Crowdsource testing, also known as crowdtesting, is the practice of sending out prototype software and products to broad groups of people for testing rather than having testing performed internally.
Crowdsourced testing is an emerging trend in software testing which exploits the benefits, effectiveness, and efficiency of crowdsourcing and the cloud platform. It differs from traditional testing methods in that the testing is carried out by a number of different testers from different places, and not by hired consultants and professionals.
The software is put to test under diverse realistic platforms which makes it more reliable, cost-effective, fast, and bug-free .crowdsource testing allows for remote usability testing because specific target groups can be recruited through the crowd.
This method of testing is considered when the software is more user-centric: i.e., software whose success is determined by its user feedback and which has a diverse user space. It is frequently implemented with gaming, mobile applications, when experts who may be difficult to find in one place are required for specific testing, or when the company lacks the resources or time to carry out the testing internally.
Crowdsource testing allows more individuals to participate, often at a reduced cost and with better testing quality. Testers may be developers or interested members of the general public, as in beta testing. Bug bounties, another form of crowd source testing, reward researchers and software hobbyists for finding software bugs.
Crowdsourced product testing makes it possible for a wider variety of people to try a product in a greater range of conditions than possible in-house, often leading to problems being found that might otherwise only be discovered by consumers.
Jeff Howe, who coined the term crowdsourcing, suggested that it encouraged the best-qualified and most creative participants to give input to a project.
How it Works?
Crowd source testing companies provide the platform for the testing cycles, generally free of charge to the companies whose products are being tested. They then crowd source the product to a community of testers, who register for testing the software voluntarily. These testers are generally paid per bug, depending upon the type of bug and its market price. The crowd source testing team is usually in addition to the in-house quality assurance team, not a replacement. Depending on the task, some platforms offer access to their crowd through a self-service model, a managed service by the provider, or both.
What are the Advantages of crowdsource testing
There are several advantages to crowd source testing:
The core testing team may not have all the resources to test the software in different environments and in different situations (e.g. different Internet bandwidths, devices, etc.), as it may not be possible to have all the resources to create different environments in which the software should be tested.
It is cost effective, as the product company pays only for the valid bugs reported. Usually time to test the software is comparably lesser, so it leads to better productivity and thus is cheaper than hiring engineers, designers, and specialists.
Testers performing this form of testing are unbiased towards the internal concerns of the company.
The pool of testers is diverse with variations in languages as well as locales. This helps in testing applications which are based on localisation.
As there are large number of testers testing a software simultaneously, testing can be done quickly, resulting in less time to market.
What are the Disadvantages of crowd source testing ?
There are several disadvantages to crowdsource testing
Confidentiality must be managed closely as the number of non-internal individuals looking at the system under test increases.
Immediate and prompt communication with a group of crowd source testers can be difficult.
Crowd source testers who are compensated based on the number of bugs detected may detect a larger number of less impactful bugs while skipping over more critical or harder to replicate bugs.
Crowd source testing will result in increased need for management oversight due to differences in testers' time zones and locations, languages, and cultures.
Ensuring test coverage in crowd source testing can be difficult as testing is not planned or tracked the same way as traditional waterfall or Agile test efforts.
Crowd source testing compared to outsource testing ?
The main difference between crowd source testing and Software testing outsourcing is that, in crowd source testing, testers may belong to different workplaces. In outsource testing, the testers are from the same company or workplace that is responsible for outsourcing. In crowd source testing, people voluntarily test a software with the possibility of not being paid (if no bugs are discovered). Outsource testers always get paid for their work.
Tips and tricks to keep in mind when testing your apps with the crowd:
#1 - Know Your End Users: Perhaps the greatest advantage of crowd sourced testing is that it enables companies to test their applications with people who closely resemble their typical end users. So if, for instance, your audience is shoppers in the UK with an iPhone, why would you want Blackberry users from Brazil testing your product? Or developers with emulators in a California lab? The key takeaway here is to understand your target demographic before your project begins. This way, you can receive bugs that your real end users would likely encounter.
#2 – Identify Your QA Gaps: Another key benefit of crowd sourced testing is that it helps companies solve very specific problems, particularly in terms of testing coverage. Whether it’s location, language, operating system, or some other criteria, it’s extremely important to know the shortcomings of your internal QA team. Without this, your bugs and feedback will lack the precision that crowd sourced, In-The-Wild Testing can offer. Take a look at some of your most recently reported bugs and make a list of the similarities. Knowing where gaps exist is a major advantage when considering crowd sourced testing as an option.
#3 – Call the Shots: Crowd sourcing does not change a fundamental truth of software design, development, and testing: Effective, detailed communication and project management are key to any successful project. This is true in managing in-house resources or outsourced partners, and crowd sourcing is no exception. So assign an internal project owner to keep the information flowing and manage the process. While you don’t have to micromanage the crowd in terms of tactical execution and idea generation, strong management and executive buy-in enables processes, plans, and deadlines to still remain firm when using crowd sourcing.
#4 – Be Specific (or not): Many times, a company delving into crowd sourcing will have very specific tasks it needs completed. While crowd sourcing is a great way to achieve test case execution on a large scale, companies also find it beneficial to let the crowd explore an application at their own discretion. With a diverse community of professionals that transcends location and background, you can avoid the group think that often stifles internal teams. Homogeneous internal teams – even those comprised of smart, hungry, talented people – are often less effective at discovering new issues. Again, a global community brings diverse opinions and experience (as well as fresh eyes), which can result in creative development solutions and more complete testing coverage.