Beta testing is a critical stage in the software development lifecycle. It helps refine your mobile app quality and improve its user experience, among many other things, which is why it’s crucial to integrate a third-party Android beta testing tool for bug and crash reporting and to collect user feedback.
Beta testing saves time, money, and effort throughout the app’s lifetime, as well as provides an opportunity to collect user feedback for product research from beta testers. However, many teams cut corners for various reasons and this results in code errors and product missteps that an Android beta testing tool could minimize. If you’re ready to dive into beta testing, learn more in this comprehensive guide to Android app beta testing.
Why You Need an Android Beta Testing Tool
The number one goal of beta testing is to ensure app quality, making sure that everything is working as it should be and that you’re providing the best user experience you can.
The word quality is very broad and consists of many aspects, including performance, usability, and stability. On the other hand, by “quality app”, we don’t mean an app that is completely free of bugs. In fact, a 2015 survey by Evans Data conducted on more than 500 active mobile app developers showed that almost 75% of mobile apps are released with an average of one to 10 bugs. While it’s normal for a few errors to slip through the cracks, app users are very intolerant to buggy apps and that’s why you need to be on top of your game and constantly update your app and fix any problems found.
Bugs can be very costly, and releasing a buggy app can not only cause you to lose existing users and potential revenue from those churned users, but also lose potential new users who are turned off due to negative comments and reviews about your buggy app, as well as loss of development time to fix those errors in production. Beta testing your app before release will catch issues before they reach the public’s hands.
Aside from beta testing, some companies invest in bug bounty programs which are created to pay testers to find bugs and vulnerabilities. In fact, Google’s bug bounty paid out a hefty $2.9 million in bug bounties in 2017 with the rewards ranging from $500 to $100,000 or more depending on the type of bug and the amount of time spent. That’s why you should always invest in beta testing as it ends up paying off and saving you a lot of future losses that you might not even be able to foresee.
Not only do you need to make sure that all aspects of your app work exactly as they should, you need to make sure that they’re up to industry standards and users’ expectations because your definition of good app performance might differ from your users.
For example, one study reports that users expect apps to have an average load time of two seconds. Your app might be groundbreaking, but if it takes too long to load, which you might think is an okay trade-off, your users might disagree and think that it’s annoying, which you’ll never know without collecting user feedback.
Furthermore, performance tests can be tricky and some tests might perform differently on similar devices and are almost impossible to be reproduced in controlled environments. So the only way you can actually analyze your app’s performance is by having your testers experiment with it in real life.
Proof of Concept
Beta testing is a great way to validate your ideas. You might think that you’re building the best mobile app with revolutionary features, but you won’t really know if that’s true or not until you get user feedback. Feedback from users during beta testing is critical and might cause you to make anything from minimal to drastic changes in your app or your product roadmap.
A very good example for this is Supercell, arguably one of the biggest mobile game development companies in the world that sets very high standards for its games. Supercell killed 14 mobile games during the beta testing phase because they didn’t meet these standards. As of today, Supercell has only published five mobile games that made it through their tough beta testing process. Two of these games ended up being the top two highest grossing apps on the Google Play Store worldwide.
Studies have shown that only one out of five testers will try your product and provide you with feedback, and you need a minimum of 100-300 testers to ensure that your app is properly and thoroughly tested. Unless you have a large company and everyone on your team is actively involved in the testing process, then you’ll definitely need many external beta testers.
Make sure to check out our blog post about How to Find Over 200+ Beta Testers for Free.
Having a beta testing program with many external beta testers gives you a broad spectrum of feedback with diverse perspectives, which can help tremendously with mobile app localization. It allows you to get out of your mobile app bubble and see what users from different backgrounds and demographics in different locales actually think of it. Technically, it also allows you to have your app tested on many different devices and operating systems.
Beta testing is a great way to build a community of users before even launching your app. Your beta testers get to see new features before release, you’ll be rewarding them in some way for their participation, and they get a say in the development and improvement of your app, so they end up being invested in your product and feeling a sense of ownership over it.
This is a great way for you to turn them into loyal users long after after the beta testing process. Testers will not only use your app after its release but also become promoters for your app in their social circles, increasing your user base organically through word of mouth.
Google strongly encourages developers to release early versions of their apps for alpha and beta testing to make improvements to the app before its final release. You can run a beta test straight from the Google Play Developer Console and manage your beta testers from there without any additional Android beta testing tool for distribution.
They even provide their developers with tips and best practices as well as a step-by-step guide on how to set up and run your beta tests, emphasizing the importance of having an Android beta testing tool.
Bugs and Crashes
When you’re beta testing your app, the goal is to have your beta testers find the problems with your app that you need to fix or optimize before release. In most cases, you want them to focus more on the bad than the good, as you want to find and fix any bugs or crashes that disrupt your user experience.
A study by Compuware showed that users have low tolerance for apps with bugs or apps that crash. 79% of the users said that they would only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time, and only 16% said they would give it more than two attempts. That’s why you need to make sure to eliminate as many errors as you can find before releasing it because first impressions are everything.
User feedback is the foundation of the beta testing process. In many cases, beta testers are regular end-users who are not technically trained to properly test your app or write detailed reports. They are just trying out the app as any normal user would, which is why developers end up with feedback that is not constructive, defeating the purpose of the test. Many testers will leave you generic statements like, “This didn’t work”, or even positive feedback like, “I loved it”, but these comments don’t really give you much insight. What you need is quality, actionable feedback.
One way to solve this is by using an in-app feedback tool like Instabug that automatically captures all the data you might need and offers a channel for you to communicate with your testers to ask for more information. With Instabug, you can also collect different types of user feedback, such as in-app surveys and feature requests.Tools like this have proven to increase user feedback by 750%.
You can also check out What to Ask Your Beta Testers to Get Better Feedback and How to Maximize Engagement by Keeping Your Beta Testers in the Loop for more information about how to learn the most from your beta testers.
How Can Instabug Help?
Instabug is the top Android beta testing tool for mobile apps. It provides the most useful metadata on the market and exceptional user support. It is also known for its “Shake to Send” feature, an intuitive user gesture that automatically activates bug reports from within the apps on which Instabug is installed.
With each bug report, Instabug automatically sends detailed user data to developers, including every action the user made before reporting each bug in order to help reproduce it, network request and console logs, and device details. Instabug also automatically captures a screenshot of the UI view where the bug was found, and users can annotate by drawing on, blurring, and magnifying parts of it. Users can also attach additional screenshots, voice notes, and screen recordings of the app to provide further context to their report.
Integrations: Jira, GitHub, Slack, Trello, Asana, Zendesk, Desk, and more.
Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $41 per month.