You’ve spent months developing your software, and now it’s time to put your hard work into the hands of potential users and customers. Beta testing is a critical part of the app development process and should not be overlooked: it reduces the risk of product failure, helps detect bugs that your development team overlooked, and can improve product quality, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates when your app officially launches to the public.
We’ve rounded up some useful tips and tricks on running an app beta testing program…
Know what you want from your beta
There’s no point in launching a beta testing program without identifying your goals. Do you want feedback from users? Validation that your app works as intended and appeals to your core demographic? Do you have specific metrics that you want to monitor and hit before you move into the next phase of testing and development? Clearly outline your plan and consider things such as net promoter scores and survey responses to gauge successes and failures.
Understand your audience
Once you have an end goal in mind, it’s time to define your beta testers. It’s recommended to keep your sample size small to avoid overextending yourself. Anywhere from 20 to 200 people should give you the metrics you need to make the right decisions. Consider location when selecting testers – if your app will launch in multiple markets, make sure you have all of the bases covered to stress-test data centres and localisation. It’s also worth thinking about your app’s functionality. Will every user be using every piece of functionality of your app? If not, can you segment those audiences and ensure each is represented in a beta test?
It’s also worth thinking about the average customer journey. Will app users be familiar with your brand and products/services? Are they coming to your app as new customers? Having a mix of the two, where relevant, makes sense both to test your onboarding process for new customers and to ensure they don’t bring their biases to the app beta testing program.
Think about distribution
Next up, clearly define a strategy for distributing your app to beta testers. For web-based apps, you can use password-protected websites, whereas, for mobile apps, you’ll need to use tools like TestFlight for iOS. On Android, you might be able to send your users APKs directly to their devices. Bear in mind that there’s often an approval process when sending beta apps to APK managers on iOS and Android; factor this into the development timeline.
Define your team’s roles
Before rolling out your beta test, it’s important to align your developers and marketing team and ensure everyone has a defined role. A Product Manager, for example, will be in charge of the app and can determine the functionality available for testing. Researchers can create surveys and collate feedback, whilst Customer Representatives can manage the relationship with beta testers and ensure they’re engaged and involved throughout the process. If you clearly outline the role and responsibilities of each member, the program will run smoothly.
Set expectations with beta testers
Whether you’ve invited existing customers to beta test your software or paying users for their time, it’s important to set out expectations from day one. You might ask your beta testers to sign a non-disclosure agreement and then give them a product demo in the form of a video to outline how the app works and where functionality can be found. A product feature sheet could also be used to offer a summary of the tools and functionality available within the app, and a known bug list will help users understand they’re not testing perfect software and that you’re aware of specific issues. It will also make additional issues easier to identify and fix.
Collect feedback right away
Don’t wait for your app beta test to end before you start collecting and collating feedback: do it right away. Make sure users can easily report issues and make suggestions and review this from day one of your beta test. You can work with your research team to create surveys and follow up with users when new functionality is introduced. Adding a feedback button or link within the app that pre-populates troubleshooting information like time stamps, device type, and operating system can speed up the process and ensure vital issues are resolved.
Depending on the size and scope of your beta test, you could also consider speaking directly with your beta testers. Having an informal chat about the software over Zoom or face-to-face can help collect additional insights and get into the mindset of your average user. You’ll likely identify additional sticking points or challenges that can be resolved with your developers.
As soon as you’ve collected feedback, use it to prioritise features and bug fixes, and create a roadmap of changes so your beta testers feel valued and involved. You may choose to refine your communication and marketing materials based on feedback, and you might want to take a look at your user manual and fine-tune it to respond to feedback or common issues.
Reward loyal beta testers
See also: How to reward your app beta testers
Your beta testers have given up their time to test your software for free, so it’s vital that you acknowledge them to foster brand loyalty. Offering testers incentives such as exclusive app access, ‘tester’ badges or gift vouchers can be a good way to give back, and keeping them updated throughout the process is advisable. Share your excitement and enthusiasm with them – early adopters will likely fly the flag for your app when it officially launches, so be sure to keep them updated via email newsletters and let them know when your app arrives.
If you’re looking for support with mobile app development, reach out to the team at Zudu.