Why Crowdtesting is Becoming Even More Crucial In Today's Growing World of Technology
The spectrum and the number of mobile services and applications are growing steadily. In particular, the UK is one of the countries to have the highest mobile take up, with 7 in 10 mobile users (71%) owning a smartphone (Ofcom, 2012). Mobile tools are available for almost every area of life. Everything at the moment is going mobile.
With over 50,000 new apps per month in the App Store, no matter what category of app it is, the functionality and ease of use are crucial for competition in order to stand out from the crowd. If the application does not immediately convince the users, we all know what happens – the app gets deleted.
However, with more than 4,000 different models of Android devices alone, how can a developer ensure all of their users hold a consistent experience with their apps and websites? With the increase of mobile devices, models, operating systems, browsers and applications - this may seem near to impossible. This can be even more of a problem, especially when a target group might be hard to access before release. Therefore, can a company really trust the reliability of internal testing alone? The lack of sufficient devices, organizational blindness and biased results, are all common problems that continue to rise within modern day testing.
What is even more surprising, is that only 31% of all businesses worldwide test their apps (World Quality Report 2012). With the increase of mobile app competition, it might be the smallest things that decide over the success or failure of an application. Furthermore, software must be tested properly on all kinds of devices. The challenge here is to raise the level of software quality even higher. For this reason, the type of testing that utilizes real people and emphasizes on a user's experience, is becoming even more crucial. As a result, this change requires new ways of testing: a relatively new method called crowdtesting, which addresses many of the challenges development teams still face today.
How Crowdtesting becomes a solution
Crowdtesting is a form of outsource testing, which is undertaken by a mass of internet users (the crowd). The crowd works on a defined problem and supports the company with its proposed solutions. This concept is used to test websites, mobile apps, games, or enterprise software in order to get rid of bugs and to optimize the user experience. This way, software can be tested under real conditions on a variety of devices by a desired target group - even before the release. Crowdtesting services can therefore meet traditional software testing methods and offer valuable results that many companies may have not had access to before.
The basic concept of crowdsourcing proposes the idea of distributing a specific problem to a certain group of people without much prior knowledge, in order to solve the task. The people involved are motivated to contribute their feedback and commitment, either through monetary or non-monetary rewards. In Europe, there are a few crowdtesting providers such as Testbirds, who have built platforms to handle crowd-based test projects for software. The range of possibilities varies from a full service functional and usability test to self-service concepts, where the provider only gives access to its platform and crowd.
Benefits of Crowdtesting
The most obvious benefits of crowdtesting are given by the fact that the crowd consists of real users who test software flexibly, which means they are available on demand. Consumers can also reflect reality better than traditional in-house testing methods. Therefore usability feedback is more authentic, which can be positively applied when ensuring websites and apps are tailored to end-users. Particularly when considering a competitive market.
In addition, the crowd has various combinations of devices, operating systems and browsers already at hand, which would be almost impossible to simulate or to supply for an internal lab. This large pool of thousands of different testers allows the selection of specific target groups, as well as recreational testers or even certified testers. Since the testing process is fast and flexible in itself, it can be integrated into existing release cycles and identified shortcomings can be corrected immediately. Ideally, software should be tested before release to ensure bugs and errors are diminished before the website or app is live. Crowdtesting allows testing in different stages of the development, ranging from the evaluation of prototypes to a final check at the end of the beta-phase. Both aspects, the availability of real users and devices, allow for a significant reduction in development costs. As a result, the quality of the software increases while giving the client more internal resources for further development.
With the Christmas period approaching and finishing so quickly, it is not surprising that the British averagely spend more online that any other nation in the world especially in the festive season. With a total online web spending of £74.3billion in 2012 and a 10% rise each year (Ofcom, 2012). This makes it even more of a necessity that websites and mobile apps are fully functioning in this technology focused world. In particular, the checkout process for e-commerce sites is a necessity to be functional in order to avoid the loss against competition. The crowdtesting provider Testbirds, aims to support the future of apps and websites during the Christmas period and New Year, by focusing on what really matters – the user experience.
Image source: http://opensignal.com/reports/fragmentation-2013/