How do the top brands in the world, such as Facebook and Microsoft, launch, update and wow their customers on a regular basis? Furthermore, when companies such as Dropbox or Spotify launch a new version of their app, how do they make sure that the features run exactly how they want them to? While all of these big companies have their own internal QA teams, they also leverage something relatively new: crowdsourced testing.
Crowdsourced testing benefits are plenty; it enables firms of any size to access the power of professional testers who have access to virtually unlimited devices at any time and in practically any location. These professional testers are part of a crowd which can be scaled up or down at a moment’s notice. They enable QA testing to ensure that mobile apps and websites get released with the quality needed. It boils down to delivering 3 key components: speed, quality and cost, and localized insights.
To compete in today’s global market and build brand awareness, you need to be able to get your mobile app or website out and into the public’s hands as quickly as possible. When new features are built they need to be released and iterated on at an incredibly quickening pace.
Take Facebook for example who operate by the mantra “ship early and ship twice as often”. In order to do this kind of continuous development / DevOps release approach, they need to utilize QA resources effectively and for this, they use a mixture of in-house and crowdsourced testers.
Crowdsourced testers give them the flexibility to scale up their testing efforts when needed, say for a large release, without hiring additional personnel. Any bugs that crowdsourced testers find are brought into the bug tracker system for the developers to work on as they happen.
The importance of developers getting timely and relevant bug information is crucial. As a developer finishes up a function or feature, they need to be supplied with the testing results. Preferably this is happening while the function is being completed in small chunks so that the developer does not have to switch his or her context.
Context switching for developers causes a myriad of problems but most notably impacts their time and efficiencies. Therefore, if you can get timely bug reporting in before they have to switch to another feature, then you’ve saved time for your project while keeping quality high.
Quality & Cost
Of course, one of the biggest crowdsourced testing benefits is the cost-savings over using a completely in-house approach. The cost of hiring a full-time software tester can vary greatly depending on where you hire and how experienced you need them to be.
Just the hard salary costs alone can be $50,000 per year for the US and anywhere from €30,000 to €60,000 in Europe. These hard salary costs do not include soft costs such as holiday pay, pensions and other benefits your organization might offer.
Furthermore, these costs represent only the salary costs and not the issues your organization might face when testing mobile applications and websites on different devices and operating systems. If for instance, you plan on testing on multiple devices (which is a recommendation) then you are going to need to invest in either a device lab or a virtualized environment.
There is absolutely a place and time for in-house for QA and organizations need to carefully consider how to deploy these resources for maximum efficiency. If you use crowdsourced testing, for instance, to conduct exploratory testing, results can be typically received in less than 48 hours (with some testing occurring overnight if necessary) and then in-house QA can be responsible for working directly with the development team to ensure they are fixed.
Another benefit to pairing traditional QA methods with crowdsourced testing is the ability to conduct additional testing without adding a permanent resource. This ensures that you are able to freely scale up and down as the needs of the business dictate.
As more and bigger brands begin to expand globally into new markets, a funny thing begins to happen. Traditionally, organizations have stuck with a translation-based approach that deals directly with translating a mobile app or website.
Over the years, the commoditization of translation service providers has dramatically reduced the cost of quickly translating an app or website into another language. With the advent of machine learning and AI, the ability to merely translate one language to another is quite easy. Yet, translation does not yield the results most companies and brands are after. What companies really want is localized insights.
When you release an application or website in another country or locale a few things happen. People may or may not download the application or use the website. The functionality of the application or website might be impacted by a myriad of factors outside of your control.
Certain functions within the application or website might actually impact your brand’s cultural impact to the local people. All of these factors, and many other ones as well fall under the umbrella of localized insights. Most brands truly need this information if they are to scale their applications or websites in new locales but the question remains: how?
Some of the biggest brands in the world, Facebook, Spotify, Dropbox and more use the power of localized crowdsourced testing to deliver local insights. These localized insights power their product development and are part of the reason they have been able to rapidly engage in local markets without the massive expense of having their own boots on the ground.
Through the power of crowdsourced testing, companies are able to determine quickly where their application or website needs to be revised, updated or fixed in order to avoid losing out on potential users. Crowdsourced testing delivers real users, on real devices, in the locations they need them in.
More Crowdsourced Testing Benefits
The power of mobile devices and the internet has revolutionized the very fabric of work and personal lives. To facilitate this, and for firms to grow globally, they must concentrate on delivering high-quality apps and websites at an ever-increasing speed.
By utilizing a blend of in-house QA methods and crowdsourced testing, organizations can leverage speed, quality, and localized insights to keep one step ahead of their competition.
Nick Roberts is the Head of Marketing and Research for Global App Testing, a QA testing firm headquartered in London, UK. Nick has spent over 15 years working in diverse industries such as Cybersecurity, Government Purchasing, Web Hosting and Telecommunications in the USA and UK. Connect with him @infosecnick or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickro/. To learn more about crowdsourced testing visit https://www.globalapptesting.com