Want bug-free software? Crowdtesting is the answer

Crowdtesting supports quality assurance

What is crowdtesting?

During crowdtesting, software applications such as apps, games and programs are distributed to a large group of testers for their use and evaluation. The main focus is on finding bugs. Crowdtester feedback can then help to optimize the software before it is launched or the tested patch is deployed. The software is made available to the crowdtesters online.

Crowdtesting is becoming an increasingly important element of quality assurance processes. The method has been in professional use since 2010 and is now more current than ever, given sharply increased customer demand for digital applications in recent years. Generations Z and Alpha have grown up in a tech world and can be easily deterred by buggy programming, ultimately taking their custom elsewhere. By using crowdtesting to test software at scale, companies can improve their reputation and customer retention.

Software testing is a cinch with crowdtesting providers

Various companies offer platforms for conducting crowdtesting as part of quality assurance or for market analysis. Various criteria must be considered when selecting a provider, such as the size of the community and its composition. The communication interfaces are always online: the client communicates with the provider via the Internet, just as the provider communicates with the crowd.

The benefits of crowdtesting

There are various benefits to crowdtesting:

  • Broad device coverage: Extensive testing is needed to ensure that software runs effectively for all users with every conceivable combination of device, software and operating system. Crowdtesting harnesses the efficiency of the crowd by covering all eventualities.
  • Cost savings: Crowdtesters use many different devices, so none have to be provided. This means that there are no acquisition or maintenance costs. As crowdtesting is outsourced, software tests do not tie up internal resources.
  • Flexibility: Crowdtesting can be conducted at any stage of software development, although it is not necessarily suitable in every phase. It provides useful support during debugging. It can also be used for usability testing. Depending on what is provided, the testing can be performed anywhere and at any time. Test conditions can be individually adapted. In exploratory testing, there are no constraints placed on the community. However, it can be useful to establish clearly defined rules with other test models.
  • Real-world market conditions: Crowdtesters bring an unbiased view. They may use the software from anywhere and at any time, thus reflecting a wide range of users.
  • Good and fast feedback: Bugs found and user issues are reported on a crowdtesting template. Video recordings are sometimes included to help illustrate problems. Depending on the platform used, testers can be contacted via chat or comment features. Immediate feedback allows the software to be tweaked even during the testing phase.

Who decides to become a crowdtester?

Crowdtesting is a sideline for many. In most cases, testers are paid according to the flaws discovered. The more bugs found, the more they earn. Testers use their everyday devices and test whenever suits them best – perhaps over their morning coffee, while commuting to work on the train or before turning off the light at night. This results in mostly genuine and realistic results for software developers.

Choosing the right crowdsourced testing company

Of course, companies may also organize the testing of new software at scale themselves. But it takes time to set up infrastructure and build the network needed. This ties up resources, leading to high costs. If looking to attract new target groups, a company’s established community may no longer be the right fit and have to be extended. Last but not least, suitable interfaces are needed in order to distribute the software and get feedback. A crowdtesting provider takes care of all of this and acts as an intermediary between the company and testers.

Start-ups, in particular, often lack deep pockets and personnel resources. In the early stages, the right tools can be indispensable. This also applies to crowdtesting, which offers a good and cost-effective way to thoroughly test software in advance. Before selecting a crowdtesting provider, first take a look at your target group and consider the criteria that your crowd must fulfill. If your applications are intended for an exotic market, your provider should have testers there. However, a different provider may be better if your offering is focused on German-speaking countries. In any case, look to establish a long-term relationship so that you don’t have to go through the provider selection process every time you want to test.

We have taken a closer look at some of the leading crowdsourced testing companies and clearly summarized the pros and cons.

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Katja Kaltwasser
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