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Test Planning

The Key Beta Objectives for Usability Engineers

January 26, 2015

Identifying your objectives is the first step down the road to a successful beta test, and every person (and job title) will have a different list of objectives for their beta. So, to continue on with our Beta Testing Objectives series, today we’ll be exploring the common beta testing objectives for usability engineers.

Usability engineers are typically focused on how the user experiences and interacts with the product. How are customers using the product? What aspects of the product do they find intuitive and where are they struggling? Let’s take a closer look into how this manifests when selecting objectives for your beta test.

Gauge the Entire Customer Experience

Getting a good read on how your customers are receiving your product is key for usability engineers. Beta testing provides the unique opportunity to ensure that as a final step prior to release, all of the product components (including the feature/functionality, installation process, documentation/training, support, delivery, and more) perform as expected. Beta gives you the chance to make sure that everything is coming together and creating the intended user experience.

Assess Customer Acceptance or MVP Readiness

Customer acceptance is fundamental to a product’s success. For new products, products introducing substantial new functionality, or products aimed at a small defined audience, beta offers the ability to measure customer acceptance, ensuring the product meets the requirements of its audience. Similarly, in the MVP (minimum viable product) context, beta can help establish the minimum feature set for a lean launch.

Study and Improve the User Experience

While beta testing throws your product into unsupervised real-world environments, it gives you a valuable look into the unscripted, unanticipated usage patterns that your product may undergo. Beta participants will provide detailed feedback about usability challenges they encounter, allowing you to either make immediate changes or prepare your support team to assist customers in these scenarios.

Assess the New User Experience

Beta testing is commonly used to evaluate and identify issues related to the new user experience (onboarding, installation, out of the box, etc.) of highly targeted customers. These factors are key because they’re the first impressions your target market will have of your product. It’s imperative that this experience is precisely as you intended. If it’s not, then your customers may become disinterested and/or frustrated with your product and simply give up.

No matter what product you’re launching or role you carry within a company, beta testing will give you an extremely beneficial look into how your product fares when released into the ruthless world of the consumer market. Whether you’ve run countless betas, or this is your first one, the process will garner the same considerations and disciplines. However, it’s of the utmost importance that you keep your eye on your basic objectives to keep your test on track.

Check out our Beta Testing Objectives blog series. If you have a job title that we haven’t covered yet, let us know in the comments below! We’ll do our best to get you a list of objectives that’ll get your beta test off the ground.

To learn more about Customer Validation and how customer feedback benefits your entire organization, check out our free ebook, Unlocking Customer Feedback with Modern Beta Testing.

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