Crowdtesting (crowdsourced testing) has its roots in the Open Source movement, Mozilla being the most famous organization building on crowdsourced testing and development. As organizations started to explore the potential of vast online communities contributing to various projects it was a logical step for the IT industry to also begin to draw on this new form of human resource pool. In the last decade crowdtesting also became part of the set of tools that companies use to develop commercial software, as it offers previously unattainable scalability and brings the unpredictability of a real environment into the QA process.
According to a recent study by the American IT company CA, “no app feature drives brand loyalty like ease of use”. The importance of high-quality applications that appeal to the user and are easy to use is further highlighted by the fact that “consumer users will abandon an app and a brand, sometimes forever, if it doesn’t load in 6 seconds”, so the study continues.
Crowdtesting is a means to ensure that this does not happen, thanks to testing by real users under real-world conditions.
Theoretically, crowdtesting can be used to test any kind of software, but it shows its real strength when utilized for testing user-centric products aimed at a large user base. Therefore it is generally considered in case of online and mobile applications, websites and consumer software. Today’s consumer applications have to work flawlessly in various environments on a dizzying number of devices, operating systems, browsers etc. Crowdtesting is capable of mirroring this diversity during the testing process to help QA cope with the continuously evolving consumer technology. While consumer software is suited best for crowdtesting, it can also be utilized for enterprise applications. This Bring-Your-Own-Crowd™ approach, however, requires a different setup and management than crowdtesting for consumer applications.
Crowdtesting is not the solution to every problem in software QA, but it offers great help to cope with the rapid evolution of consumer technology, the extreme device diversity, and the ever-accelerating software development processes. When used to include IT experts and professional testers from the online community, it provides a large readily available workforce to solve scalability problems. As every member of the crowd owns various devices that they can utilize for testing, crowdtesting provides a huge pool of available test devices. Last but not least, crowdtesting helps to include end-users in the testing process, thus bringing the developers much nearer to the final consumers of their creations. In a new era of IT driven by consumers it is imperative for every company to bridge the gap between users and creators.
Our whitepaper, “Crowdtesting: An Overview“, presents further insights into crowdtesting and its utilization within the software development life cycle (scroll down a little after clicking the link).