Why Beta Testing Matters For Your MVPby@tetianastoyko
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Why Beta Testing Matters For Your MVP

by Tetiana StoykoMay 31st, 2023
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In the most traditional SDLC (software development cycle) testing is done after the development. Beta testing is the second type of user acceptance testing. Beta testers comment on user experience, found bugs, and interact with a user interface. The MVP and Beta Phase have different purposes and stages of development.
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Imagine you are ready to publish an app to the app store or google play, all the code is written and finalized. In the most traditional SDLC (software development cycle), testing is done after the development phase.

In Agile, the app testing phase goes after coding too, but the process of development is split into sprints, so the testing is continuous. We essentially have two app testing phases: alpha and beta testing.

Alpha testing is done first with all the stakeholders (developers, QA, product team), and the goal is to find critical bugs and issues. So, what’s beta testing, and why do we have to do it before the app production?

What Is Mobile App Beta Testing?

Beta testing is the second type of user acceptance testing. Geeks for Geeks define the term: “Beta testing is the process of testing a software product or service in a real-world environment before its official release.”

In other words, a specific group of real users (beta testers) are given access to the application for a certain period. They are part of the target audience of the app and are encouraged to interact with the beta product (or beta version) and give feedback.

Beta testers comment on user experience, found bugs, and interact with a user interface.

After the mobile app beta testing, the issues are fixed by developers, and app production starts.

MVP vs Beta Phase

The MVP and Beta Phases have different purposes and stages of development. The MVP serves as an initial version of a product, with the bare minimum features needed to test its viability and gather user feedback.

It's like dipping your toes in the water to see if people are interested in the application. Let’s take, for example, a grocery delivery app's MVP, which might include functions like browsing products, adding them to the cart, and placing an order.

On the other hand, the Beta Phase comes after the MVP and brings a more advanced version of the product that's almost ready for public release. Here, the focus shifts to gathering user feedback for further improvements and fixing any bugs.

For instance, a social media platform in the Beta Phase might have features like messaging, image sharing, and comment threads, allowing users to thoroughly test the product before its official launch.

The main difference is that the MVP tests the core concept, while the Beta Phase fine-tunes and enhances the product based on user feedback.

Mobile app beta testing is important for startup MVPs too. When the MVP phase is over, the beta testing stage helps better shape the product and increase the chances of success.

Benefits of Beta Testing for Startup MVPs

Does any product need beta testers for successful release? In a rush to get the finished product and enter the market, beta testing might be superficial or lack real conditions for potential customers. Let's look at the pros we get with the beta release for startups.

  1. User Feedback: With a beta release to a select group of users, startups can gather valuable customer feedback about its functionality, usability, and overall user experience. It helps identify potential issues, understand user behavior and preferences, and make necessary fixes.
  2. Bug Identification and Fixing: Beta testers often find bugs and glitches that are missed during the internal alpha phase. This early detection allows startups to address these issues promptly and ensure a smoother and more stable product when it reaches the wider market.
  3. Product Refinement: Beta testers take part in refining the finished product based on real-world usage and the current market. Real customers (or ideal customer base) understand what actual features are useful and which ones need modifications. The iterative process helps establish basic features, adjust core features, and come up with a list of features for future updates.
  4. Customer Engagement and Loyalty: Involving active users in the beta testing phasecreates interest. Participation of the customer base contributes to the product's development and the startup's journey. Engagement can foster customer loyalty, as active users are more likely to support and advocate for a software product they helped shape.
  5. Market Validation: Beta testinghelps startups validate their product idea and market segment by observing user reactions and gauging interest and demand. Making informed decisions about pricing, business strategies, and the overall marketing direction comes from trying out software products.
  6. Competitive Advantage: If the beta testing phase is done right, startups can find and address product weaknesses or gaps in the market before their competitors. Beta testing gives them a competitive advantage in product development, letting to release a stronger finished product, potentially capturing market share more effectively.

Best Practices for Beta Testing

To answer “How to beta test apps?”, we won’t give a one-fits-all answer. However, there are some best practices for mobile app beta testing, and following them, it’s hard to miss.

  1. Make a beta test plan beforehand, and set clear objectives.
  2. Beta testers should be as close to ICP (Ideal Customers Persona) as possible.
  3. Concentrate on the target audience first but test several different groups.
  4. Include diversity when choosing beta testers.
  5. Make a detailed plan with instructions and a timeline for beta teasers.
  6. Try to give incentives to active users in the form of free service.
  7. Look for beta testers communities for quality feedback.
  8. Make the feedback as seamless as possible.
  9. Strive for a near-real-time environment to fully access capabilities.
  10. Implement a variety of continuous feedback mechanisms (not only for early adopters but also for critics).
  11. Reward beta testers for the best engagement (with recognition, cash, and discounts)

Sum Up

So, now we know that before hitting “publish an app to the app store” we have some testing stages to do.

Mobile app beta testing plays a crucial role in gathering feedback, fixing bugs, refining products, engaging customers, validating the market, and gaining a competitive advantage for startups and mature businesses.

Having doubts and questions? Feel free to consult with me.

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