’s where beta testing and alpha testing comes in.
Alpha testing is what the developers and designers do in-house. Beta testing is different because it involves real users in the real environment. A product life-cycle, then, has a number of stages —right from the initial development plan to its release, followed by timely updates.
Beta testing is one of the most important parts of product development, and once it’s successfully completed, it ensures that the product provides excellent user experience without any glitches.
Beta Testing: A Precursor to a Quality Product
You can choose a specific group of users as beta testers and they use your product for a stipulated period of time. They would report bugs or any issues they faced, and the feedback that you collect from them can be used to correct and perfect the product.
It is only through proper QA and testing strategy can a defect-free product be released. It is also important to have a good strategy to communicate your ideas to the users so that they can deliver helpful feedback.
All the bugs and problems that eluded the grasp of the designers, developers, and testers during the alpha testing stage will now be captured and eliminated. Through beta testing, you can understand how users will be receiving your product in the future. This is a very important step as it can improve the QA of the final product.
You can say beta testing is a precursor to delivering a quality product, and maybe a peephole into how your product’s fate will be written.
Beta testing doesn’t just provide an answer that may arise with the technicalities of the product; it also gives an insight into those features that should be added or avoided in the product.
One of the biggest advantages of beta testing is that you can avoid a lot of potential PR issues that might arise with the release of a poorly made product. So you can say proper beta launch can cut costs significantly.
Why Is Beta Testing Important?
The major benefits achieved from beta testing of software products are:
1. Detection of Bugs
This is an obvious reason for conducting beta testing. This testing phase enables quick discovery and fixing of bugs, so users can enjoy seamless use of the product without any hiccups. The first impression is the best impression, so never take chances when you really have to impress your users with a great product.
2. High Quality
Quality assurance is an important strategy that cannot be discounted at any cost. Your product will have to go through strict scrutiny before it gets submitted in the app stores, so make sure all the efforts of the previous weeks do not go waste at the last moment. Beta testing would assure that your product is built according to guidelines.
3. Best Usability
A number of things can affect the usability feature of an app, and this will, in turn, affect its performance. Imagine releasing an app that works in two different ways in two different devices.
That would really affect its overall performance, and beta testing is the only way to bring this to light. Certain issues will not be visible when they are tested in the lab, so you really have to test them in the real environment.
4. Superb Performance
A lot of factors can affect the performance of the product, especially when you expect it to work on a number of platforms. Hence, it is important to test the speed and performance of the product, and this can be done by beta testing.
5. Product Awareness
Beta testing is also a kind of marketing strategy that you initiate for your product. It helps create a buzz among your target users, and this momentum would pave the way for a better, and perhaps, an eager reception during the official release.
How to Effectively Beta Test
There is no negating the importance of beta testing for your product. However, you need to have a solid plan to do it in the proper manner. Interestingly, many companies do not have a clear strategy about how to conduct beta testing. So, if you have a beta testing in a pipeline, ensure that you have done the following before getting started.
1) Get the Product Ready, Just Like How You Intended It for the Market
All the basic functionalities that should go in the final product must be there in the beta version. This is the only way to check that all the features in the product function optimally when you submit it to beta testers.
2) Have a Well-Cut Beta Plan in Place
You must create a strong beta testing plan with testing goals, strategies, responsibilities, and deadlines clearly defined and assigned to each team member. This will ensure that the work proceeds in a systematic way.
3) Decide on the Beta Testing Tools to Be Used
It is important to decide on the tools for beta testing. Some products may have security vulnerabilities, some may show performance drop, and others may show instability. So, get the necessary tools ready for testing and fixing all such problems.
4) Sign Beta Participation Agreements and Nondisclosure Agreements
It is important to prepare a Beta Tester NDA to prevent the secrets of your product from leaking out before it actually reaches the public. Companies hire testers and get them to sign the NDA so that they don’t reveal information about the product until it’s readied for launch. Beta test and secrecy are very important, and there are official documents that bind the testers to it.
5) Shortlist Your Beta Testers and Brief Them About Their Responsibilities and Schedules
Trust is an important factor in hiring beta testers, so hire only those people who have won your trust. Trust your instincts first. Make sure they are aware of the responsibilities, schedules, and deadlines before they get down to the testing task.
Let’s see how to create a beta testing strategy and execute it successfully.
1. Select the Target Platforms
When every aspect of beta testing is in readiness, you can now get down to the main task by selecting the right platforms for which you need to do the beta testing. For example, you may have to choose among device iterations like iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, etc., and OS iterations like iOS 8.0, iOS 8.1, iOS 8.1.1, etc. This is all based on the technical specifications of the product.
Based on the product and its needs, you can choose either iOS or Android testing platforms, and there are platforms that support both OS. Some people choose to go for platforms that enjoy greater community support, while others look out for remote accessibility. You need to identify your needs before choosing a platform.
2. Invite Beta Testers
To start the process of beta testing, select the testers. Ideally, if you can get around 200-300 beta testers, it would be good because you’ll get plenty of constructive feedback on different aspects of the product.
If you already have a list of beta testers, invite them through email. And always be on the lookout for new quality testers to be added to your list. It is important to keep your testers active and engaged by offering them promotions, offers, discounts, rewards, incentives, newsletters, and tips.
Beta testers can be found through multiple sources - both online & offline.
1) Websites - You can target websites like UserTesting, BetaList, Erli Bird, PreApps that provide Beta testing as a service. This would be an ideal resource to tap if you don’t have an email list of beta testers because these websites would give you list of people who may be willing to test.
2) Social media - There is nothing like social media channels to attract interested testers. Twitter and Facebook (Facebook ads is a good strategy to attract testers) are the best resources to tap.
3) Reddit - There is a very passionate and involved community of users in Reddit who welcome testing tasks. You can choose the user segment that would be best suited for your project and contact them.
4) Directories - One of the best places to attract beta testers would be startup directories and beta directories. There are passionate techies and early adopters who would be ready to pitch in. You can search for them at BetaCandy, InspiredBeta, BetaBound, AppStorm, AppUseful, FeedmyApp and so on.
5) Forums and Communities - Forums and communities like iPhone Dev SDK and Quora would great resources. However, you may need to build your own community in the specific niche, and demonstrate your expertise there.
6) Personal contact - Source personally all those people whom you think you would be willing to test your product. Through this, it would be easier to get first-hand feedback because the personal interaction is there.
3. Distribute Beta Testers
Now that you know where to get beta testers and how to shortlist them, it is time for the real action. Given below are some of our top picks for the best beta distribution tools. Choose the one that would be more suitable for your requirement.
1) TestFlight- Apple has acquired TestFlight, a beta distribution platform, and it is integrated into Xcode. You can send emails through this platform to all the beta testers inviting them to join your testing group and trying out your product.
2) Google Play Beta testing - This is an incredible tool that allows you to distribute to both beta and alpha testing. You can send links to your subscribers and invite them to beta test your product. You can follow the same list and send future release versions of the product automatically.
3) HockeyApp - This actually contains a lot of automatic tools, even the ones not found in TestFlight.
4) Crashlytics (Fabric) - Gives you a single, cross-platform toolset for both iOS and Android products. Once your testers receive the initial email invite, they can just come in and join, and no complex processes are involved.
5) Applivery - It is reputed to be a very powerful mobile products distribution system that allows for continuous deployment, beta testing and enterprise product distribution, feedback, and bug reporting.
6) AppBlade - The platform helps in creating custom release tracks when you are releasing with different variants. It can shorten feedback loops and focus on the QA process of the product, thereby enabling you to launch a high-quality product.
7) TestFairy - The best thing about TestFairy is that it works on both iOS and Android, compatible with any kind of bug tracking system, works on native products and on platforms like Xamarin, PhoneGap, Adobe Air, Unity, and Appcelerator.
4. Collect Feedback
Now that you have distributed beta testers, they will work on the product and come up with certain suggestions. Feedback can be either positive or negative; but ultimately, it will help fine tune the product to the best of standards.
Here are a few ways in which you can collect feedback from your beta testers:
1) Reporting Bugs
The main aim of beta testing is to spot and squash bugs and other issues that went unnoticed in the development phase of the product. So, bug reports are really important; it’s a great way for the testers to report the existence of bugs. This will help the beta team to identify and take measures to eliminate bugs, thereby enhancing the user experience.
2) Submitting Feature Requests
While using your products, the testers would feel they are missing of some important feature(s). Hence, there has to be a provision to submit feature requests, so the beta manager would know which feature will be preferred by the users in the future. Features requests and feature improvements that the testers submit are valuable insights.
Journals here means short accounts of what the tester experienced while using the product on a daily basis. This is also a kind of feedback, but it could be something personal also. If the product was too hard to use or if there’s any particular feature that the tester liked, then he can pen down his thoughts and convey it to the beta manager.
4) Discussing on Forums
Participating in forums and discussion boards would provide insights into what people are talking about your product. If there is something a user found exciting in your product, he would mention it, and the others would express their opinion. Similar would be the case if there is something negative about the product.
5. Evaluate and Iterate
Collect the feedback from each and every tester, analyze them thoroughly, observe for patterns, and this would give you an idea about product crashes and glitches.
You can collect the analytics and crash reports from sources like Crashlytics, Parse Analytics, Apple Crash Reports and Google Analytics for iOS and run them through to get a clearer picture. Also analyze the functional reports of the testers to check which features are working fine, and which are not.
For example, if there has been a crash, Crashlytics would provide a crash log that talks about the circumstances that led to product termination or shut down. Each time a crash occurs, it would be reported in the log for you to analyze and act on. A thorough analysis of the feedback would bring all the glitches of the product to light, and you can work on improving the quality of the product.
6. Reward Beta Testers
Testers are putting in time and effort to analyze your product and make suggestions for changes. They must be rewarded in the form of coupons, discounts, promo codes, offers and other big-ticket prices. This is how you personally acknowledge the efforts they took to work hard to improve your product.
Gifting them will help build brand loyalty, so the next time you need to test a product, you will find many willing testers around.
However, it is important to remember that incentives should be given only to testers who have made an active contribution till completion of beta testing. It would also be good if you can keep the surprise until the end, if you want an honest reprisal at the end.
If you announce what you are going to give, it may not bring in the desired results. If the incentive is too exciting, they might just praise the product and overlook the bugs, and if the incentive is less than exciting, they might just quit.
Ideally, you must leave the tester guessing, and they will assume you will be fair. But remember, good incentives will leave a lasting impression, and the next time around, they will be willing to test your product.
Beta testing is thus a crucial step to product release. While developing your product idea, make sure you build an audience around it simultaneously, because you just cannot afford to launch your product first and then discover the flaws that is within it. That could cost you dearly.
And pay attention to the methods of doing beta testing successfully — right from selecting the platform to choosing deserving beta testers, and assimilating the feedback. Also, make sure that you add all the credible beta testers into your email list, so you can easily inform them at the launch of your product, or whenever an update is released.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.
- Select the Target Platforms. ...
- Invite Beta Testers. ...
- Distribute Beta Testers. ...
- Collect Feedback. ...
- Evaluate and Iterate. ...
- Reward Beta Testers.
Beta Testing is a user acceptance test in which a group of users tests an almost completed application to assess its performance in a natural environment. This phase of the application development process aims to expose your application to a set of real-life users and gather feedback from them for improvement.What are the requirements for beta testing? ›
- Alpha testing is signed off.
- Beta version of the software is ready.
- There's a way to release your app to a portion of your end-users.
- Public documentation and issue list is ready to be published.
- A bug reporting tool has been integrated with the product.
What is Beta Testing? Beta testing is an opportunity for real users to use a product in a production environment to uncover any bugs or issues before a general release. Beta testing is the final round of testing before releasing a product to a wide audience.What is beta testing example? ›
Public Beta Testing: Product is released publicly to the world through online channels and data can be collected from anyone. Based on feedback, product improvements can be done. For example, Microsoft conducted the largest of all Beta Tests for its operating system Windows 8 before officially releasing it.How do you create a product beta? ›
- Test your product thoroughly. ...
- Clearly define your product's UVP. ...
- Decide on the type of beta launch you want. ...
- Build a beta launch dream team. ...
- Onboard your beta users. ...
- Get feedback and implement it. ...
- Let the world know.
In software development, a beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out. Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally, the term alpha test meant the first phase of testing in a software development process.Why do we do beta testing? ›
Beta testing is one of the final steps in your software development lifecycle (SDLC) before a product goes live. Also referred to as user testing or customer validation, beta testing aims to ensure that end users are satisfied with a software product before you make it generally available (GA).What is a beta product? ›
A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to try under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as a result.Where is beta testing performed? ›
Beta testing is performed at the end-user of the product. Reliability and security testing are not checked in alpha testing. Reliability, security and robustness are checked during beta testing. Alpha testing ensures the quality of the product before forwarding to beta testing.
Performance testing is a testing measure that evaluates the speed, responsiveness and stability of a computer, network, software program or device under a workload. Organizations will run performance tests in order to identify performance-related bottlenecks.Who Performs beta testing of software? ›
Beta Testing is performed by “real users” of the software application in “real environment” and it can be considered as a form of external User Acceptance Testing. It is the final test before shipping a product to the customers. Direct feedback from customers is a major advantage of Beta Testing.What is a beta project? ›
What is a Beta Program? A Beta Program is a set of tests designed to determine if a completed product fulfills the value proposition that it was designed to deliver. A Beta Program should be executed after a product has been built but before it is launched.What happens after a beta test? ›
Following the completion of the beta testing stage, a final release test takes place before the final product is launched. This involves the end-users and stakeholders testing the product and/or features for a final time before it's released to the public.How long is a product in beta? ›
We generally recommend tests that are no shorter than two weeks and no longer than twelve, with most beta tests having between four and eight weeks of test time.What are the types of testing? ›
- Unit tests. Unit tests are very low level and close to the source of an application. ...
- Integration tests. ...
- Functional tests. ...
- End-to-end tests. ...
- Acceptance testing. ...
- Performance testing. ...
- Smoke testing.
Alpha testing is the last testing done by the test teams at the development site after the acceptance testing and before releasing the software for beta test. Alpha testing can also be done by potential users or customers of the application. Still, this is a form of in-house acceptance testing.How do I prepare for beta launch? ›
- Is there a specific type of product for beta launch? ...
- Is there a specific market or user type in mind? ...
- Is there a goal in mind? ...
- Is this for Amazon?
The first uses of the term beta can be traced back to IBM in the 1950s. According to Allan Scherr (a former IBM employee), the terminology originated during his time there. They referred to testing product ideas and theories as “A” testing and testing feature complete products as “B” testing.Is beta testing safe? ›
Beta tests can give malicious attackers a close look at your app and a headstart on finding vulnerabilities to exploit. This is usually only a risk for apps that handle highly sensitive data like banking apps and depends on the amount of exposure the beta test has.
Beta is a slang insult for or describing a man who is seen as passive, subservient, weak, and effeminate.What is a beta feature? ›
Beta Features are a way for you to test new features on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites before they are released for everyone. Go to your preferences to enable Beta Features for yourself; remember, enabling features works on a per-site basis. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wikimedia Beta Features.What is a beta product launch? ›
A buzzword used in software teams, beta testing is a trial of your product and its features in near-final stages carried out by users to gather feedback before launching.What is beta application? ›
Beta apps are newer and more experimental versions of apps that are already released. Early access and beta apps may be less stable than most apps. For example, the app might crash or some features might not work properly. Some apps limit how many users can join early access and beta programs.Why is performance testing important? ›
Performance Testing exposes the possible vulnerabilities within an application and identifies where it has to be strengthened to accept upgrades and changes to get more scalable. Analyzing the statistics from test executions can help teams to identify any possible issues and capabilities of an application.Which tool is best for performance testing? ›
Apache JMeter helps you measure and analyze software performance. It's an open source tool based on Java that people use mainly for testing web app performance, but it also finds usage on other services. It can test performance for both dynamic and static resources, as well as dynamic web apps.
A performance testing results report is crucial for knowing the areas of defects and improvements in the software. Performance testers are responsible for reporting credible information about the applications and systems they run tests on, and in doing so, must use an effective approach.When should beta testing be done? ›
Beta Testing is always performed right after the completion of Alpha Testing, but before the product is released to the market (Production Launch / Go Live). Here the product is expected to be at least 90% – 95% completed (stable enough on any of the platforms, all features either almost or fully complete).How do you write a beta version? ›
Beta releases are denoted by adding "beta<beta version number>" after the release number. For example, if the current release version is 2.0. 4, and a developer wished to preview the next major release, the release would be labeled 3.0-beta1.What is closed beta test? ›
closed beta (plural closed betas) (computing) A testing arrangement in which a beta test version of software is distributed to a small group of testers.
A common method is that suggested by Microsoft, which divides software development into five phases: Pre-alpha, Alpha, Beta, Release candidate, and Stable.How do you run a beta? ›
- Make sure testers aren't just doing it as a favor. ...
- Ask actual customers to be your beta testers. ...
- Always use a high-fidelity prototype. ...
- Run A/B tests with live customers. ...
- Start (and end) with a plan.
Beta users, or beta testers, are a limited public audience who test your product before you officially launch it. Beta testing enables the team behind the development to work on flaws, remove bugs, and develop even better features that can enhance the product's value.What does beta period mean? ›
The beta period is a timeframe of testing for a new exam prior to any sort of official release. This is one of the last steps during the exam development process. The new exam is released to beta testers for real world test taking to evaluate new exam questions with the participation of a live audience.Where is Beta Testing performed? ›
Beta testing is performed at the end-user of the product. Reliability and security testing are not checked in alpha testing. Reliability, security and robustness are checked during beta testing. Alpha testing ensures the quality of the product before forwarding to beta testing.What does beta product mean? ›
A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to try under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as a result.What is difference between alpha testing and Beta Testing? ›
Alpha testing uses both black and white box testing while Beta testing uses only blackbox testing. Alpha testing is done by testers and quality analysts inside the organization whereas Beta testing is done by real users who will be actually using the software.Why might a company decide to use a beta test for a new product? ›
Beta testing provides valuable insights into how customers feel about new products. It enables companies to fix, in a timely manner, usability issues and design flaws, and collect first-hand feedback on their product's performance and value to its users.Why is it called beta testing? ›
In software development, a beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out. Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Originally, the term alpha test meant the first phase of testing in a software development process.Why is beta testing important? ›
Beta testing provides insights into product functionality and also helps you better understand user experience. Going beyond lab performance tests, beta testing reveals whether or not the same level of performance is achievable in actual user environments.
A buzzword used in software teams, beta testing is a trial of your product and its features in near-final stages carried out by users to gather feedback before launching.How long is beta testing? ›
We generally recommend tests that are no shorter than two weeks and no longer than twelve, with most beta tests having between four and eight weeks of test time.What is before beta testing? ›
Alpha testing is the last testing done by the test teams at the development site after the acceptance testing and before releasing the software for beta test. Alpha testing can also be done by potential users or customers of the application. Still, this is a form of in-house acceptance testing.Is beta testing and UAT same? ›
User acceptance testing, or UAT, is similar to beta testing, but it has a different goal in mind. Specifically, UAT is used to ensure that the final product meets the requests of the client or end-user. Every piece of software is built for a reason, and UAT ensures that reason is fulfilled before a product is shipped.Which comes first alpha test or beta test? ›
Alpha testing is one of the final testing stages — it is performed after the system testing but before beta testing, and takes place at the very end of the software development process.What happens after a beta test? ›
Following the completion of the beta testing stage, a final release test takes place before the final product is launched. This involves the end-users and stakeholders testing the product and/or features for a final time before it's released to the public.Is beta testing safe? ›
Beta tests can give malicious attackers a close look at your app and a headstart on finding vulnerabilities to exploit. This is usually only a risk for apps that handle highly sensitive data like banking apps and depends on the amount of exposure the beta test has.
|Managed||$10,000+Multi-week tests with 50+ testers|
|Professional||$2,500+Single session tests with 10-50 testers|