Railsfactory Blog

Beta Testing Mobile Apps: 4 Tips on How the Masters Do it

No matter how well an app is designed, there always looms the big question: Will the end users like it? Apps with great codes and cool interfaces still fail to impress their audience, often after clearing the alpha testing phase. That’s where beta testing not only saves the app but also creates an opportunity to gain early adopters.

beta-testing-for-mobile-appsWhat is Beta Testing?

Beta testing — also known as User Acceptance Testing — is a testing phase just before the app goes commercial, wherein a mobile app is sent for use and critical feedback from a set of users, which replicate the targeted audience. Since it sounds easier than done, here are a few tips to make your beta testing phase a success.

Figure out what you want to test

Are you looking for a precise kind of feedback from very specific people like product managers and stakeholders? Or do you want to test for app behavior across platforms, versions, and devices by a diverse set of people? The answer to this question will determine whether you would go for closed ended or open ended testing. The former is done using a very specific group of people say, 50-250 people, while the latter is more extensive work of targeting thousands of beta testers.

Select your testers carefully

The quality of feedback is only as good as your testers, so it’s important to put hard work into selecting a relevant and competent group. While public beta tests sound convenient, the feedback is hard to manage, trust and take into account. Most users sign up for excitement and many of them review the app as good even though they did not like it. It’s easier to write that than to explain what was wrong in detail. Develop a tester persona based on your target audience, focusing on their needs, problems and the solutions you can provide to them.

Have a heterogeneous group of testers

The opposite of public testing isn’t selecting a group that’s closely available (a big no-no to friends, family or employees). App development is hard work, we know. But the last thing you want to do is  have a homogenous group of testers, for example:

  1. a group of testers who think like you and have the same expectations from a mobile app that you’d have; and
  2. a group of testers who are different from you but homogenous in their app testing behavior.

Both of these scenarios are equally dangerous. In the first case, there is little, if any chance that new flaws would be found and improvement suggestions would be creative. In the second group, it is likely that most testers would be providing feedback about the same thing over and over again.

The wise thing to do is carefully select a heterogeneous group of testers through multiple channels such as crowdsourcing platforms, test applications, social media or even websites like Quora to eliminate the risk of any bias.

Manage testing feedback

This is an extensive process in itself and an extremely vital one. Engaging with the testers makes all the difference; by responding to their feedback, you’re actually encouraging them to give more constructive and detailed feedback (and possibly become adopters, too). And while you don’t have to make everyone happy — it’s impossible and unnecessary, yet you must listen carefully to each of the suggestions your testers give and make sure you implement all the right ideas.

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