So you’ve finally got a working app, congratulations! You may be eagerly looking forward to releasing it into the wild and seeing how your audience responds to all your hard work, but hold on: you don’t want to rush to release.
Beta testing before release is an essential stage of app development. It fine-tunes all the elements you may not have caught during development and makes your app into the best it could possibly be. Make sure you do your beta testing right by planning your testing stage as carefully as your development stage.
What Kind Of Tester?
Testing is not a singular tactic, you test to satisfy a particular goal. As a result, there’s not a singular type of tester, depending on what you want to achieve you will have to carefully pick who will carry out your testing.
Broadly, these can be broken down into two categories: technical and marketing testers. The former help you find any problems in your app, including bugs and inefficient features. Technical testers should be within your target market, but also should be technically minded enough to test the limits of your app in ways you might not expect and provide feedback you can incorporate into development. Marketing testers are those who will share their experience with your app with others, thus increasing your brand reach. These might be influencers or perhaps early adopters.
How Many Testers?
Once you know who will be testing your app you can think about how many testers you want to involve. When it comes to marketing testers, for example, exclusivity is part of the draw, so opening up your beta to too many users will dilute the experience. Similarly, having too many technical testers will result in mountains of feedback that will be too hard to analyze and implement effectively.
Then again, no matter what you’re testing for, you don’t want to go with too few testers. In order to get a significant but manageable level of feedback and marketing buzz, a few hundred testers is a good number. Any less than 100 and the data becomes too impartial to make a real difference, any more than 300 is difficult to manage.
How Long Will You Test?
Much like the number of testers, there is a Goldilocks zone for how long your testing should take. On the one hand, it can be easy to rush through your testing phase in order to get your app out to market; after all, you’ve spent so long developing it, there can’t be that much wrong with it, right?
On the other hand, you could be caught up in perfecting every little detail that you never leave your testing period. Of course, the goal of your testing is to find ways to improve your app, but it’s also to get your app in a ready state for launch. There is no right answer to how long a testing phase will be as it depends on your unique goals, resources, and production schedule, but try to be conscious not to rush through or to languish too long.
Getting Your App To Your Testers
There are a number of ways to find testing candidates. When it comes to technical testing, platforms like Erli Bird, BetaTesters or BetaList are dedicated platforms to connect with seasoned testers. If you want a more casual approach, the subreddit r/TestMyApp is a great way to find eager early adopters.
Once you’ve found your testers, there are various platforms to distribute your beta app. App distribution platforms like Google Play Console or AppBlade are your best bet, and there are many out there to choose from depending on your needs.
Engage With Your Testers
Testing your app isn’t as simple as sending out the beta and waiting for responses. The best testing engages with your testers on a regular basis by asking for and visibly using their feedback. This doesn’t mean taking on every piece of advice they give you, but it does mean considering everything and not dismissing anything out of hand.
You may also find incentivizing your testers a great way to keep them continually engaged over longer testing periods. Even the most exciting testers will lose motivation over time, so it helps to offer in-app items or free premium features in exchange for feedback and bug testing.
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