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The Benefits of Crowdtesting

Michael Ebako-Hodgson

Throughout the years, companies have asked us why they can't invest in their own internal QA teams to get the same results that crowdtesters can provide. The assumption being that an external vendor can never deliver equal value as someone from inside the organization, especially if given the time and energy. At test IO, we think three fundamental things set crowdtesting apart from your internal teams. It's done by real people, that use real devices, who are available on-demand. These crowdtesting benefits make sure that we catch the bugs internal teams and automation cannot.

Crowdtesters are Real People 

If you are a software tester or engineer reading this, please give me a chance to explain. I know you are a real person too. However, I want you to think critically about this. Do you do act like one when testing the apps, you built or test every single day? Be honest with yourself. The answer is probably not, and that is because it's hard! The more experience you have with an application, the more biased your perspective becomes. You know what you are looking for, you know what path you want people to follow, and you know what is "intended behavior." This makes it easy to get stuck in patterns and get fatigued, allowing you to overlook things that fresh eyes would notice at first glance.

Crowdtesters, on the other hand, benefit from the lack of exposure. They approach your application the same way your customers or users will, without bias and initially without a pattern. No matter how good of a job you do to create a distinct flow for the user to follow, humans have the incredible capability of doing things their way. That means they won't always follow the "happy path" you've laid out for them or tested for using automation. Instead, their interests, subconscious biases, and so much more will dictate how they interact with your application. This perspective allows them to see things that you cannot, but your customers will before they ever get the chance to hurt your bottom line.

Crowdtesters Test on Real Devices 

You might be thinking, "I test on real devices! I have a MacBook, Surface, and a Google Pixel on my desk right now." Or maybe "I have access to the amazon 'device farm.' I do test on real devices." Unfortunately, neither of those things can accurately simulate your customers' or users' circumstances and don't even get me started on virtual machines. Let's explore the limitations of "test devices." Testing usually takes place inside the office, connected to high-speed internet, only logged in to relevant applications, and on factory default settings. This environment can lead to severe gaps in test coverage that you may not expect.

How does your application respond when it is operating on spotty cell service? When interrupted by text message notifications and calls? What about when interacting with accessibility tools? While these are things you can try to account for, the possible variations are seemingly endless. Luckily that is where crowdtesting excels. Not only can you request testers that fit particular device and OS combinations that you don't have in-house, these testers actually use their devices as your customers do. They are logged in to multiple apps, have changed settings to their liking, and so much more. This allows them to better simulate all the possible circumstances your users are in when they interact with your application.

Let me give you an example. A customer of ours ran a test, and a few of our testers found a bug on a variety of different devices, but our customer could not reproduce it. Even on one of the same devices! She communicated with the testers for more information and realized that they were all on cell service when they found the issue. So, she disconnected her test device from the company wifi and immediately reproduced the problem. She would have missed the issue if the application was only tested on internal devices, proving this benefit of crowdtesting.

Crowdtesters are Available On-Demand 

This benefit of crowdtesting is unique to crowdtesters and probably not achievable internally (work-life balance aside.) Many things limit internal testers, employees, engineers, and whoever else you may have testing your applications. Primarily their working hours and the number of projects they have on their plate. If not properly planned and budgeted ahead of time, those people may not be available to test your application when you need it most. And what happens when you can't plan ahead?

Crowdtesters live around the world, so they are available to help regardless of date and time. test IO has testers in almost every time zone, and they all come from different cultures and backgrounds. So when your testers are unavailable because of a regional holiday, plenty of crowdtesters will be working as usual and eager to take on your test.

The test IO difference: Quality over Quantity 

The crowdsourced QA industry does not have a good reputation when it comes to quality results. I wish I could disagree, but all too often they reward testers for bad behavior. Traditionally crowdtesting companies pay their testers for bugs submitted, and they do not review the issues before they pass them along to the customer. Their customers are then inundated with poor results, duplicates, and otherwise useless bugs. That is why we reinvented the model to make sure that every issue you receive benefits your team.

At test IO, testers only get paid for bugs that our customers "accept," and those bugs must pass a rigorous review process before they even make it to the customer's dashboard. You can read all the details in our post, A test IO Bug's Life. We did this to incentivize our testers to prioritize quality over quantity. We want to make sure you experience the benefits of crowdtesting: real world, real device testing, that spots issues your internal teams might miss, whenever you need it most.

Crowdtesting addresses many of the limitations associated with traditional in-house QA approaches, and it can do so much more. Use it scale your team, increase your test coverage, or ship higher quality software, faster. All it takes is a few keystrokes and a couple of clicks. Contact us to learn more about how test IO can help you tackle your software testing needs.

Not convinced? Read more about crowdtesting vs in-house testing.



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