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What is Beta Testing? - Definition & Process

Instructor: Brianna Whiting
In this lesson we will explore beta testing. We will define the term and then look at the process companies often endure to complete this type of testing. The lesson will conclude with a summary and a quiz.

A First Look at Beta Testing

We have all eagerly waited for new technological products to hit the market at one time or another. We just can't wait to see which new gadgets and functions will make our life easier. But how many of us actually think about the process it took for a company to get that new product from a basic idea to a readily available item? Before a company releases a new product, they often run it through various tests. The testing that is of particular interest in this lesson is a process called beta testing.

Beta Testing Defined

So what is a beta test? Well, a beta test is the second test a product goes through after what is called an alpha test. An alpha test is the first internal pilot test that identifies and removes any obvious defects. Once a product passes this test, it moves on to the beta test. Even though major issues and defects have been removed during the initial alpha test, there may still be some minor issues. In order to identify those issues, a company will seek out consumer participation to test the product in a real world environment. This type of testing is often referred to as 'pre-release testing' as its goal is to find and remove any remaining defects before the product becomes available for commercial release. An example of beta testing would be offering a free trial download of a software product via the internet and seeking customer feedback.

Process

Now that we know what beta testing is, let's take a moment to look at the process a company may go through while planning and implementing a beta test.

1. Planning- A company needs to first set goals of the project. This helps a company understand the objectives for the project and outline a timeline in which they hope to accomplish their goals. This is also the stage in which a company may assign the roles of those involved in the project so that each person is aware of their task.

2. Participation- As mentioned earlier, beta testing requires consumer participation. During the participation phase, a company decides which test candidates will be used. It is ideal to select those consumers that fit within the parameters of the product's target market.

3. Distribution- This is the phase where the products are distributed to the participants for them to try out.

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