It's a best practice to get customer feedback before releasing products to end-users. In this hyper-competitive era, we need to make sure what we're releasing is the best it can be. This can be done by implementing beta tests, which provide customers in a real environment a way to share their thoughts and opinions about the product before it goes live for everyone.
Beta testing is a method of testing to get an honest, accurate overview of how your software product is working with real users. Using a beta version provides an in-depth look at the experience of the final code with end-user beta testers before you release your final product.
The use of a product varies, depending on who is using it. Marketing managers tend to focus on what the target market thinks of the product. Common users, on the other hand, focus on how easy it is to use and technical users tend to focus on install and uninstallation. But the end user's actual perception is why they need this product. They know exactly how to use it and what it is for. Beta testing will show you how real customers use your product.
Your product needs to work in the real world, not just in a test environment. In order to create a good experience for customers on many different devices and platforms, you must test compatibility and receive customer validation. This is a crucial step in the development process so that the product works well for a wide variety of people. This testing process ensures compatibility is great for a wide variety of devices and platforms while gaining valuable feedback from users before sending out your final release version.
Let's say a few specific platforms are not compatible with the product because of showstopper bugs that were missed during the product's QA process. Beta testing helps in improvising/fixing the product to be compatible with all platforms. A beta program will help you catch these bugs before the product is available for all users.
Problems that are known to the product management and development team can be troubling for customers. If the customer encounters the same problem, it can be difficult for them to use the product. Testing of these known issues is important because it helps us to analyze the impact of these problems on the entire customer experience.
Traditional beta tests can take weeks or months to gather customer opt-ins, and they also require the use of beta keys (ex. for early access to games). Getting feedback from focus groups is often time-consuming and expensive, which lengthens the release process.
Beta’s are a great way to test new features and get feedback and suggestions from customers who are early adopters. If a customer opts into the beta and doesn't like it, you want to be able to switch them back to the production version or make a change to your new product. It's very hard to target specific audiences with traditional betas or do incremental percentage rollouts of new features.
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To make beta testing a useful tool in the product development process, modern product teams are beginning to use feature flags that allow you to control the timing and visibility of a beta release to participants.
Beta testing is the process of releasing a product or feature before it is formally released. It can be used to get feedback from consumers about how to improve the product before it launches. Traditionally, betas are exclusive to developers. This leaves out other team members in the company, such as marketing or sales. To fix this problem, feature toggles empower everyone in the company to test new features.
You can also choose what percentage of customers to release to. For example, you could release it to 1% of customers for now. You could gradually increase the rollout percentage from 1% to 10% and gradually increase it, collecting customer feedback as you go.
If you want your product to be successful, you need to empower non-technical users. These marketing and product teams should be able to turn features on and off, collect feedback, and control business logic. This will allow them to be more involved in the product's success and it will cut down on engineering time significantly.
You can also collect feedback to improve your product. The goal of this final test is to get feedback, identify any errors or glitches in the program, and to see if this feature helps users' needs. You can use limited user segments to test features in production, then gradually roll out features to incrementally test performance and mitigate risk. If the feature is bad, you can toggle it off.
DevCycle is a feature management tool that allows you to leverage feature flags to ship faster, reduce risk and maximize the impact of your beta tests. By leveraging feature flags, you can increase your release cadence with minimizing release complexity.
Through continuously deploying and testing in production, you can organize your feature flags in several environments with our APIs without needing to leave your workflow. Developers, product and marketing teams can toggle a feature on or off in the DevCycle dashboard to control who has access.
Your team can also predetermine a rollout schedule to specify which users have access to a new feature and at what date. This means you can create a predetermined rollout period for a beta test and let DevCycle gradually deploy it based on the rollout schedule your team set up.
DevCycle also enables you to maximize the impact of your beta tests through zero latency experimentation build for developers. Iterate and optimize features with the ability to dynamically modify content in production without redeployments.
Engineering teams can employ continuous integration and continuous delivery to keep up with the competition. This practice will allow for faster development cycles, as well as the ability to deploy new features without risk of errors. Practices like beta testing can also help mitigate risk.
Want to use feature flags to run beta tests and improve your software development workflow? Get started with a free trial of DevCycle.
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