Whenever a new invention, discovery, advancement, and enhancement takes place, it takes a good deal of tech development. And this process is not solitary work: it is important to incorporate user needs. It wants into what you are trying to develop and considers how other people will interact with that technology.
As everything happens in a hurry, tech developers can make the mistake of forgoing an essential step when testing a new product or technology: the beta phase. This is the second and last stage of testing before releasing your product. The intended audience tests a sample of it, and the comments of these users allow you to fix the latest bugs and smooth out some rough edges.
Let’s take a look at how to do the beta testing efficiently.
Beta to Launch
What’s a “beta” anyway? It’s the second letter of the Greek alphabet and comes right after alpha. That’s why developers call the first product development phase “alpha testing.” But such tests are carried out in a laboratory and by specialists.
This is why beta testing, also known as “pre-release testing,” is so important: real people and potential users will test all the tools and features of the product in their own homes and tell you exactly what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved. It will be possible to test the product’s compatibility with other devices, systems, or software and even discover new use-case scenarios that were not even a priority in the first place.
In a world where everything is based on deadlines and money, some companies still consider beta testing unnecessary because of the time, effort, and investment required. A full beta cycle lasts between eight to ten weeks, and spending can be unpredictable.
But don’t be fooled: from beta to launch, you’ll get a better product adapted to different types of audiences.
Beta Testing Applies to Everything- Even Whiskey
Beta testing may seem like it’s only for new technologies and the latest gadgets; however, that is not true. Beta testing applies to every product, including a new whiskey or beer. For example, if your distillery is releasing a new whiskey, try “beta testing” with the public. Create a small batch and invite your regulars to give their opinion before creating too much of the product. This can help save wasted costs in the future.
Getting the Most of Beta
As a tech developer or tech company, you should understand the nuances of beta testing to get the most out of it. One of the first decisions you will have to make is the approach: what kind of beta testing best covers what you are trying to achieve?
The most traditional involves distributing the unfinished product to a target audience and gathering data from their experience with it. Some companies prefer to keep the operation “indoors,” working with an internal group of testers formed by other developers or tech specialists. And others choose to release a “trial version” for free to the general public and just wait for some feedback.
Whichever type you choose, these are some strategies to get the most insight out of beta testers and beta trials:
The More Testers the Better
Usually, the size of the project determines how many testers will work on it. But the more testers, the better. Some companies use more than 100 users per beta testing. Varied users ensure that each aspect of the product can be tested as different people have different reasons to use it. The feedback will be much more detailed than what you get from testing done by technicians.
Don’t Forget Different Scenarios
Tests conducted in a lab take place under controlled conditions and using high-tech equipment. Developers and tech specialists also carry them out. To conduct the best testing of anything, try different scenarios (social classes, age groups, and even several platforms and devices) to better understand the product’s compatibility and usability in the real world.
Each Thing at its Time
Never conduct alpha and beta testing at the same time. Finish the first round of technical testing before moving on to the next. When you do everything at the same time, testers will be confused, and feedback from one step to the next can be compromised.
Try Focused Beta Testing
Instead of putting your testers to work with the product as a whole, try some focused beta testing to evaluate particular features or parts of a familiar product. Some exciting innovations in the tech industry were improved, or even made possible, with this kind of test. For example, the technology of smart glasses was developed after some companies decided to break down and redefine the different parts of glasses and gave rise to a new, smarter product.
Any Change Demands a Reboot
Let’s say you noticed a bug during the beta testing process and decided to add a new feature to the product. Well, even if it is the smallest of changes, it will be necessary to restart the whole cycle so that all testers receive the new and updated version and can use it from scratch.
Not All Feedback Will Be Valid
It’s sad but true: tech developers estimate that only one out of five beta testers will try the product comprehensively, which allows for proper feedback on its pros and cons. In case you distribute free trial versions to the general public, don’t expect every user to give some feedback.
Try to Create Product Awareness
Influencers rule the modern world. While some beta testers may never give you valid feedback, sending some product samples exclusively to influencers can be productive. If they like what you’re developing, they’ll give you valuable feedback and also help to make the public aware of your product and its features.
An Essential Feedback
Beta testing is one of the best methods to test a new product with real consumers and in the real world. Based on the data/ratings you receive from user experiences, you will be able to fix bugs, improve things and even add some new features before the device/app/system is finally released. Even tech giants like Google are doing it.
These tests also require a lot of effort and investment. A product should preferably be tested with different audiences and in different scenarios for better data collection and analysis. But at the end of the day, all this work will pay off: a post-beta testing product is better quality and bug-free.
Without this step, your product will likely reach the consumer with some imperfections that could not be detected before. Alpha testing allows you to get to know your product very well, but only the beta phase enables you to test it with the people who will use the same product when it hits the shelves.