No technology product operates in a vacuum these days. No matter what type of product you’re developing, your product requires some other piece of technology to function properly. Understanding your testers’ environments and how your product behaves in them is fundamental to a beta test. If you’re testing a mobile app, you need to know what kind of smartphone or tablet they’re using. If you’re testing a web app, you need to know about their computer and browser. If you’re testing a remote, you need to know about their TV, DVD player, and cable box. This can be a lot of information to keep track of and connect to each tester’s feedback. That’s where test platforms come in.
What Are Test Platforms?
Test platforms are a key feature of Centercode that allow beta test candidates to tell you about the relevant technology in their lives. Beta candidates can create a test platform for each piece of technology that is pertinent to your product. This can be their smartphone, PC, TV, networking devices, or anything else that might interact with your product. This gives you powerful information to use through your beta.
As with most features of Connect, test platforms are incredibly flexible. It’s up to you what you ask for and when. Users generally create their first test platform as part of the signup process for your beta community, along with other demographic information about themselves. Members of your beta community can also update and add test platforms at any time, even when they aren’t currently part of an active test. We remind members of our beta community to update their test platforms regularly so we can match them with the appropriate beta testing opportunities.
When Do You Use Them?
When selecting testers for your project you can choose users based on the technology they have. If you want 50% of your testers to be iPhone users and 50% to be Android users, you have that information available. Once the test is underway you can segment those users, giving iPhone-specific surveys and tasks to the right testers.
During your test, users can attach test platforms to their bug reports and feedback. This way you know the bug happened in a specific browser or on a specific device without the user needing to provide that information each time they submit feedback.
After your test, you can filter data based on test platforms. You can compare the experience of users on different platforms and see if one device has more bugs than another. This can be valuable information for setting priorities based on your feedback during beta.
How to Get the Most out of Test Platforms.
- Ask for test platform information during the signup process. Not only is this information helpful in selecting testers, but the signup process is also when candidates are the most excited and therefore the most willing to jump through a couple extra hoops. This gives your candidates the chance to prove that they’ll to put in the time to give you the data you need.
- When planning your beta, decide which platforms you truly need to know about. In Connect you can make some of your test platforms required and others optional. Only collecting the data you need makes sure you’re making the most of your testers’ time and energy.
- Keep your test platform forms simple. Not every one of your candidates is going to be an expert on technology (in fact, you probably don’t want them to be!). Do you really need to know how much RAM their home computer has? If you decide that you do need specific details, be sure to provide clear instructions on how candidates can find that information.
Understanding how your product works in different real world environments is one of the biggest reasons companies run beta tests. Test platforms are an easy way to get the information you need to recruit the right testers, collect actionable feedback, and find trends in your users’ experiences. If you’d like to see test platforms (and other features of Connect) in action, request a demo using the button below.