Even if you haven’t been a beta tester before, you’re probably familiar with the basics of what beta testers do. They get to play with unreleased products and give feedback regarding their experiences. Then, the product development team uses that feedback to make improvements before the product’s launched to the public.
But, how exactly do beta testers communicate that feedback to the product development team? What sorts of things do beta testers do during a beta test? Here’s a list of the major activities that beta testers are asked to do during a typical beta test, and how each one helps the company improve their product.
1. Submit Bug Reports
Finding bugs is one of the main reasons companies run beta tests, so you’ll have a way to report bugs in every beta test you’re in, usually through a bug report form. As you use the beta product, you’ll report any problems you find using this form, so that the company’s developers can fix the bugs before launch. For these reports you’ll need to give a detailed description of the issue and what you were doing when it happened so the developers can isolate the problem. Screenshots are also really helpful to include.
2. Propose New Feature Ideas
Gathering feature requests is usually the second most important goal of every beta test. Companies want to know how they can make the product better. Feature requests are your chance to tell a product development team what you’d like the see in the next version of the product. So, while a bug report calls out a problem with the existing product, a feature request presents an idea that you have to improve it. These are incredibly valuable to companies as they plan the future of their products, so don’t be afraid to submit your ideas.
3. Complete Surveys and Polls
Surveys are another popular feedback mechanism that you’ll see in almost every beta test. Product teams use these to ensure that they’re getting everyone’s opinions on important aspects of the product and user experience so that they can track patterns and trends.
4. Join Discussions with Other Testers
Most beta tests will have an opportunity for you to discuss the beta product with other testers, often through private forums that are part of the test. This is your chance to talk about anything: general impressions, neat ways you’re using the product, your favorite and least favorite features, or simply how excited you are to part of the test. The product development team will look at the discussion forums to see how people are discussing and using the product.
5. Complete Assigned Tasks
Often times during a beta test you will be asked to do certain tasks and then report back afterwards. This may be something straightforward such as installing the beta product, or it may be something more complicated like trying out a specific feature under specific conditions. It’s important that every single part of the product is tested during the beta, and tasks are one of the ways beta managers can ensure that everything gets covered.
6. Write Daily Journals
In our beta tests, we often ask beta testers to submit regular journals about their experiences with the product. This is your chance to talk about how you use the product and your impressions about the experience in general. You may include things that you didn’t think were important enough to warrant a bug report or feature request, or just talk about how you used the product that day. Beta managers use these journal entries to understand how testers use the product on a day-to-day basis.
7. Fill out Mock Testimonials and Reviews
Many beta tests will ask you to write a mock product review or testimonial. This gives them an idea of how you would talk about the product publicly. Don’t be afraid to be honest, it will help the team understand what users are really feeling.
8. Participate in Tester Calls
Sometimes in a beta test, the beta manager will want to chat directly with the testers to really understand their experience. This could be a quick one-on-one phone call or a scheduled group discussion with the product developers.
Did we miss any activities that you’ve been asked to do as a beta tester? Which activities are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!