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Beta test

What is a beta test? Beta testing is when you allow a user to try a new product or feature in the early stages of development, before it is formally released to the market or user base.

A beta test provides a minimum risk test of some software, website, or other digital product. The general idea is to find out more about the product before release by allowing users to access it and then collecting user feedback from them.

What form does it take?

There may be an option within the product they use which allows them to see any features which are currently available in beta. Alternatively, the user may need to speak to the product company in order to have the feature enabled for them.

Are there any expectations in a beta program?

When a user elects to join a beta testing program, it’s important to ensure a shared understanding of the expectations. The user should be made aware that the feature they’re testing is incomplete, and may not be fully functional. It is expected that the user provides feedback, so that the team working on the feature can learn from the test. This could take the form of bug reports, or simply feedback on how useful the feature was, or how well it solved the problem it is intended to solve.

It is expected that anyone joining a beta test will provide feedback on the feature they're testing.
It’s important to get feedback on a beta feature

When should beta testing take place?

Not everyone wishes to take part in beta testing as there is a risk involved in using a feature before it’s fully completed. As such, beta testing usually occurs near the end of the development process where there is a high level of confidence in the quality of the product. To reduce the risk of problems at this stage of development, it’s important to do as much lean experimentation as possible in the early stages of development, using a minimum viable product.