What Is Beta Testing In Software Development?
Once the software is completely developed according to the programmers, the software is sent for testing to check if it meets all the requirements and is built as desired?’. Testing also involves a lot of stages, like unit testing, system testing.
In the end, when the software is just about to release, the User Acceptance Testing is performed. The UAT is performed either by the users, clients or the customers to validate ‘if it satisfies the expectations from the software?’. There are two types of UAT:
- Alpha Testing
- Beta Testing
On one hand, where Alpha Testing is performed in the QA environment, which is like a mirror image of the user environment, while on the other hand, Beta testing is performed in the real user environment.
What is Beta Testing?
Beta Testing is performed on the product by the real user to have an idea ‘if they find the product useful and are satisfied with it or not?’ The development team cannot have any involvement in the execution of the test.
It’s the user’s wish to operate the software the way they want. It is a complete Black Box testing where the tester has no information about the internal structure of the software. The user based on his experience can provide feedback or suggestions to the developer. They can also report the malfunctioning in the software.
Image Source: Professional QA
All this data will be valuable in improving the quality of the software. Since the product is intended to be used by the user, it’s a major advantage if the user’s opinion can also be considered in the final product. Even, this way of requesting customer’s feedback is a cost-effective option than any other way.
How to perform Beta Testing?
For performing Beta Testing, the beta version or the trial version of the product is made available to the end-user for downloading and installing at their place. The user operates the software to perform the expected tasks. After the user is satisfied with the product, then the user can purchase the final product.
And in case, if some issues are encountered in the software, they can be reported to the developer for corrective actions. Then it depends upon the developer ‘if they find the issue important enough to make any correction or not?’. In case any critical defect is reported, which impacts the product significantly, then the final release may also be delayed.
Image Source: QA Touch
Benefits of Beta Testing
1. It helps in discovering the bugs that were not encountered during the testing of the software at the developer’s end. The real user environment always exposes some of the weaknesses in the software that were hidden in the development environment.
2. The suggestions and feedback from the end-user allow the development team to find the scope of improvement in the product for the next version.
3. Since, the Beta test gives an idea to the customer about the response of the users toward the product and it’s performance after release through their feedback, so they feel satisfied.
4. After getting executed by the end-user in the real environment exposes almost all the risks that might lead to failure in the software and are already fixed before the final launch. Hence, the developers are relieved about any failure risk.
5. Since, the inputs from the end-user are also considered in building the final product, so it improves the relationship between the developers and the users by communication through feedback.
Drawbacks of Beta Testing
1. The major disadvantage of Beta testing is that all the feedback provided by the end-users are not valuable and it’s hard to find the feedback that can help in improving the productivity and quality of the software.
2. It is also very difficult to manage the testing.
3. Finding the most appropriate beta testers is also not easy. The client expects the product to be operated by the user who can use the software properly and judge the performance of the software and can provide effective feedback.
4. The owner and development team can have no control over how the product has been tested?’. It depends upon the wish of the user, how they want to operate the product. No fixed steps are followed.
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Difference between Alpha Testing and Beta Testing
|Alpha Testing||Beta Testing|
|It is conducted before the software is submitted to the client for release.||It is conducted when the software is available to be used by the user.|
|It is performed in the virtual environment created to enact real-world operation of the software.||It is performed in the real world by the real user, exactly the way it would have to work after the final release.|
|The main focus of Alpha testing is on finding the bugs in the application.||The main focus of Beta Testing is on collecting feedback and suggestions from the customers to be implemented on the final launch.|
|Testing engineers are responsible for performing this testing.||End users or customers are responsible for performing this testing.|
|Alpha testing involves both black box testing and white box testing, which means that the tester has access to both the functionality and the program of the software.||Beta testing only involves black box testing, since the end-user is not allowed to have access to the internal structure of the software. The user is only concerned about the functionality of the software.|
|This testing is not mainly concerned with reliability and security testing.||The end-user tests the reliability and the security of the software in this testing.|
|It evaluates the quality of the software, in terms of accomplishing everything planned at the beginning of the software.||It provides the data that ‘whether the customer or end-user is satisfied and having a good experience while operating the end product or not?|
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Beta Testing provides an opportunity to receive user feedback and suggestions before making the product available for all the users. So that the ability of the software to work properly in the real-world scenario can be tested and necessary changes can be made if required. If everything goes well, then the product is made available to be consumed.