Companies that run beta tests are genuinely interested in hearing your feedback and what you think. If you’re selected as a beta tester, you really need to make the most of the opportunity. Share every thought, note every bug, and get engaged in the process. The more active you are on the project, the more likely you will be to earn any project incentive and get other chances to test with the company. Since every company is going to approach beta testing differently, there aren’t any sure-fire rules. However, our experience has taught us some lessons that will help you be a great member of any testing team:
1. Vary Your Efforts
Spend a little time every day doing something on every part of the product. Budget some time each day to submit feedback (suggestions, bug reports, forum posts, etc.). Work through every feature and function you can. By doing a little bit every day you will test the product in its entirety, have great performance numbers, and have a lot of fun.
2. Communicate Quickly and Consistently
Be communicative and responsive throughout the project. Remember that the people running the test are eager to hear what you have to say and what you’re experiencing. It’s incredibly important to monitor your bugs, watch the forums, and respond quickly to any inquiries the beta team might have for more information.
3. Be Clear and Thorough
Make your communication clear and detailed. Your feedback needs to give the beta team a solid understanding of your issues, ideas, and opinions. If they don’t understand what you’re saying or don’t have enough data, they might have to come back to you again, which just takes up more of everyone’s time. They need to be able to understand your comments and act on them immediately. Screenshots and pictures often help.
4. Keep It To Yourself
Many companies spend months designing and building their test product. They are spending many thousands of dollars to prepare for its launch. If the beta test is private, it’s your responsibility and obligation to keep everything about the beta test absolutely secret. Don’t blog, don’t Tweet, don’t chat, don’t post anything anywhere about the beta test. Don’t even mention you are involved in the project. Remember, these companies are trusting you with their new product. In return, you should show them respect by keeping everything you experience a secret.
5. Be Flexible and Patient
Last, be flexible and understanding. Product development is a complicated process that involves many people and many tasks. Your role in this process is to share your perspective regarding the product. If the company discovers an important issue or needs to change the direction of the project, that could change the schedule. They might need to extend the test or cut it short to meet their new schedule. These changes are commonplace in beta, so please be willing to adapt to them.
Beta testing is a really fun and rewarding experience. Hopefully these tips will help you become a beta rockstar on every test you join!