How to find Beta Testers

Discussion in 'Internet Marketing Discussion Forum' started by Tania Shipman, Feb 22, 2014.

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Who would you use for Beta Testing?

  1. 1. You and your developer

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. 2. Friends and family

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. 3. Run a competition

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. 4. Purchasers of your software

    3 vote(s)
    50.0%
  5. 5. The same people always asking for improvements

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
  6. 6. Pay for Beta Testing

    1 vote(s)
    16.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Tania Shipman

    Tania Shipman Well-Known Member

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    You had your idea, you found a developer and your product is ready to launch.

    In my previous post I wrote about why Beta Testing is Essential.

    In this post, I'm going to suggest how you find your beta testers.

    1. You can't do it and neither can your developer.

    I'll repeat that. You can't do it and neither can your developer.

    You are alpha testers. You had the idea, the developer created it and you know it inside and out. That blinds you to many issues or bugs because you know it works, you know what it's supposed to do and you use it correctly.

    Just as they say a lawyer should never defend himself, the owner/developer should never beta test their software.

    2. Family and friends

    Yes you can use family and friends. If they know about your software and you are confident they will try their best to break it and tell you it's every fault, you can use family and friends.

    Pros

    They are usually free, are close by so you can hassle them in person for results and you know them intimately.

    Cons

    They may not be computer literate, don't want to offend you by telling you your product sucks, or are afraid if they are honest you might get mad at them and have a fight about it at Aunt June's next party....

    3. You can run a competition

    This is a great way to get beta testers. I started Beta Testing for Andy Bailey because he ran a contest. It wasn't just picking names out of a hat, we had to comment on why we wanted to and what we could bring if we were selected.

    Pros

    It provides free beta testers. It also generates interest in the product you are developing because everyone who didn't win wants to get it when it comes out.

    Cons

    Just because someone says they will beta test doesn't mean they will do it. Timing is everything, if you have a product due out in 2 weeks and your 'gung ho' testers aren't able to spend time on it for 3 weeks, you are out of luck. Also, some people will say anything to get free access to a product (I know it's shocking to say this - but it is true o.o)

    4. People who purchased your software already

    These are people who are already using software you have created or had developed. They know your products, they know you and given the chance to test your new software for free, they will jump on board.

    Pros

    Free testers who trust you and know the sort of products you create. Given a good enough deal, they will test your product as much as they can.

    Cons

    The same as in 3.

    5. The same people always asking for improvements

    If you are getting emails or requests in FB pages from the same people asking for continual improvements and updates, they may be excellent beta testers. Get in contact with them for your latest updates or your new product and see if they will become a beta tester for you.

    Pros

    They are already thinking of improvements and how to make things better. They have approached you, rather then the other way around so they are proactive.

    Cons

    Just because they ask for things, they aren't always willing to do anything to help you get it done. They may take the free product access you give them, but won't do the work to make sure your product is beta tested.

    This was how I started beta testing for Hugh Hitchcock. I bought his ICC Pro and started suggesting improvements.

    All of the above suggestions are for free beta testers.

    When you are starting out, that's the best way to go. You do have to do more work, keep an eye on results and really hope that you will get good beta testers who will do the job you need done.

    As you find good beta testers, keep them and reward them for what they do.

    The final source of beta testers is to pay someone to do it.

    6. Pay for Beta Testing

    Paying for beta testing means that it's a service. You have paid for results, in a time frame agreed upon and with possible follow up services depending on what's found and what happens.

    Pros

    You are paying for a service and will get what you paid for. You know when the results will be handed over and can expect that you will receive reports, screen shots or videos showing bugs/ issues found.

    Cons

    You are paying for a service, it's not free. You have to find a beta tester you trust and who charges in your price range.

    With 6 possible ways to find beta testers, you should know how to find beta testers and what you can expect from each group.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  2. Sherry Fields

    Sherry Fields VIP Member Staff Member

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    Thank you Tania I agree whole heartedly with beta testing but not yourself or your developer. It is much the same as a product that is written or audio or video, you are so vested in the product itself of course it has to be wonderful! :p

    Outlining the pros and cons of the various ways to get it done is super valuable. I would never have thought of having a contest that seems like a real option. Family, not so much ... apart from everything you have said it could be quite different ... like having a son that is a computer whiz, writes programs and software in his sleep ... nothing would ever be quite good enough ... you just need to tweak this here, adjust that there ... and then - I think you get the picture :D

    Great food for thought!
     
    #2
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  3. Tania Shipman

    Tania Shipman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Sherry - glad I could give you some ideas. I really hope no one does beta testing themselves. It just doesn't work. There is always something they are too blind to see.

    The competition is a great way to find beta testers. Just remember the cons with that but as I started beta testing that way I can recommend it.

    I agree, it's exactly the same with a written product.

    I've done proof reading for published authors for years. Something as silly as the author changed the name from Tom to Harry and then missing it in a few times in the book just throws a reader out of the story.

    Glad I provided some thinking food.
     
    #3
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  4. David Taylor

    David Taylor Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting Tania Shipman and I agree that product creators should not test their own products. I thought I had done it well but when I handed it over to an impartial tester, she did all sorts of things I had not considered would happen.

    I couldn't give it to my family or friends because they would look at me as if I had just asked them to explain quantum theory to me.

    Thanks for another useful article.

    All the best,

    David
     
    #4
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  5. Tania Shipman

    Tania Shipman Well-Known Member

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    Hi David Taylor, great to hear your story about getting someone independent to test it.

    What seems 'sooo' obvious to you, is just not to ordinary customers.

    Did she suggest improvements or just check what did and didn't work for her?

    I don't really recommend getting family or friends to test, but it has happened. Like you said, you usually spend more time trying to explain what a 'seo' or a 'fb api' is then in getting any valuable testing done.
     
    #5
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  6. David Taylor

    David Taylor Well-Known Member

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    Hi Tanya,

    She actually just started hitting buttons randomly to see what would happen, 'forgetting' to enter details in a field or two, 'forgetting' to add http:// to a URL and so on. I had made the mistake of thinking my software would be used by people who had the same understanding as I had. She was able to suspend her intelligence for a while and give me some great ideas for plugging potential gaps
     
    #6
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  7. Tania Shipman

    Tania Shipman Well-Known Member

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    haha David Taylor , looks like she and I have the same way of testing.

    When I get asked to test, I prefer to get a very brief video from the developer explaining it should do this. Jing video is good because it makes them keep it to 5 minutes (my guess for how long most customers will look at training when they start)

    Then I just start pushing everything. If it says New - I click the button. I go out of order of the tabs - what happens if I go to the end and work back, ooh shiny buttons can I press them and so on.

    It's really fun to destroy what someone else has worked so hard on, however each time, they have ended up with a MUCH better, able to withstand most customers, easier to use piece of software :D

    I love my job!
     
    #7
  8. Lisa Allen

    Lisa Allen Member

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    Lol, great article, and great ideas for finding people to test for you.

    I worked in software development for a while and there was one person on our QA department we all just HATED because she was exactly like that..

    She would do things no sane person would try and submit a flurry of very strange "bugs" during the final launch week of a project when everyone was exhausted and doing overtime anyway.

    You're wicked Tania ;)
     
    #8
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  9. Tania Shipman

    Tania Shipman Well-Known Member

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    Wicked and Insane - I didn't realise you knew me so well, Lisa Allen

    Hehe, I love beta testing :)
     
    #9

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