It's cool to succeed in creating an app when you have a great idea, but when you have built it you're not there yet. Before you develop and test, you must consider the devices that will be used to access your app. You need to test across all operating systems and hardware, so you can be confident that your app will perform well. Assuming that testing your app is important, this article is going to show you how we test our apps and what other tools and platforms there are, to make your life a bit easier and to help streamline this process. We incorporate beta testing into the development process according to the lean agile work methodology. As we start a new project, our team defines a common product vision to work towards a minimum viable product (MVP). This product is good enough in order to assess whether it is worth shipping and ready to release it to external users. This way we don’t have to build a complete product yet. Instead, you check whether your real test users will understand how to use the app, so that we can learn from their user experience and useful feedback. In this way we gain valuable insight into how the app will perform before submitting it to the App Store and Google Play.
For distributing a beta version of our apps we use two platforms. With these platforms you can distribute pre-release builds of your app to internal testers in order to trace bugs, collect feedback and prepare your app for release in the App Store. In Crashlytics it is easy to send an invite to a specific group that can install both Crashlytics and the beta app we are about to test. It is also easy to share insights with the client's Product Owner and regularly check if we're still on the same page.
A second platform for beta testing is Testflight. Submitting your app for review in Testflight is easy to do and a valuable way to improve your app before releasing it. You can enable Testflight beta testing for up to 100 apps at one time in your developer account. The difference from Crashlytics, is that with Testflight you submit the beta version and Apple will already do the app review process (which takes approximately one week). This allows you to release the app in the store very quickly when you're a 100% sure that the latest beta version works the way you want it to work.
These are the platforms that we are experienced with. But if you want to explore other platforms, you can look into this top 5 list of free testing platforms for mobile applications.
Gathering user feedback
The way we test is as follows: we give users small assignments to see if they can 'find' their way through the app and its features. We want them to be able to complete these tasks without any hassle. Besides the user experience, we also ask questions to check the product vision we defined in earlier stage. There are quantitative and qualitative research methods to receive feedback varying from a focus group to a individual usability test where you record the screen and user interactions.
For receiving user feedback we use Typeform to create user surveys and share the results with clients when the testing period is completed. We like Typeform because it is mobile optimized and works well to create logical jumps in surveys (If yes, go to question x).
For screen recordings of a beta version we use the tool Lookback to track the movements and the way a user navigates through the app. The developer needs to build this tool in the beta version. It shows a small 'bug'-button that indicates that you can record your session. The user interactions will give you valuable information for continuously improving the app. While recording... all eyes are on you. We can hear and see what you do!
If you're looking for alternatives check out this overview of user feedback tools.
Let's find bugs together! Feel free to contact us if you want to have more information about beta testing your app.