Beta testing is one customer validation methodology that evaluates customer satisfaction with a release by running the test on real end-users with the aim to improve the user experience.
Therefore, beta testing is conducted in a production environment on users or customers external to the company to observe how they interact with the new software before going ahead with the final release.
During a beta test phase, the security, robustness and reliability of the software are checked.
When and how is it implemented?
Beta testing is usually conducted after alpha testing, when the software is tested on internal users, but just before doing a full release to the market. This means at the point beta testing is done, the product’s beta version is nearly complete and close enough to the final product.
There are many ways to implement beta testing. You may choose to go for an open beta test. In this option, any user can use the beta version; users are given a clear indication that this is a beta test so they know the release is a work-in-progress.
You may also choose to do a closed beta test. In this scenario, you specifically choose the user that will test the beta version of your product so it would be by invite-only.
For example, many companies choose a group of users to get early access to the release. This has the advantage that these users know they were chosen specifically to test your product so it helps build close relationships with them as it demonstrates that you value their opinion. This, in turn, will motivate them to provide you with the kind of feedback you need to optimize your product.
Beta tests are performed through black box techniques, which tests the functionalities of the software. Black box testing mainly focuses on the input and output of software applications.
Pros and cons of beta testing
Beta testing has a number of advantages among which includes the collection of valuable feedback, which is usually incorporated into future releases of the product.
Beta testing represents the first real chance of putting your software in the hand of end-users to see how it behaves in real-world settings. Thus, the main focus of this testing is customer satisfaction.
This allows you to determine if there are any bugs or performance issues that you may have missed in the previous rounds of testing since the software is released in a less controlled production environment.
This may also be seen as a disadvantage since you’re testing in production so you would have less control over whatever issues that come up as opposed to previous tests done in staging environments which are easier to control.
Another downside to beta testing is that it may be time consuming as teams attempt to find the right beta users and maintain their participation throughout the beta test phase. Consequently, this may delay the final release of the software to the market.
Beta testing is a great way to generate a large amount of feedback and useful information which could be difficult to obtain in highly controlled lab environments.
Product teams can also test out their ideas to see how users respond to it before deciding whether to go ahead with a full release and they can, in turn, collect fresh new ideas from the feedback generated so they may be implemented in future releases.
Most importantly, this type of testing is the final round of testing to ensure that your product is ready for real time users. This way, product failure risk is minimized.
Therefore, beta testing is an essential part of the software development life cycle to create products with a smooth user experience.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be considered an editorial endorsement