Launching your app without first getting a sense of what users are looking for and what core values to feature is unthinkable.
You put your all into developing this app for months. The testing stage is just as crucial, so you gather quality beta testers who are willing to get their hands dirty and test your buggy app. Whether you’re distributing it through TestFlight, Hockeyapp, or Crashlytics’s Beta, you’ll need to have a way for them to send you their feedback or report the bugs they face.
You could send individual or bulk invitation e-mails and hope testers will reply, distribute survey links to gather feedback after each app build, or create an online forum.
Alternatively, you could replace these options by integrating an in-app feedback SDK so that your beta testers can easily reach you to chat directly, give instantaneous feedback, and report bugs — all from within your app without the need to leave it. Genius, right?
Here’s why in-app feedback is an absolute MUST while you’re beta testing your app:
1. Validate your idea. FAST!
Feedback is crucial in the early stages of your app. You need to be as close as possible to your beta testers and hear as much feedback as you can. This will ensure that you validate your ideas faster, learn what’s working and what’s not, and gather user insights that direct you towards new opportunities. This information gives you an edge to focus on the core features that users liked the most. You’ll be able to capitalize on your strengths and release a much higher quality app in a shorter time frame.
We conducted a study that showed a 750% increase in user feedback with in-app feedback compared to typical communication channels. This means that you can test your app, discover bugs, and amend issues 750% faster! At the end of the day, speeding up the testing process means a relatively faster release, which is key in gaining an upper hand over the competition.
2. Build your fan base early on
What’s really important about building your app is making sure that users feel connected and engaged with what you are offering. This key to building a culture of caring, satisfied customers is to start with the beta testers — your early adopters — and make them feel heard and appreciated by taking their advice into account. After all, the difference between great and mediocre apps is the users behind them.
In-app feedback will allow beta testers to strike up personal conversations and give you feedback without the feeling of it being a burden or a hassle. You’ll make their lives 100x easier, as you are not forcing them to use e-mails or forums to submit bugs or send feedback.
By listening to them and facilitating the process, you will be able to win their hearts and minds as you reply and engage. The connection you build will make your testers happily willing to promote your app and tell others to try it. Basically, your app will be supported by a community of loyal fans just because you made them feel special.
3. Iterate quickly and keep your testers engaged
It’s proven that you need to ship a new app build every five to seven days to keep your beta testers active and engaged during the beta testing period. How can you cope with such a high-paced development cycle with feedback and bug reports scattered over e-mail, forums, Google Docs, or even text messages? And then you need to log the bugs manually into your project management or bug tracking tool to work on them!
This is such a critical phase of your app’s life and you need to be 100% focused on either listening to feedback or building your app. Automating the feedback and bug submission process will help you iterate quickly and get the maximum out of your beta testers.
Through an in-app feedback service, the process becomes automated with minimal friction and without losing any crucial information. All data from testers’ devices are logged automatically into your bug tracker (i.e., JIRA, GitHub, Bitbucket, and Sprintly) where your whole team can instantly access and work on them.
4. Have a standard format for all your bug reports
Imagine beta testing your app with 100 beta testers for a month, each from a different background, each sending you bugs and feedback daily in their own format. Someone could be sending a series of screenshots on Dropbox, another could be attaching a PDF file with all the bug reports written inside, etc. And imagine having to go through every single one to extract content. A total waste of time!
We discovered that having a structured format for your bug reports can save you up to 45% of your time. This consistency across all bug reports leaves more time for app development. In-app feedback will save you from the hassle of sorting out each individual bug sent by testers. Whether your app runs on Android or iOS, all bugs will be reported in the same way, sent to your dashboard, and ready for action.
5. Get all device details and logs every time
Having an SDK in your app can help you capture anything you want and attach it with the bug report or feedback that the beta tester is sending. How many times have you asked, “Which device were you using?” or “Can you please send me the repro-steps for that bug?” No more incomplete bug reports and no more guessing!
You’ll get all the details you want with each bug report, which is sent automatically without any effort from your beta testers. This will help developers understand the problems at a much deeper level and waste no time in back-and-forth conversations.
6. Have everything in one place
I mentioned in the previous three points that you need to automate the bug submission process, unify the bug reports across all your testers, and grab as many details as you can from the tester’s device. How about having all that in one place? One dashboard that contains all that data? You can conduct more thorough and effective analysis when all the bugs and feedback from different app builds are in one place. You can easily spot trends and patterns, prioritize based on the most recurring bugs, and monitor the progress of your team.
Wrapping it up
The beta testing phase is a make-or-break phase of your app and, believe it or not, your beta testers’ feedback has a huge impact on the success of your app, so make sure to provide them with an easy way to communicate with you.