August 17, 2017
Before a feature is released to the public, it goes through a real-life testing process called Beta testing. This is when the feature is entrusted to a client who sets it up, tries it out, and gives us crucial feedback to iron out any kinks.While of course we aren’t the only company to put our products through this process, we do have a unique criteria, a profile if you will, that we look for in our testers. The choice must be strategic so that the testing process equally benefits both parties. Plus their suggestions will impact how everyone uses the feature.Here is what we look for in a Beta tester…
If we can be candid, we already know our clients need the feature. That’s why we developed it. But in testing, a client’s enthusiasm needs to span beyond it’s-about-time-excited. We want someone loyal enough to the product to recognize how much T.L.C. went into making their events, donations, and work life better.And while that might sound like we’ve been sippin’ the kool aid to some, we’ve come to recognize how much a person’s attitude impacts their ability to evaluate. If they’re excited about the product, their feedback (positive or negative) is going to make it better.
Flexibility is absolutely crucial to the process. Something is bound to come up. Our testers have the time and willingness to adapt when it does.From the company side, we try to protect our testers by starting them out small. The ideal size event to test a feature is 500 registrants or less, ideally in the 200-300 range. That way, if something goes wrong, or if the feature is found to be lacking in some way, it’s still possible to manage the event successfully from both sides of the table.
Our ideal tester has great attention to detail. We need them to notice everything from trainwrecks to typos. While we don’t always implement all the suggestions, we do notate each one for reference.Being detailed and organized go hand in hand. Because it’s so important that the tester takes the time to provide feedback when the event is over, we keep an eye out for someone organized enough to do so.
Creativity is an important ingredient for our beta tester. They need to attempt to use the feature in ways unique to them. We put our features through the ringer but our best beta testers push the limits, do things outside of the box and truly challenge the design.This creativity and ability to challenge the design of a feature increases the chances of testing most unique cases that are bound to come up when the feature is released to the public.
While we do our due diligence of combing through and testing the feature over and over again, being a beta tester can sometimes be a treasure hunt to find the little nuggets we missed.When you happen to find these babies, we appreciate nothing more than patience and grace. Instead of finding it frustrating we love it when beta clients see it as fun and a game when they find quirks in the system. This can help keep everyone.