Beta testing in Software Testing : Definition, Advantages

Definition
Beta testing is a type of user acceptance testing. It is the final stage of testing which is performed by the users who may be the clients, customers or end users, before the final delivery of the application. Beta testing is a term used for sending the application outside the organization to test it and to validate it. It is sent for testing once the developers are confident that the product has been built successfully. User acceptance testing verifies all the performance criteria have been achieved when the system is placed into production.

When is Beta software testing performed and by whom?

Beta testing is performed by the final users, customers and clients i.e. real users of the system. Once the testing has been successfully done at development and UAT environment, then the software is sent for testing to production environment. The application is tested in production environment which replicates the final environment where the application will be used.

UAT Environment, Production Environment, Alpha Environment, Beta Environment, Production Environment
Different Software Testing Environments


How is Beta testing performed?
Beta testing can be formed in many different ways which can check the functional and non-functional parameters of the application. Black box testing techniques are usually employed to beta test the software application. Quality parameters like correctness, reliability, usability, efficiency, etc. are evaluated in this phase of software development. User feedback is taken and necessary small changes are made in current version and pointers are made for future product releases.

Benefits of Beta testing over alpha testing

1)  The end users get opportunities to test the actual application before it is released to the market.
2)  When beta testing is done extensively more bugs are identified and fixed so that the software can be accepted. Hence it increases the software quality.
3)  Performing beta testing at customer’s end gives more satisfaction to the customers.
4)  Developers and tester do the testing with respect to coding. But when the testing is performed by customers, the actual flow of the requirement is tested. If there is any mismatch between the application and the requirements then fixes are incorporated.
5)  Beta testing is a good way to find compatibility and configuration bugs especially for the web based applications.
6)  Users who are testing the application are basically early users of the application and they can create excitement about the application in the market.
7)  The customer while doing beta testing records all the problems encountered and reports to the developers. It gives an opportunity to the developers to fix the problem.
8)  Product failure risk is minimized.

Conclusion
Alpha and beta testing play an important role in the software testing life cycle (STLC).
No matter how many tests plan you have executed or how many times you have tested your application or how many bugs you have identified and fixed, your application is useless if it is not liked by the end users. You get authentic feedback from real users. Alpha testing helps to check the software in real time environment and Beta testing helps to shape a stable application.
Involving end customer during beta testing phase creates a goodwill among them as well as provides an opportunity to “listen” from them.

Read More:
Benefits and Drawbacks of Outsourcing Software testing
Exhaustive Testing
Prototype Model v/s Waterfall Model of SDLC

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