The importance of alpha- and beta testing prior to software release
Kirjoittanut: Sanni Salokangas - tiimistä Kaaos.
Prior to launching a software, it must go under major stress where the software is tested from all possible angles. The developer team needs to make sure that every technical detail is working properly, and the model runs smoothly. A software launched to the public too quickly and not meeting the audience’s expectations, faces bugs and glitches or just isn’t what was promised, will the product owner meets major repercussions. Therefore, the operating system needs to go under loads of testing, including alpha and beta testing. These processes prepare the software for external use, successfully. This article has been written with the help of OpenAI’s feature ChatGPT.
What is alpha testing?
Alpha testing is usually the first stage of software testing. It’s typically done within the organisation and by the development team or specialised testing team. In alpha phase, testing is done in controlled environment, often in a lab or development environment. It aims to find any issues with the software, including crashes, compatibility issues and bugs with different systems like APIs, for example. The primary goal of alpha testing is to identify issues and fix them prior to moving to the next testing phase that is beta testing.
Why is this phase necessary?
Alpha testing has many advantages to it. It’s usually crucial in a software’s lifespan and to make sure the release of the software goes smoothly. To start off, alpha phase enables developers or testers to identify and fix issues in an early stage of the software’s life. Quick iteration and problem-solving saves the company huge amounts of money as problems are detected before using more of the company’s assets like cash or workforce. In addition, testing done in-house is cost-effective.
Secondly, feedback from users within the organisation helps to enhance the product’s quality and ways it meets intended audience’s needs. On top of this, when alpha testing is done in controlled environment, potential issues, bugs or interfacing problems are detected before they cause any harm. Devs can also simulate multiple scenarios to prepare for any issues faced in beta testing phase.
What is beta testing?
Next testing phase to make sure the software runs properly, is the beta testing. In this phase, the software is released to a larger group of testers outside of the development team. This is when the product is tested in real-world environment for the first time. The users can come within the organisation or outside of it, but main point is usually to test how the software works in their lives, from the user’s own device. Beta testing aims to identify the remaining issues that weren’t possible to detect during alpha and to gather more feedback from a broader range of users.
Beta testing allows for a more realistic assessment of the software’s performance and usability. Therefore, it may improve user engagement and the overall satisfaction of the product prior to the official release. The testing can be conducted in a closed or open format, whereas closed format includes a specific group of users and open format is available to the public.
Benefits of beta testing
Like said, testing the software in real world environment provides an opportunity to identify and fix al the remaining issues and bugs that were not detected in previous testing round. Furthermore, what separates good software from an average one is how it replies to feedback. Beta testing allows developers to gather crucial feedback that may end up being the factor whether the software will see success or not.
Another benefit is the enhanced user engagement: Consumers can give feedback but also suggest new features and share their experience with the software. This creates a sense of community and in addition, is more cost-efficient than a dedicated testing team. Most importantly, well-done beta testing might give a competitive edge as the consumer’s needs are discovered, tried and tested. This way the product is more reliable, user-friendly and free of issues resulting in customer satisfaction and better engagement.
To conclude, a software company should never skip the testing part prior to software or feature launch. To prioritise customer satisfaction is to test and drive the product, receive and take feedback to practice and to make sure that the software runs smoothly.
Sanni Salokangas and Ms. ChatGPT