A look at software beta testing
In the world of modern software development, it’s no surprise that continuous testing is an essential part of the software development lifecycle, especially to keep up with the many products available in the market.
Quality is one of the most important factors in achieving customer satisfaction and in order to create high quality software, this software must be constantly tested to ensure that it works as expected.
Thus, many types of tests will be performed throughout the software development process. Here we will focus on one type of test that occurs towards the end of this process: Beta testing.
What is beta testing?
Beta testing is a type of testing the purpose of which is to verify whether software that is about to be released meets the customer’s requirements.
This is done by testing the software on a selected number of users – beta users – in a live production environment to see how these users interact with the software and for the development team to fix any issues that arise before make a full version of the rest of the users.
This type of testing also verifies the reliability, security, and functionality of the software and implements black box testing techniques, which primarily test the input and output functionality of the software.
Features of beta testing
To better understand beta testing, we will list some of the most important features of this type of testing and what they entail:
- Beta testing involves real users testing the product in a live production environment.
- Selected users should be chosen to represent the target audience.
- This ultimately helps minimize the risk of product failure and improves product quality.
- It occurs towards the end of software development life cyclewhen the product is almost ready.
- This means that the product must be sufficiently stable and include all the features planned for the release.
- This comes right after alpha testing, which is another type of testing to help validate the functionality of the release, but the testers are internal users, not customers.
Types of beta testing
There are many types of beta testing, but all aim to improve the quality of released software, some of which are listed below:
Closed vs open beta test
A closed beta test occurs when a certain number of users are invited to participate in the beta test and therefore the number of testers is limited because it is not open to the public. Businesses will need to actively search and recruit these users based on the type of users they are looking for.
Meanwhile, an open beta test has no access restrictions, meaning anyone can register to test the beta product. As this test has a broader scope, it’s a great opportunity to collect quantitative data about your target audience and how they interact with your product.
However, it can also complicate data analysis when a large number of users are testing the product. Therefore, an open beta test can take time.
Technical beta testing
In this scenario, beta users will be made up of more tech-savvy users with the goal of uncovering more complex technical issues that the average user may miss. These users would typically have more experience and knowledge of the ins and outs of the software so they could provide high quality feedback to the engineering team.
Sometimes these users can come from the organization itself.
Targeted beta testing
This type of beta testing is focused on gathering feedback on a specific release feature, including key product features.
Post-release beta testing
Here the product is released and feedback is collected to improve future releases.
Beta testing is of great value during the software development process because it generates real-time feedback from your most relevant users.
This will result in better and improved products and therefore higher customer satisfaction as you have the ability to optimize your releases based on your customers’ feedback.
With beta testing, you are essentially minimizing your explosion radius, so if something goes wrong, only a few users are exposed to these bugs, which can be fixed for future product releases. Plus, in the long run, you’ll be launching products that your customers love and actually need. Thus, beta testing has become a staple of modern software development.