Knowing the Beta Testing
In the software testing process, beta testing is considered as one of the final steps in our SDLC (software development life cycle) prior to releasing the product in the market. Beta testing is also known as customer validation of the product or user-end testing. It confirms that the end users tend to feel satisfied with the product (software or application) before the product becomes live.
When the tester team has completed the functional or non-functional testing and the developers are done fixing the bugs, some selected end-users start initiating the Beta testing that serves as a soft launch, which enables the developers to receive feedback from those real users. These users compulsorily do not require any prior knowledge regarding the software. This is because these users would test the application with an unbiased approach apart from the developers perspective. It will let the application be tested critically before it is set to release for the wider user base.
For example, A Music app is released and before making it to the public, its features and functionalities will be shown to a limited number of dedicated customers who are unaware of that application’s dedicated features.
Moreover, the major difference between alpha testing and beta testing is the phase of the testing. Alpha testing precedes the beta testing phase. The version that is given to alpha testing is usually less stable and loaded with limited features. Alpha testing is usually performed by some autogenous developers, UX designers and QA and testing specialists whereas Beta test is performed by selected end users who are not familiar with the product and not equipped with any expertise.
Requirement of Beta Testing
In the latest software development methodologies, being an integral part of the product development cycle, the beta testing mainly depends on the nature of the software that is under development. Some organizations restrict the beta testing to the major releases whereas some extend this testing phase for minor and medium releases as well.
These testing phases appears as the following:
- Pre-alpha testing: This is the in-house testing done during the starting development stages by the product and development team.
- Alpha testing: This is also an in-house testing but done with a more advanced prototype. In this, teams initiate the testing process with small trusted users to enter in the alpha testing.
- Beta testing: This is an out-of-house phase to gather initial reactions of some selected users.
- Release testing: Final testing before the release of the product
If we re-look the process, every phase must have a proper exit criteria. For example, in beta testing, the exit criteria would be high priority issues in the bug tracking sheet/system.
Strategies to Beta Testing
Beta testing shows the opportunity to understand and improve the various analyses and behavior (unexpected and expected both) within the product submitted by the users. Gathering these analyses prior to the release can let the team contemplate the users education, on-boarding, documentation etc in order to deliver a seamless experience for the general user base.
As the testers are encouraged (or boosted) to submit the feedback, the team lead starts considering the flood of feedback and suggestions before releasing the final draft. These selected, experienced testers will provide more advanced feedback proactively.
First, we need to understand and remember that the purpose of the beta testing is to push the digital experience across the users and make sure that everything is working as intended. And according to this, the following three levels of platform comes under the coverage for all possible test cases:
- Operating Systems
An overall beta testing needs to be performed on these platforms or the possible combinations of these platforms. One of the dedicated rules is the 80/20 rule that states that 80 percent of the users test only 20 percent of the application features. It means the large number of testers will focus on the most important 20 percent of the application. The another purpose is to mix the large number of real users who test the application in an elaborated and descriptive manner.
Some other forms of testing are completed in a supervised lab setting, where the teams and team lead determine the devices, variables, and other metrics to highlight. Besides, the teams manage the environment and the pace under which these tests are executed.
Some issues do not appear real threats to the developers team but for real users, they are somehow a deal breaker. Testing with large people contributes to avoiding these sorts of issues and situations. Beta testing helps here to make the application well defined and major-bug free. It also helps to determine which are the issues that must be given priority and bugs that can be taken care of in later stages.
Growth and Opportunities in Beta Testing
Different people, Dynamic product and Demography-based coverage are the three important D’s of the beta testing, as suggested by the Oprimes experts, the largest crowd testing platform on the Indian market. And these three areas are widely followed while making the application market-specific before the general release (GR). Hence, Jobs in beta testing are booming in an exponential manner. Considering beta testing a major part in software engineering, the testers need to be more analytical and well-crafted so that they can be included in the team of specific and preferred user base.
Beta testing is vital to the software product and product teams and should be declared as the major checklist item before the major release(s). However, the real users and the real feedback post the market release put another type of impact in the real and practical environment.
The feedback report and sometimes suggestions enhance the developers mindset to out required efforts in the product and help the management to draw the further roadmap(s) in order to gain more responsive business goals. In addition, different platforms used while the testing phase will give a substantial idea regarding the technical capabilities over different operating systems or platforms.
It is required that the commitment to culminate the stages of beta testing should be filled with interest and the beta test environment should be supported. However, the gains of the beta tests and results usually outweigh the input and resource costs and time-to-market delay. We shall discuss some challenges of beta testing in our next episode.