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Start a Beta Program (With Nothing to Test)

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 22, 2016 8:30:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing, Customer Happiness, Beta Testing

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When I started at my new job a year and a half ago, one of the first things I did was start a beta program. This seems relatively normal for a user researcher, except for one little thing: we didn’t have the ability to turn on beta features in our product.

You heard me. I started a beta program, with nothing to beta test. For almost a year.

At first, this seemed a bit backwards. Why have a big group of engaged, super users when you can’t even give them new things to test? There are a few reasons I did this, and it ended up being hugely successful.

 

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Usability vs Beta Testing (The What & When)

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 7, 2014 1:51:00 PM / by Rachel Decker posted in Usability Testing, Beta Testing

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If you work in software and product development (or are stumbling around a UX blog…) you’ve probably heard about usability testing and beta testing. They sound kind of useful and buzzwordy, but what do they actually mean? Are they even different from each other in any meaningful way? I’m asked this question quite often, so I wanted to define what each one is -- what each one is not -- in the life of a UX researcher at a SaaS software company.

 

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Why You Should Start A Beta Program Today (And How To Do It)

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 26, 2014 5:30:00 AM / by Molly Wolfberg posted in Usability Testing, ux, Beta Testing

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If you’re looking for an easy way to get started with some user research around your product and really find out how your product fits with what your users need and want, a beta program is one of the ways to feedback and get the product in the hands of users quickly. If you’re just getting started, a beta program does takes some time to get going. But after that, it’s basically just maintenance. By definition, a beta test is a trial of software in the final stages of its development, carried out by someone not directly developing the product. Beta tests give you actionable feedback and useful data that will make your product measurably better. Once you see how valuable it is to get users’ eyes on features prior to releasing them, you won’t go back. Beta testing helps you see if users will actually use a feature, where as other research, like customer stories, personas and usability testing, tell you if something is valuable and usable.

 

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