Difference between beta testing and alpha testing
Software testing a product before it's available to the public is crucial because it helps you identify and address issues. The development process has two types of testing: alpha testing vs. beta testing.
Alpha testing comes first and uses an internal testing team. This initial testing phase validates the features and functionalities of software or applications.
When developing software, you have an internal team that conducts tests to make sure the features work properly. Then, once alpha tests are complete and any issues are resolved, you move on to beta testing, which focuses on how the product is used.
Beta testing is similar to usability testing. However, instead of measuring how easy a product is to use, it determines if/how people will use it.
Where alpha testing aims to test an app's functionality, beta testing tests the validity and reliability of the product. While eliminating either alpha or beta testing might seem more cost and time efficient, both serve different purposes. For instance, you might use alpha and beta API testing to ensure the software is working as intended.
Alpha testing is more efficient because the product is still in development so you can quickly resolve issues. Resolving issues after beta testing can be more time-consuming because the app is technically completed.
Types of beta testing
There are three types of beta testing, all of which can be used to improve applications and software before they're publicly available.
Closed beta testing
Closed beta tests allow you to release the software to a select group of end users to test its features. Many application developers use this type of testing because there's a limited number of testers, so user feedback is easier to manage.
Unfortunately, closed beta testing also means that there's less feedback. This means that when the product is finally released, users may find other problems you'll have to resolve as quickly as possible.
Open beta testing
Open beta testing is open, meaning there's no limit on the number of testers used. Instead, it's completely open to the public.
Open beta testing is typically performed when users already have software and developers are designing an update, allowing them to collect feedback while the product is still in development.
Focused beta testing
Focused beta testing can be open or closed and exists only to get feedback on a specific feature or functionality of an application. For example, if you're testing a marketplace app, focused beta testing might focus on the checkout process.
Focused beta testing is typically used with existing software when new features are added or released. Users will still have access to the software, but a new feature might be added, allowing them to use the beta version.
When should you conduct beta testing?
In general, beta testing happens after issues from alpha testing are resolved because it allows you to gain feedback from end users directly. However, there are other circumstances when you might conduct beta testing, such as:
Collecting data about users
You can conduct beta testing to collect data about users to help you effectively target your products. During beta testing, you can gather qualitative and quantitative data about your users, their usage patterns, behaviors, and so forth.
Testing new features
Beta testing doesn't end when your product becomes publicly available. Instead, you might want to improve your product by adding new features. Any time you add new features to an application, you can use beta testing to gather feedback and improve upon it.
Businesses can perform beta testing to determine when to push your application live and make it publicly accessible. If the product is likely to have bugs, you can use beta testing to gather feedback and determine how long it will take to resolve the issues before it can be released to end users.
Validating new products
Beta tests should always be done to validate new applications and software before you put them on the market. Is there a need for your software? Beta testing can tell you how likely apps are to be downloaded by your target market.
For instance, you might create an app to supplement your financial trading software. Beta testing helps you determine whether customers would use the app before you spend any more time or money on it.
Beta testing can also be used to help you determine how to price your products based on customer feedback. After beta testing, you can ask users to fill out a survey about the likelihood of them purchasing it for a specific price.