Beta testing is providing by real users with the opportunity to test a software product in real conditions to detect bugs, flaws, and problems that can be solved before the official release of the product. The main goal and beta testing meaning is to find as many bugs and vulnerabilities as possible, fix them, and make the final version stable and reliable.
Beta Testing definition includes open and closed tests. In the case of closed testing, users can get access to the presale version of a product or website in different ways:
- It is distributed to existing customers or users of the previous version.
- It is open to a strictly limited number of paid beta testers.
- Some users of online products are redirected to a beta site or service.
- Open beta testing is publicly available, and everyone can take part in it by downloading the software to their desktop/smartphone or using the appropriate online resources.
Different Types of Beta Testing
There are different types of beta testing, with their own tasks and goals, but all of them are aimed at comprehensive improvement of the product before the release of its final version. Typically, in the field of software testing, the following types of testing are defined:
- Traditional. The one in which updates or a finished product are offered to the consumer, and then, the user experience is analyzed in all possible aspects.
- Public. The company that creates software, provides it to everyone and collects feedback.
- Technical. Access to the product is open only to employees of a particular company. Their feedback and experience will inform future fixes and improvements.
- Target. In this case, developers are not interested in all aspects in general but only in the performance of specific updates or functions.
Another type of beta testing is post-release. After a product is released, developers continue to collect bugs, vulnerabilities, and suggestions for expanding functionality or major improvements. The company that released the product analyzes the received data, fixes errors, or brings more functionality to users, but it does this as a separate version of the product. During this period, data received from end-users and the analysis collected by the team with special beta tests apps are used.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Beta Testing
We have already figured out how and why beta testing is carried out. It remains to dwell in more detail on the advantages of beta testing and its possible disadvantages.
- Developers get the opportunity to improve the quality and infrastructure of the product before the final launch.
- The possibility to reduce the risk of a customer abandoning a product after it has been verified.
- Beta testing improves customer loyalty through adequate feedback.
- If there are too many errors, it is difficult to organize them, especially since error messages are received irregularly.
- An excessive number of bugs in a product can result in negative ads and create the impression that it is “raw,” too problematic, unreliable, and vulnerable.
- Users test software on different devices, which is impossible to track. Moreover, the scope of the product is a factor that is outside the control of the development team.
Nevertheless, this is the best way to make any software more high-quality, safer, and more stable. Therefore, even taking into account all the disadvantages of beta testing, without this stage, there is no launch of any product that is going to take a decent and solid position on the market.