Crowdsourced Testing: Bringing the Human Element Into the App Development Process
Nov 28, 2022
One of the key challenges in software testing is the testing process itself. It can be very linear, with project teams following a series of predetermined steps until it’s time to analyze results. Even with automation testing, the system will run through those same steps and display its findings on a dashboard.
But another layer of testing is often necessary to truly understand the nuances of the project. Crowdsourced testing adds a human element to the software development process and can be implemented anytime during the project cycle.
A crowd tester’s real-world, unbiased feedback can present a different perspective from what might come to light through automation testing alone. In fact, automation testing and crowdsourced testing are often complementary: One helps validate the functioning of a digital product, while the other validates its more practical aspects.
Think of it as eliminating the operational unawareness that can sometimes find its way into the in-house software testing process. Project teams can get so close to a product that they fail to see its faults. Impartial feedback from a human who reflects an actual user is critical to combating this, especially in retail and e-commerce testing. A matter of seconds can mean the difference between an abandoned cart and a completed order.
The Advantages of Crowdsourced Testing
Crowdsourced testing (or crowd testing) helps project teams overcome many of the other challenges in software testing. For one, organizations don’t always have defined testing processes, which are key to successfully utilizing automated software testing solutions. Crowdsourced testing, on the other hand, requires little more than testers to gather feedback.
Employing crowd testers also enables testing from multiple locales across the world. A diverse group of testers allows the project team to capture cultural and linguistic variances that might impact customer experience (e.g., Spanish dialect differences between Spain and Mexico that change a word’s meaning depending on the region). To ensure translations are done properly, crowd testing is especially recommended for international products available in several languages.
Crowd testing also helps quality assurance teams identify issues that arise due to internet speeds, cellular networks, geolocation functionalities, different devices, and so on. Because this form of testing involves real people on real devices, it helps ensure that the mobile application, website, or digital project will behave the same across users.
Then, there’s sheer volume—coupled with speed—to consider. Organizations that employ crowd testing can test in less time and identify more issues, which can get a product to market faster.
Crowdsourced Testing in Action
Recently, a company came to us with an issue regarding its e-commerce website. Certain devices couldn’t translate the text—it’s not that the translation was incorrect; rather, the company had no means of translating the text at all.
Due to the broadness of our platform and the many devices used within the testing process, it became clear what was interfering with the experience: screen sizes. The translation button could not be displayed on the screens of all devices; therefore, it wasn’t possible to add translation to the devices.
All we needed to do was adjust the design to avoid display errors so that consumers could transact via the company’s e-commerce site.
Getting the Best Results Through Crowdsourced Testing
As with any form of testing, crowdsourced testing doesn’t always go as expected. When going this route, it’s important to take certain precautions to better ensure success. Fortunately, these precautions are relatively straightforward and easy to employ. These are the best ways to get started:
1. Commence crowdsourced testing early
Automation testing can be beneficial to the testing process, but it’s not always feasible to implement and utilize automated software testing tools until the product is complete. With crowdsourced testing, organizations can involve testers early in the software development cycle. As soon as the project team starts development, this form of testing can come into play.
Though this should go without saying, a bug costs less to fix at the beginning of software development than closer to launch. So, it’s much more cost-effective to integrate crowdsourced testing at the start of a project. What’s more, it works with all kinds of application development methods (i.e., Agile, Waterfall, and so on).
2. Define the crowd testing network
Control and selection are the two words organizations should keep in mind when using the “crowd” to test products. This isn’t to say that some products don’t benefit from the public testing their functionality, but it’s often a better option to control and be selective with the testing environment. It’s all about identifying the target markets and in which countries and languages the product will launch, as well as putting testing in the hands of a capable crowd testing network.
At CTG, we offer a vetting and selection process for identifying the testers and a management process to take charge of the team and capture feedback. It’s the only way to ensure the quality of the findings. Any company looking to crowdsource its testing should work with teams that have internal controls and quality reviews of testers—not to mention a “mature” or seasoned group of testers.
If a company wants to appeal to professional women between 35 and 55 years old, then these individuals should make up the majority of testers. Being very specific with a target audience makes sense, and using testers who mirror that target audience can offer the nuanced feedback needed to improve a product.
Companies new to testing can get a lot of value out of crowdsourced testing. The flexibility is reason enough to explore this option. Thousands of testers from around the world are available to test a product at a moment’s notice. And with that number comes a great deal of diversity and a wealth of resources. Almost any niche audience can be tested, ensuring that the product undergoes the right changes and gets to market faster.
Learn more about how CTG and StarDust CTG Group can help improve your digital products through testing—and the customer experience along with it.
As General Manager of CTG Canada, Ms. Guyot has executive responsibility for providing innovative services that help clients strategically address their business challenges, and brings broad industry, technology, and project management expertise. She is a subject matter expert in testing solutions with a track record in quality assurance, automation, and crowdsourced testing.