At Betabound, there are two distinct types of product tests:
- Private, or “closed” tests
- Public, or “open” tests
Since both usually take place right before a product’s launch, it’s easy to confuse private and public tests but it’s important to remember that these tests are managed in very different ways and result in varied experiences.
So what makes them so different? What can you expect from each type of test? Which one is the right experience for you? Let’s start with some basics:
Private tests are limited projects specifically designed to gather feedback from a carefully selected group of users that match the product’s target market. The focus is to find Issues, or bugs, so they can be fixed or managed before the product’s launch. This is also a great time to get general impressions from potential customers. Perhaps the most important distinction in a private test is a heavy focus on maintaining secrecy about the product and its features, so testers will be asked to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Public tests will have the product made available to the general public. The purpose of a public test is to generate awareness and buzz about the product, rather than just gather actionable feedback from participants. They involve either a limited version of the product (which can generate interest in the full, or paid version) or a launch-ready version of the product. In the latter case, the company can still refer to this as a test so they can make changes while people are trying out the product. Public tests generally happen after extensive private testing has already occurred.
Who Gets to be a Tester?
Private tests consist of testers that are hand-selected by the test management team through a considerable qualification process so not everyone who applies will fit the requirements needed to participate. Public tests generally have little to no technical or demographic requirements to join. Private tests are also much smaller than public tests: a couple of dozen testers compared to hundreds to thousands of testers. This exclusivity makes private tests more enticing but more difficult to get into.
What’s Expected of Testers?
Private tests are specifically designed to collect feedback from testers through collecting Issues, Ideas, Praise, and other feedback. Testers are expected to participate regularly and thoroughly test the product.
Public tests are typically much more relaxed. The company may not even provide a clear way to give feedback on the product. The focus is more on users trying out the product and less on providing detailed feedback about their experiences.
What’s Your Style?
So, which type of test would you rather get involved in? Both types of tests let you get a sneak peek at a product before it’s released. With private tests, however, you’ll have to keep your involvement quiet and actively participate in the test by providing detailed feedback. Basically, it’s much more of a commitment than a public test.
Public tests, on the other hand, are much less rigorous, but they don’t give you the chance to influence the development of the product the way you can in a private test.
Now that you have an idea of the differences between public and private betas, it’s time to see what’s out there. Check out a current list of available private and public tests to see if any of them appeal to you. If you know you’re only interested in one type, update your personal settings at the top of the page to ensure that the Betabound homepage only shows tests that fit your tastes.
Look familiar? This post is a part of a series in which we’re breathing new life into some of our older entries.