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Test Management

Increasing Participation Through Daily Journals

June 5, 2013

Getting your testers to consistently provide relevant feedback throughout your test can be one of the biggest challenges of beta testing. One of the ways you can keep testers engaged is by encouraging them to log in to your beta site every day.

Unfortunately, most testers won’t have a flow of constant bugs, nor is everyone social enough to bring new thoughts to the forums daily. To ensure constant connection and participation (regardless of new bugs and social inclination) we like to use “daily journals”. This is a simple requirement for each tester to log in each day and provide a few sentences about their most recent experience with the product.

Daily journals serve a couple key purposes in beta tests:

  1. They encourage users to log in each and every day, increasing their ongoing awareness of and commitment to the beta project.
  2. They directly increase use of the beta product (resulting in more participation), as users will be looking for something new to write about each day.
  3. For less social users (or those who would simply prefer an alternative to forums), journals offer a way to share their experiences.
  4. They’re an outlet for testers to write about experiences that may be problematic, but not something they would have reported as a bug.
  5. Finally, daily journals provide you with an easy benchmark to gauge the activity of each tester.

In addition to being a powerful way to boost participation, daily journals can also give you mountains of useful insight into how your customers use your product day to day.

Daily Journals Screenshot

To take advantage of this, we recommend including a simple 1 to 5 rating scale at the bottom of each daily journal along with a prompt like “Please rate your experience with the product today”. You will then be able to filter the daily journals you receive for the worst and best experiences from that day. The negative experiences can expose new issues customers are having with the product, while the positive experiences can provide your marketing team with testimonials and selling points.

In the end, daily journals are another way to collect feedback from your testers. When used in conjunction with other types of feedback (such as bug reports, surveys, and forums) they can be an excellent way to understand your customers’ complete experience with your product.

How do you use journals in your beta tests? Share your experiences in the comments. If you’re looking for more ways to increase participation in your beta tests, take a look at our participation eBook.

Download our guide to reaching 90% participation!

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