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Crowdtesting: The Key to Unlocking User-Centric Product Success

July 4, 2024


Your e-commerce site looks perfect: fabulous design, meticulously crafted copy, and products presented with professional, well-lit photos.

But it doesn't sell.

The app your friend developed is fantastic. It surpassed a million users, has outstanding reviews on marketplaces, and generates incredible profits. Recently, he launched it abroad, and—surprise—no one is downloading it. 

Two questions: why? And more importantly, could it have been discovered earlier? 

We don't have the answer to the first question, but we certainly have the answer to the second: yes, it could have been discovered earlier. And you could have done it through crowdtesting.    

By leveraging the power of end users, you could have, for instance, discovered that a tiny bug on the checkout page prevents payments from being processed on certain platforms. Or your friend could have discovered that his app's translated copy is incomprehensible and nonsensical to native speakers.

Of course, saying it is easy is one thing; implementing it is a whole other matter.

This article will detail everything you need to know to launch your first crowdtesting campaign. Let's start by defining two fundamental aspects of digital product success today: quality and user experience.

The importance of quality and user experience

Before exploring the specifics of crowdtesting, it is important to understand software quality and user experience and how they work together to shape end users' overall satisfaction.

Software quality: from bug-free to performing

Software quality in digital products means reliability, performance, and functionality.

It starts with orderly and organized coding and translates into high-quality products that work as intended, are bug-free, and offer a seamless user experience.

Software quality can make the difference between success and failure. If your product doesn't work well, users will quickly abandon it for a better solution.

User experience is the heart of your product

User experience encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction with a digital system, whether it’s a website, social network, e-commerce platform, or home banking service.

vbGood user experience means intuitive design, ease of use, and overall satisfaction. For digital businesses, exceptional user experience is crucial for retaining customers and building brand loyalty. It's not enough for your product to be functional; it must also be enjoyable to use and meet all users' needs based on the problem they want to solve.

Understanding crowdtesting: what it is and how it works

Let's start with the definition: crowdtesting is a form of software testing that uses a distributed community of online testers to evaluate a product. It’s a powerful way to quickly and effectively gather a wide range of feedback to guide design and development choices.

Testers come from different parts of the world, have diverse characteristics (such as gender, level of digital literacy, and spending power), and use a variety of devices and operating systems, ensuring that the product can be tested in any possible use scenario.

Naturally, crowdtesting is not the only valid method for testing a digital product. Quality and user experience testing existed long before crowdtesting. To simplify, we can say that crowdtesting focuses on collecting feedback from real users, while traditional user testing often involves controlled environments with specific participants.

Crowdtesting can also include various forms of testing, from functional to usability to security, and can be particularly useful for identifying issues that might not emerge in a traditional test lab.

The role of crowdtesting in modern software testing

Crowdtesting complements traditional testing methods by providing additional perspectives and real-world scenarios.

It fits into the broader landscape by adding a level of real-world validation that traditional test environments might miss. In practice, it’s an essential complement that can make the difference between a good product and an excellent one.

The types of tests made possible by crowdtesting are numerous, ranging from bug hunting (where the group of testers hunts for bugs in the use of a product) to analyses and surveys regarding customer experience, which border on market research.

For simplicity, tests conducted with the crowd are categorized into:

  • Functional tests ensure that the product works as expected. They are suitable for any type of digital product, and the earlier they are done, the better (for example, did you know that the cost of a bug tends to multiply tenfold at each subsequent development phase?).
  • Usability tests evaluate ease of use and overall user experience. Again, they are handy for any digital reality because they allow you to effectively test whether a product meets users' needs.
  • Security tests identify vulnerabilities and potential security threats, which are often conducted by professional ethical hackers. Unlike traditional cybersecurity methodologies, they allow for identifying vulnerabilities over a broader perimeter, leveraging diverse security skills, and with greater scalability.

Not all products, teams, and companies need every type of test, although often testing all three aspects of quality, experience, and security can play a significant part in a product's success.

Why implement crowdtesting?

The benefits of crowdtesting are more than just getting feedback.

Crowdtesting offers several advantages over traditional testing methodologies. The main ones are:

  • Variety of feedback: Get input from a wide range of users with different backgrounds who can identify issues that an internal team might not see.
  • Real-world usability: See how your product performs in real-world scenarios, with real users using it in everyday contexts.
  • Scalability: You can easily scale the number of testers according to your needs, allowing you to handle work peaks or focus on specific product areas.

While traditional testing methods provide controlled and predictable results, crowdtesting offers diverse and real-world feedback. Combining both methods can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of your product's performance. Crowdtesting allows you to see how the product truly works beyond the ideal conditions constructed in a lab.

But, of course, it is not without challenges.

Launching a successful crowdtesting project is not easy; the only solution is turning to a specialized partner. Companies that manage crowdtesting campaigns on behalf of clients, in more or less automated ways and with varying levels of support, are very experienced and helpful in overcoming the main challenges associated with crowdtesting, such as:

  • Communication management: Managing communication among a large group of testers can be complicated, but it is essential to obtain useful feedback.
  • Feedback quality: Ensuring that the feedback is of high quality and useful requires an effective selection and filtering process.
  • Feedback integration: Coordinating and integrating feedback into the development cycle can be challenging, but it is crucial for continuous product improvement.

Over the years, the belief has increasingly taken hold that testing should be a continuous activity: a continuous testing strategy. Implementing continuous testing ensures constant quality improvement and quicker identification of issues, enabling faster resolutions and more agile development cycles.

With a continuous approach, testing becomes an integral part of the development process rather than a separate activity.

How to implement a successful crowdtesting strategy

Now, let’s move on to the most important aspect of crowdtesting: developing an adequate strategy.

Where to start? Planning your first steps into crowdtesting

The first step is clearly defining what you want to achieve with crowdtesting. Are you looking to find bugs, improve usability, or increase security? Clear objectives will guide the entire testing process. Without clear goals, you risk getting unhelpful feedback because it is not aligned with your needs.

The second aspect is panel selection.

As mentioned, the crowd you will rely on will be managed by the company you choose to turn to. Choose (or get help choosing) a diverse group of testers representing your target audience. The right mix of users will provide the most relevant and comprehensive feedback. 

Consider factors such as age, technological skills, and usage habits to ensure you cover a wide range of scenarios, devices, and operating systems. It is very important to select people in the geographic areas where your digital product will be available.

The crowdtesting process: execution and management

Now, you need to define roles within the crowdtesting process. Who will manage the testers, gather feedback, and analyze the data? 

Clear roles ensure smooth operation and efficient communication. A dedicated person, often referred to as the tester leader, is essential to coordinate testers and answer their questions. 

Depending on the project, a project manager may also be designated to dictate timelines and manage communication between the development team (internal to the company) and the testers (provided by the service provider).

Depending on the level of service chosen, crowdtesting companies can also provide a customer success manager who will be the client’s point of reference for all project-related activities.

Effective communication is crucial.

Tools and platforms that facilitate seamless interaction between the team and the testers are also important. Regular updates and feedback cycles keep everyone on the same page. 

Tools like Slack, Trello, and Google Docs can be useful for keeping everyone informed and organized, and choosing a crowdtesting service provider with native integrations with project management and bug reporting systems like Jira can be very beneficial.

Finally, it is crucial to establish a streamlined process for collecting and organizing feedback. Using surveys, bug-tracking tools, and direct communications to gather comprehensive insights can make a difference. Ensure that the process is simple for testers to get high-quality feedback without overloading them.

After crowdtesting: organizing feedback, bug fixes, and UX improvements

From the beginning, it is essential to establish a process for implementing the optimizations highlighted by the tests. 

Analyze the data collected to identify patterns and common issues. Use this analysis to prioritize bugs and UX improvements and make informed decisions about necessary enhancements and fixes.

This process integrates feedback into the development process through regular updates and agile methodologies, prioritizing bug fixes and improvements based on user feedback for continuous product improvement. Using an Agile approach allows you to quickly incorporate changes and see tangible results in a short time.

Not all feedback is equal. Prioritize changes that will have the most significant impact on user experience and product functionality. Use metrics and user data to guide your decisions. Consider the business impact, frequency of the issue, and severity to determine which problems to address first.

Remember that testing is an ongoing process. Even after a major release, continue to test and gather feedback to ensure your product remains high quality and easy to use. Continuous improvement is key to maintaining competitiveness and user satisfaction.

The future of crowdtesting

What will crowdtesting look like in three, five, or 10 years?

It is a relatively young field, where various factors (constantly changing customer needs, technological advancements, and economies of scale) drive rapid evolution. Let’s try to outline a brief analysis of the most significant trends.

AI and machine learning can help automate repetitive tasks in crowdtesting, such as bug triage and data analysis, making the process more efficient and accurate. These technologies can also help predict and prevent problems before they occur, further improving product quality.

Crowdtesting is increasingly integrated into Agile and DevOps workflows, providing continuous feedback and allowing for quicker responses to issues. Integrating crowdtesting into these processes enables continuous release and constant improvement, maintaining high levels of quality and usability.

Do you need crowdtesting?

Crowdtesting is a powerful tool for improving product quality and user experience through diverse and real-world feedback. It complements traditional testing methods and fits perfectly into modern development workflows. It is an essential complement for anyone looking to release successful digital products.

Crowdtesting is not a replacement for all other testing methods. It should be combined with traditional tests to provide a comprehensive quality assurance strategy. It is not a magic solution that solves all problems but a powerful additional tool in your arsenal.

Incorporating crowdtesting into your development process can significantly improve your product's quality and user experience. By leveraging the insights and feedback of real users, you can build better and more reliable digital products that meet your audience's needs.

Implementing a well-planned crowdtesting strategy can also obtain valuable feedback that will improve not only your product's quality but also your users' satisfaction.

Keep testing, keep improving, and stay ahead in the digital game.

Learn how customer experience can boost your sales and turn them into brand advocates!

Edited by Shanti S Nair

Crowdtesting Let the crowd drive your success!

Leverage crowdtesting tools to gather genuine feedback from a diverse user base, enhancing both the customer experience and the functionality of your assets.

Crowdtesting Let the crowd drive your success!

Leverage crowdtesting tools to gather genuine feedback from a diverse user base, enhancing both the customer experience and the functionality of your assets.

Crowdtesting: The Key to Unlocking User-Centric Product Success Crowdtesting is gaining attention among companies for improving digital product quality and UX. Learn how to effectively engage end-users in your tests.
Luca Montecchi Luca Montecchi is the digital content manager at UNGUESS. Moved by a strong passion for content and creativity - in every form - he has a strong background in the tech & startups field.

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