Article

Beta Testing

September 12, 2022

The process of beta testing is a commonly used part of acceptance testing. Learn more in this article

The process of beta testing is a commonly used part of acceptance testing. Learn more in this article

The process of beta testing is a commonly used part of acceptance testing. As such, it is one of the final parts of the development lifecycle of any software. It involves releasing an unfinished, but functional copy of the software to a small number of real users who try it out and provide crucial feedback.

Beta testing is also known as customer validation or user testing. Typically, beta testing is the next phase when developers complete the alpha phase of acceptance testing.

What is Beta Testing?

Alpha and beta are the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. These are used to denote the two crucial steps in acceptance testing. Alpha testing is done with a more rudimentary version of the software and is usually carried out in the development environment.

Beta testing, however, involves using a more feature-complete version of the software that may still have some bugs and issues. When this software is released to the end user, they can use it as it is intended to be used in its final form.

During the process of beta testing, the small select group of end users try to use and thoroughly test out the product, putting it to practical use, assessing its feature and functionality, and identifying bugs and potential improvement areas. 

The developer can then receive this feedback from the users, which becomes important insight and helps them finish bug fixing and developing the software and making it ready for final release. Beta testing can be further classified into technical beta testing, closed beta testing, and open beta testing.

Apart from customer feedback, developers can also focus on insight provided by the software backend to scan for potential bugs and receive real-time analytics on specific software features that are inviting the most use from the end-users.

Why Beta Testing is Crucial

Beta testing is considered a crucial phase of acceptance testing for most software. Here are some key benefits to consider.

  • The most fundamental reason to carry out beta testing is to find bugs in the software quickly so that they can be fixed immediately. Involved end users who bring fresh eyes to a product are likely to quickly fish out the bugs.
  • Beta testing is also a great way to assess the quality of user experience on offer. By testing your software for practical, real-world use cases, you can use the provided feedback to ascertain if it provides the right utility and a satisfactory user experience.
  • Beta testing is also a good way to stress test your software. If you carry out beta testing with a large user base, you would be able to identify if the sustained load and stress causes any issues with your software.
  • Finally, beta testing is also a salient way to test your software across a variety of devices and platforms. This is an excellent follow-up to the functional testing and visual testing capabilities of a resource like Functionize. You can also track device impact, such as slowdowns and battery drain.

How Beta Testing is Done

Here is a standard step-by-step process of carrying out beta testing.

  • The first step involves getting the software as close in terms of features, functionality, and finish to the final product that you intend to release. You want to give beta testers the closest approximation of what the software will feel like upon release.
  • You need to have a concrete beta testing strategy. Here, you decide on focus areas for the beta testing, either concentrating on the whole product or on specific features. Set clear goals regarding what you want to accomplish with the beta testing and assign testing deadlines.
  • The next step is to define your target market for beta testing. You need a small base of real users who will be able to test your software for the specific use cases for which it is intended. You also need people who can give honest and detailed feedback.
  • Next, you onboard your chosen group of beta testers. This usually involves signing them up to a beta testing platform and getting them to sign non-disclosure agreements. Also, you can divide your testing groups into one group for technical testing and another for user experience testing.
  • During the beta test process, you need to gather detailed feedback from your test cases. Authentic measures of customer validation and customer satisfaction are crucial. Understand criticism, consider feature requests, and be ready to immediately deal with bug reports.
  • In addition, use the software backend to assess important metrics at your end.
  • Finally, according to your beta testing strategy and the feedback received, decide on your exit criteria for the testing.

The Point of This All

Beta testing is a crucial part of the development life cycle of your software. It can help you bring your software to a release-ready state faster, make critical improvements for features and user experience, and end up with a polished product that is thoroughly tested for its intended use cases. Beta testing is also a conducive way to improve awareness about your software pre-release.

Functionize helps you get the most out of beta testing. One of the most common challenges with test automation is that it doesn’t happen early enough in the process. The main reason for delaying test automation is that the application may still need changes to be implemented. Functionize tests are able to adapt to change, and automated tests can be created easily without the need for code. So, you can recruit the help of your business stakeholders to create automated tests while they perform acceptance testing. Tests can be created in minutes using Functionize Architect, and thanks to machine learning, will easily adapt to changes as the application matures over time.