What is Crowdsourced Testing? | Global App Testing
“Crowdsourced testing” or “crowdtesting” is a QA approach which relies on sending tests to a distributed community of testers around the world. We believe crowdsourced testing is a practical and efficient way to test for most software businesses to do QA.
Crowdsourced testing is effective partly because it is global – it incorporates global users, global device distributions, and in the case of UX testing, global opinions and values. That ensures it can find bugs which might only surface in certain kinds of device and environment. Crowdtesting is also a cost-effective way to manage tests which can’t be automated, and to scale your QA resource in quickly if you have a sudden peak of QA demand.
We organize our crowdtesting abilities into functional tests, user testing, and our “global growth toolbox” which incorporates some elements of either.
What is crowdsourced testing?
Crowdsourced testing, also known as crowd testing or crowd QA, is an approach to software testing where a large group of individuals, often referred to as the "crowd," are invited to participate in the testing process. Instead of relying solely on an internal team of testers, crowdsourced testing leverages the diverse skills and perspectives of a distributed community of testers.
In crowdsourced testing, the testing tasks and objectives are shared with the crowd, who then independently perform the testing on various devices, platforms, and configurations. Testers may be located anywhere in the world and may have different backgrounds and levels of expertise. They typically receive guidelines, test cases, and access to the software or application under test, and they report back their findings, bugs, and feedback to the testing organization.
This approach offers several benefits. Firstly, it can tap into a large and diverse pool of testers, enabling a wider range of devices, operating systems, and network conditions to be tested. This helps identify issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Secondly, crowdsourced testing can provide a fresh perspective and real-world usage scenarios that can uncover user experience issues. Additionally, it allows for a scalable and cost-effective testing solution, as the organization can pay testers on a per-bug basis or for specific testing tasks rather than maintaining a dedicated testing team.
To effectively manage crowdsourced testing, organizations typically use specialized platforms or services that facilitate communication, bug tracking, and test case management between the testing organization and the crowd of testers. These platforms help streamline the testing process and ensure effective collaboration and coordination between testers and the testing team.
Overall, crowdsourced testing is a flexible and efficient way to supplement traditional testing approaches, enabling organizations to leverage the collective power of a diverse group of testers to improve the quality and user experience of their software or applications.
Crowdtesting offers companies an opportunity to have their products tested by real users on real devices across the globe, ensuring a customer-centric emphasis.
Who’s involved in crowdtesting?
Crowdtesting involves a large number of testers based in different locations, which has advantages like 24/7 availability and demographic controls. With a broader set of people conducting tests in a diverse range of conditions, crowdtesting becomes a more robust testing approach capable of surfacing bugs in specific countries and locations.
Crowd testers are not a replacement for in-house QA teams. A good crowdtesting provider will still require the product and business knowledge that an in-house individual can provide, and find structures to help convey that information to individual testers. (GAT provides a technical project manager which stays with your account, for example.)
Crowd testing companies such as Global App Testing will act as project managers for a team of crowd testers on behalf of your organization. They can also match professional testers to your key demographic, to get relevant user feedback throughout the product life cycle.
Crowdsourced vs. outsourced testing—what’s the difference?
Choosing to crowdtest mostly outsources your testing; but there are many providers of QA testing which are not crowdtesting companies. Crowdtesting also does not completely outsource your testing; the strategy and direction will still require some involvement from your team. But it should allow your team to specialize in the more rewarding aspects of QA and work on the strategy and their specialist subject knowledge.
Read our article on how crowd testing is different from outsourcing in terms of outcome.
Crowdtesting is also more scalable than agency outsourcing, and is able to handle larger QA burdens and a more volatile level of client demand.
Outsourced testers always get paid irrespective of their output, while crowd testers are generally paid according to the number of bugs they find.
Is crowdsourced testing right for your organization?
Crowdsourced testing is particularly good for enhancing smaller QA teams, as it brings in a more diverse range of people to give a fresh perspective and provide user feedback. Teams with irregular testing needs can use crowdsourcing to scale their testing capacity only when the need arises, such as ahead of a big release.
Companies with limited testing bandwidth can increase their test scope and coverage with crowdtesting, while using a crowdsourcing platform for repetitive QA tasks means resources are used more efficiently.
Meanwhile, it’s ideal for the later stages of development, when the product is too complex for an in-house team to cover all possible use cases.
What are the advantages of crowdsourced tests?
Crowdsourced testing, also known as crowd testing, is a testing approach that involves leveraging a diverse and distributed community of testers to perform testing activities. Here are some advantages of crowdsourced tests:1. Diverse Testers
Crowdsourced testing allows you to tap into a diverse pool of testers from different backgrounds, locations, and skill levels. This diversity helps in uncovering a wide range of issues and ensures that your product is tested under various user perspectives.2. Scalability
With crowdsourced testing, you can quickly scale up your testing efforts by engaging a large number of testers simultaneously. This is especially beneficial when you have a tight deadline or need to test your product across different platforms, devices, or configurations.3. It’s cost-effective
Crowdsourced testing can be more cost-effective compared to maintaining an in-house testing team or hiring external testers individually. Crowdsourcing platforms often offer flexible pricing models, allowing you to pay for the testing services based on the scope and duration of the testing required. The flexibility of crowdtesting can also save you time.4. Flexibility:
Crowdsourced testing provides flexibility in terms of time and location. Testers can participate from anywhere in the world and at any time, enabling round-the-clock testing. This flexibility is particularly useful for global products or when testing needs to be conducted during specific time zones.5.Real-World Testing
Crowdsourced testers represent real users who can provide feedback based on their actual experiences and usage patterns. This helps in identifying usability issues, user experience flaws, and other aspects that might be missed by traditional testing approaches.6. Faster Feedback and Time to Market:
Crowdsourced testing enables rapid feedback cycles due to the ability to engage a large number of testers simultaneously. Increasing the speed of testing is crucial when using software development practices such as continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery or deployment (CD) to launch new apps and extra features.7. Objective Perspective
Crowdsourced testers are typically independent and unbiased. They can provide objective feedback without any internal biases or preconceived notions about the product. This impartial perspective can lead to the discovery of critical issues that might be overlooked by internal teams.8. Enhanced Test Coverage
With crowdsourced testing, you can achieve broader test coverage by involving testers with different devices, operating systems, browsers, and network configurations. This helps in identifying platform-specific or environment-specific issues that can impact the user experience.
Despite these advantages, it's important to note that crowdsourced testing also has its limitations, such as potential communication challenges, security concerns, and the need for effective test management and coordination. These factors should be carefully considered and managed to ensure the success of crowdsourced testing initiatives.
Because of its scalability, crowdsourcing is more flexible than other testing solutions like manual and automation testing. You can maintain a regular in-house team most of the time, then scale up with crowd testers any time the occasion demands. That’s why the crowdsourced testing market has grown to become a greater proportion of the overall testing pool.
Crowdsourced testing is also hot on quality. A wide network of testers is more likely to identify any problems, which could be otherwise overlooked because the in-house team is too close to the project. Crowd testers do not belong to an organization, so they are typically unbiased.
These days, companies have to test new apps, websites, and software as a service (SaaS) offerings across a huge range of devices (PCs, tablets, wearables, smart TVs, and appliances) and operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows, Linux). It goes without saying that you’ll get better device coverage by using a diverse set of testers.
This also makes crowdsourcing ideal for usability testing, leading to a better user experience (UX), and giving you that all-important feedback. By accessing a wider range of experiences and perspectives, you can ensure new software is fully relevant to your customer base.
Finally, crowdsourced testing involves individuals in various global locations, speaking a variety of languages—which is handy for translation and localization testing.
What are the disadvantages of crowdsourced tests?
Crowdsourcing testing has downsides, including confidentiality challenges with a remote workforce. Look for crowd testing services that offer NDAs, though highly secure apps may not be suitable. Testers' reliability should be assessed before hiring due to their dispersed nature, which can hinder clear communication and lead to incomplete results.
Acting as a project manager is necessary to coordinate remote testers and ensure they fulfill their responsibilities. In-house QA teams are advantageous as they are familiar with working practices and the software.
Payment is often based on bugs found, so preventing testers from prioritizing quantity over quality is crucial. Crowdsourced testers may lack the same level of investment in outcomes and goals as an in-house team.
While a remote workforce has benefits, managing time zones and cultural differences becomes important when testers are spread worldwide. Careful handling is necessary to maintain alignment among testers.
Of course, no form of testing is completely without its downsides. Probably the biggest one with crowdsourcing is the issue of confidentiality, which can be harder to maintain with a remote workforce.
It’s best to look for crowd testing services that provide assurances such as NDAs, but apps with a high level of security may not be so suitable for crowdsourced testing.
Another disadvantage might be the reliability of crowdsourced testers, which you should also check before agreeing to the hire. The dispersed nature of the testers can make it more difficult to maintain a constant and clear dialogue, which could lead to miscommunication or incomplete results.
Remember that you may also have to act as a project manager to corral the remote testers and ensure they are doing everything they’re meant to do. This would be simpler with an in-house QA team whose members are already familiar with working practices and the software itself.
Payment usually depends on the number of bugs found, so you need to make sure testers don’t prioritize quantity over quality. Where an in-house team is already part of the company culture, crowdsourced testers may not be so invested in the outcomes and goals.
Although there are clear advantages to using a remote workforce, you do have to pay attention to things like time zones and cultural differences when testers are spread across the world. It can be tricky to keep everyone on the same page without careful handling.
What is the process of crowdsourced testing?
If you decide to use crowdsourced testing, it's essential to have a well-defined plan for the process. Clearly outline the project's objectives, establish a budget, and determine whether you prefer to work directly or indirectly with testers.
Crowdsourced testing companies like Global App Testing offer hassle-free options, providing fully-managed or co-managed testing services. Alternatively, you may opt for a more hands-on approach by directly collaborating with individual testers.
Typically, companies ask potential crowd testers to complete a profile highlighting their experience, skill set, and qualifications. These testers might also be requested to undergo a trial test to assess their suitability for specific projects.
It's crucial to communicate your expectations clearly to the chosen crowd testers. Providing precise instructions and detailed test plans will facilitate a smooth process, along with regular communication, often conducted through forums.
How does the testing work?
The aim is for crowdsourced testers to monitor project tasks, identify issues, and report bugs in real-time. In certain models, the crowdsourced testing service manages the testers, while in others, testers directly interact with clients to receive instructions and provide feedback.
Many crowd testers utilize their own devices and operating systems, replicating the setup that eventual app users will have in terms of devices, networks, and locations. Others may employ device emulators or virtual machines for rapid automated testing and quick validation.
Through a testing platform, testers manually execute software tests as per client requests. These tests can include exploratory testing, specific functionality testing, as well as usability, localization, and compatibility testing. Bug-tracking software such as Jira is commonly used to identify problems.
Subsequently, crowd testers provide feedback on the software, often presenting a list of bugs and defects discovered during the tests. They frequently employ visuals like screenshots and videos to illustrate the issues.
Crowdsourced testing services like Global App Testing offer APIs that allow clients to seamlessly integrate crowd testing at any stage of the development process.
Who benefits from crowdsourced testing?
Crowdsourced testing is applicable to various software types, but it is predominantly employed for mobile and online apps, websites, and consumer software.
Products with a strong customer focus, emphasizing user preferences, are particularly suitable for crowd testing. This approach ensures that the software is usable by a wide range of consumers. Social media platforms are also expected to embrace crowdsourced testing in the near future.
The gaming industry frequently utilizes this method when specialized testing is required, making it easier to find experts by casting a wide net. Crowd testers are also deployed in areas such as e-commerce, e-learning, and logistics.
Crowdsourcing is not limited to small businesses looking to reduce costs; some of the world's largest tech companies employ this approach. Mozilla is a well-known organization built on crowdsourced testing and development, while Global App Testing serves clients such as Microsoft, Facebook, Canva, and Google.
Why crowdsourced testing benefits your organization Crowdsourced testing offers software businesses the opportunity to enhance efficiency, save costs, and ensure the delivery of a well-received product. Involving potential end-users in the testing process helps bridge the gap between developers and consumers.
By streamlining your QA testing and incorporating additional resources when necessary, you can concentrate on other aspects of launching a new app or website.
However, it is essential to work with experienced testers who understand your objectives before getting started. Exploring crowdsourced testing companies that handle recruitment and management can be highly beneficial.
If you’re going to use crowdsourced testing, you’ll need a clear plan for how the process is going to work. Define the project’s aims, set a budget, and choose whether you want to work directly or indirectly with your testers.
Crowdsourced testing companies like Global App Testing are the stress-free option, as they offer fully-managed or co-managed testing services. Or for a more hands-on approach, you might prefer to work directly with individual testers.
Who uses crowdsourced testing?
Crowdsourced testing can be used for any kind of software, but is most often used in mobile and online apps, websites, and consumer software.
Customer-centric products that focus on user preferences are ideal for crowd testing, as you can ensure your software is usable by the highest number of consumers. Social media looks set to be harnessed for crowdsourced testing in the near future.
The method is used frequently in the gaming industry when specific testing is required, and it’s easier to find experts by casting the net wide. Crowd testers are also deployed in the fields of ecommerce, e-learning, and logistics.
Crowdsourcing isn’t just a way for smaller businesses to reduce costs—it is used by some of the world’s biggest tech companies. Mozilla is the most well-known organization built on crowdsourced testing and development, while Global App Testing counts Microsoft, Facebook, Canva, and Google among its clients.
Why crowdsourced testing will benefit your organization
Crowdsourced testing is a great way for software businesses to maximize efficiency, save money, and make sure they deliver a product that customers will love. Including potential end-users in the testing process helps to bridge the gap between developer and consumer.
By streamlining your QA testing, and bringing in extra hands as and when they’re needed, you’ll be free to focus on the other aspects of bringing a new app or website to market.
Before you get started, though, make sure you’re using experienced testers who understand what you’re trying to achieve. It’s well worth checking out crowdsourced testing companies who’ll take care of the recruitment and management for you.