Software testing is a crucial aspect of the software and app development process, ensuring that applications and systems work as intended and are free of defects. While in-house testing teams have been the traditional go-to for quality assurance, crowdtesting has emerged as a powerful alternative. This Crowdsourcing Week blog itemises six key advantages of crowdtesting and explains how it can significantly enhance the quality of your software and its development process. There is also an in-depth case study.
What Is Crowdtesting?
Before we delve into the advantages, let’s define crowdtesting. Crowdtesting, also known as crowdsourced testing, is an approach that leverages a large and diverse group of external testers. They are often from around the world, and they assess software for usability, functionality, security, and other quality attributes. These testers are not part of the in-house development team but are real end-users and experts in various domains.
Advantage 1: Diverse Test Environments
One of the primary benefits of crowdtesting is the ability to test software in various environments and on a wide range of devices. This ensures that your application functions seamlessly across different operating systems, browsers, and device types. Crowdtesters can uncover issues that might be missed in a controlled, in-house testing environment.
Advantage 2: Real-World Testing
Crowdtesters represent real end-users, providing authentic feedback on the usability and functionality of your software. They navigate applications as actual customers would, offering insights that align with user expectations and identifying potential pain points or areas for improvement.
Advantage 3: Scalability and Speed
Crowdtesting allows for rapid testing and scalability. You can engage a large group of testers simultaneously, making it possible to test your software across various scenarios quickly. With a large crowd of testers working simultaneously, you can receive feedback and identify bugs much faster than traditional testing methods. This agility is particularly valuable for organizations that require efficient testing in fast-paced development cycles. This allows you to fix issues earlier in the development cycle, saving time and money in the long run. Which brings us to the next advantage.
Advantage 4: Cost-Effective Testing
One of the advantages of crowdtesting is that it can be more cost-effective than maintaining a large in-house testing team. You only pay for testing when you need it, avoiding the ongoing expenses associated with in-house personnel. Additionally, crowdtesting provides a return on investment through early issue detection and improved software quality.
Advantage 5: Global Expertise
Crowdtesting platforms often have testers with diverse backgrounds and expertise. You can tap into the collective knowledge of a global crowd, benefiting from a variety of skill sets, languages, and regional insights. This global perspective is invaluable for ensuring the international compatibility of your software. A greater diversity of crowdtesters helps identify issues your internal team might miss due to limited perspectives and testing environments, or because of being caught in a corporate mindset.
Advantage 6: Unbiased and Fresh Perspectives
Crowdtesters have no pre-conceived notions about your software, leading to an unfiltered and objective perspective. This fresh viewpoint can help identify usability issues, confusing instructions, and areas for improvement that an internal team might overlook due to familiarity.
An IoT Crowdtesting Case Study
Haier Europe is a European leader in the domestic appliances market through its brands Candy, Hoover and Haier. In 2020 the Haier Group launched a washing machine with a single button control, meaning it can only be used if connected to a smartphone. hOn is Haier’s proprietary one-stop app to smartly manage and get the most out of Candy, Hoover and Haier appliances.
Delegating full control of a washing machine to an app was a brave choice. The process is to tell the app what the clothing is made of, photograph the pile of laundry that needs washing, and the app will set the Candy Nova to the correct programme. It was fundamental to ensure the quality of the app, the usability of the interface, and the interaction of the app with the household appliance.
Haier Europe engaged UNGUESS, a European crowdtesting provider based in Italy, to focus on:
- evaluating the overall experience (clarity, usability, completeness of the range of programs offered) on the app and its connectivity
- analyzing the user experience on the available features (list of programs, snap and wash, smart-home skills, and more)
- collecting user feedback on different sections of the app: maintenance of the washer, the resolution of problems related to its use, etc
- understanding the users’ preferences on features and sections
UNGUESS’s response was based on three stages of selecting appropriate testers; ensuring the quality of their testing experiences; and qualifying their feedback with a response to suggested improvements.
Testers were selected in various countries through an initial profiling to ensure they matched Candy’s target audience brand, an approach consistent with Haier Group’s value of pursuing Zero Distance to Consumers. They were then able to use the product in their daily lives, discover the features, and interact with the app as real end-users on numerous occasions.
For results based on authentic experience, testers selected from UNGUESS’s community received a Nova washer at home. The testers’ preferences, opinions, and suggestions after using it were collected through surveys. The data provided both quantitative and qualitative information about the hOn app experience and the overall experience with the Nova washer.
There were three main clusters of results:
- general experience on the app and connectivity,
- features (list of programs, smart-home skills, preferred washing cycles, etc.),
- sections (notifications, statistics, maintenance, etc.).
The questions presented to the testers allowed the Haier team to investigate the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a customer loyalty and satisfaction measurement based on how likely consumers are to recommend a product to others.
Tester feedback on improvements
Areas of improvement in the user experience were singled out and it was possible to identify more directly the most appreciated features that users would like to give more prominence and access.
Proposals for improvements and further developments that were identified through the tester survey results were then fed back to the testers to check if they were consistent with their needs.
By embracing the advantages of crowdtesting, software development processes can benefit from real-world insights, scalability, cost savings, and more diverse global expertise. It’s a strategy that not only enhances software quality but also helps you stay competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.