Sunday, 25 December 2016

Be a Beta Tester and help in releasing Great Applications

Beta Testing is considered as a second phase of Software Testing, where a group of people (it's great if they know Software Testing / Mobile App Testing but it's absolutely not necessary) are asked to test a Software Product or Mobile App before releasing it to public. These Beta Testers should be critics and good Application users rather than 'Testers' in the IT World.

Advantages of Beta Testing for the Publisher / Owner:

  • Opportunity to give the Product in the hands of real users and ask their feedback.
  • Some issues you have never noticed in development environment can be identified
  • Marketing & Branding of your Product
  • Opportunity of converting beta users to actual end users of your product.
  • Improving customer satisfaction.
What happens after Beta Testing & Beta Release?

In a standard Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) process, we follow a serial approach of development. Once we pass through Analysis, Design and Development, the testing phase begins. Beta testing is a part of Software Release Life Cycle map and understanding the same is essential before getting into the specific details of Beta Testing. Pre-Alpha and Alpha are lesser known terminologies compared to Beta but let us understand them also in short. Pre-Alpha is basically all the activities before the formal testing phase starts. Alpha phase of the release cycle is officially the first phase of the software testing. The name Alpha is the first letter of Greek alphabets and that’s how it is used as a first testing phase.

Similarly, Beta is named after the second Greek letter following Alpha stage. IBM started using these names for their product development earlier and the names continued with a specific meaning in the Software Industry. Release often refers to giving your product in the hands of end client and Release management refers to the stages the Software Application or Mobile App or a product need to go through different phases before going ‘Live’. With this basic understanding, let us get into more details of Beta testing.

Let us assume that the Alpha test or internal tests are carried out and your Product (Web App, Mobile App, Desktop App, etc.) is ready. At this stage, all key features of the application / App (which are decided to be there in the commercial release) are ready. 
At this stage, a group of users is identified who can do an ‘end user’ testing of the software product. Beta testers are people who will actively use end to end functionality of the product and report bugs and issues in the software to the organisation who has developed it. The difference between all earlier testing and Beta testing is that the testing is now taking place at the client site, which means the product is installed on client’s digital device and is facing the real world challenges. User’s perspective is most important part of Beta testing which your own development and testing team may not be able to identify.

Closed Beta versions are released to select user group and their feedback is taken into consideration to make the necessary changes. Open Beta is either large group or a product which is open to public letting them know that this is a beta version and they are likely to see some bugs and issues which they should immediately report to the development organisation which will act on the same.

At this stage, the product is identified as Release Candidate (RC) and the Development team ensures that there are no ‘show stoppers’ or ‘critical errors’. It is also agreed that entirely new functionality will not be added beyond this stage and everyone in the team will focus on making a ‘stable release’ with the agreed features. All feedback obtained during Beta phase is analysed and proper steps are taken to make the product more user-friendly, bug-free and stable with all intended functionality properly functional. Now the product is ready to be released in the market.

Professional Beta Testers are required in all field and this can be considered as a Career Opportunity. Beta Testers in Mobile Apps, Public use Desktop Applications and Mobile Games are in good demand. This has a potential to turn into a Small Business.

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