Crowdsourced testing - Everything you Need to Know

Your product, developed from new and exciting ideas, is almost ready for its big launch. Yet, the question remains: have you uncovered every flaw within your software? Customer feedback suggests that overlooked bugs could significantly damage your reputation. Did you hear the tale of Cyberpunk 2077, a highly anticipated video game whose 2020 release disappointed due to severe glitches, especially on older gaming consoles? This incident underscores a troubling trend of studios releasing unfinished products, risking brand integrity in an instant social media scrutiny era.

Is there a better way to ensure product quality? Yes, there is - crowd testing. Brands worldwide use crowdtesting for cost-effective, versatile testing that engages a global community to identify and resolve issues across platforms and devices. Discover how crowdtesting can elevate your pursuit of product excellence.

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.


Evolution of crowdtesting

The evolution of crowdtesting marks a significant shift in software testing, transitioning from traditional, in-house quality assurance to a broader, community-driven approach.

1. The evolution trail

  • Early days: Initially, software testing was restricted to within organizational boundaries, depending on a small, homogeneous group of testers. This method, while organized, often missed the diversity and complexity of real-world usage, leading to undiscovered defects.
  • Digital revolution: The rise of the internet and digital platforms enabled a significant change, allowing access to a global network of testers. This shift laid the foundation for crowdtesting, distributing testing tasks across individuals from varied backgrounds and locations.

2. Growth and advancements in crowdtesting

  • Adapting to complexity: With software growing in complexity and the adoption of agile and DevOps methodologies, there was a clear need for more adaptable, scalable, and cost-efficient testing solutions. Crowdtesting platforms arose as a vital link between businesses and a worldwide community of testers, facilitating real-time feedback and a broad testing scope.
  • Democratization of testing: This approach significantly accelerated bug detection and offered insights into user experience, enhancing the quality assurance process across different user demographics.

3. The move towards user-centric development

  • User-centric focus: Crowdtesting reflects a shift towards prioritizing the end-user's needs and expectations, enabling the simulation of diverse user interactions. This ensures that the software is functional and resonates with the users' preferences and requirements.
  • Future outlook: Integrating AI and machine learning with crowdtesting platforms is anticipated to streamline further and optimize the testing process, promising increased efficiency and effectiveness in crowdsourced testing efforts.

Crowdtesting vs. In-house testing

Crowdtesting and in-house QA (Quality Assurance) testing represent two distinct software testing approaches, each with unique advantages and challenges.

1. Scope and diversity

  • Crowdtesting offers access to a global pool of testers, providing various perspectives, devices, and environments. It's invaluable for uncovering bugs that may not be detected in a more controlled setting, ensuring the software performs well under various real-world conditions.
  • In-house QA Testing typically involves a dedicated team of testers within the organization. While this can provide a focused and consistent testing environment, it may lack the breadth of exposure crowdtesting offers, potentially missing out on diverse user scenarios.

2. Speed and flexibility

  • Crowdtesting can be rapidly deployed and scaled, making it an excellent choice for projects with tight deadlines or those needing extensive testing across multiple platforms and devices. The ability to quickly gather feedback from a large number of testers simultaneously can significantly accelerate the testing process.
  • In-house QA Testing involves more predictable timelines and can be tightly integrated with the development process. However, scaling up in-house efforts requires additional resources and time for hiring and training, which can be less flexible in response to sudden changes in project scope or deadlines.

3. Cost implications

  • Crowdtesting is generally cost-effective for projects requiring a wide range of testing scenarios but does not have the continuous need to justify the expense of a full-time in-house team. It allows companies to pay per test cycle or project, avoiding the overhead associated with full-time employees.
  • In-house QA Testing requires upfront investment in team development, equipment, and ongoing salaries. However, this can be more economical for organizations with continuous testing needs in the long run, as the team can be utilized across multiple projects.

4. Quality and security control

  • Crowdtesting relies on a vast and varied pool of testers, which can sometimes result in variable quality of feedback. Additionally, sharing sensitive or proprietary information with external testers can raise security concerns. However, crowdtesting platforms often have measures in place to mitigate these risks.
  • In-house QA Testing allows for greater control over the testing process and security, as the organization can enforce strict protocols and standards. The team's familiarity with the product and company objectives can contribute to more targeted, high-quality testing outcomes.

5. Collaboration and communication

  • Crowdtesting can face challenges in direct communication between developers and testers, mediated through the crowdtesting platform. This can sometimes delay the clarification of issues or feedback implementation.
  • In-house QA Testing benefits from close collaboration between the QA team and developers. Being part of the same organization facilitates easier communication, quicker feedback loops, and more efficient resolution of identified issues.

What are the advantages of crowdsourced tests?

Here are some most notable advantages of crowdsourced tests:

1. Real-world testing

Crowdsourced testers embody genuine users, offering valuable feedback rooted in their real-world experiences and usage habits. Such insights are invaluable for pinpointing usability issues, flaws in user experience, and various elements that conventional testing methods may overlook.

2. 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 testing speed 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.

3. 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 discovering critical issues that internal teams might overlook.

4. Enhanced test coverage

Crowdsourced testing allows for expansive test coverage by including testers equipped with a diverse array of devices, operating systems, browsers, and network configurations. Engaging such a varied pool of participants aids in uncovering issues specific to certain platforms or environments, thereby enhancing the overall user experience.

What are the disadvantages of crowdsourced tests?

Crowdsourcing testing offers a unique approach to software quality assurance but comes with its set of challenges. 

1. Confidentiality management

A significant concern with a remote workforce is maintaining confidentiality. It's recommended to utilize crowd-testing services that mandate Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). Nevertheless, the inherent risks may render crowdsourced testing less suitable for highly sensitive applications.

2. Tester reliability

The reliability of crowdsourced testers necessitates thorough assessment prior to engagement. The widespread distribution of these testers can lead to communication difficulties, risking misunderstandings or incomplete testing outcomes.

3. Coordination efforts

Effective coordination of remote testers demands robust project management to fulfill all testing obligations, contrasting with the seamless integration of in-house QA teams within a company's existing workflows and projects.

4. Incentive structure

Compensation often hinges on the quantity of bugs found, potentially prioritizing quantity over quality. Instituting appropriate safeguards is vital to upholding superior testing standards.

5. Commitment levels

Crowdsourced testers might not exhibit the same dedication to the project's objectives and results as in-house teams, which could compromise the effectiveness of the testing.

6. Global management

The global nature of crowdsourced testing necessitates the management of time zone differences and cultural discrepancies to ensure tester alignment and unity, adding an additional layer of complexity to project management.

What is the process of crowdsourced testing?

Crowdsourced testing involves a structured approach to engaging a dispersed network of testers to evaluate software applications. Here's an overview of the process:

  1. Define objectives and budget: Begin by identifying the goals of your testing project. What features or aspects of the application do you want to test? Establish a budget for the testing process, considering the scope and scale of your project.
  2. Choose a collaboration model: Decide if you want to work directly with individual testers or through a crowdsourced testing platform. Global App Testing offers flexible options, including fully managed or co-managed services, simplifying the process of engaging with testers.
  3. Select testers: Crowdsourced testing platforms typically require testers to complete profiles detailing their experience, skills, and qualifications. You may also request testers to perform a preliminary test to evaluate their suitability for your project.
  4. Communicate expectations: Once you've selected your testers, clearly communicating your testing requirements is crucial. Provide detailed test plans, instructions, and criteria for reporting issues. This clarity helps ensure testers know exactly what is expected of them.
  5. Maintain open communication: Establish a system for regular updates and feedback. Forums or direct messaging can be effective for this purpose, allowing for real-time communication and resolving any issues that arise during the testing process.
  6. Review and act on feedback: As results come in, review the feedback and bug reports submitted by testers. Prioritize issues based on severity and relevance to your project's objectives and implement necessary changes or fixes.
  7. Evaluate the process: After completing the testing cycle, assess the effectiveness of the crowdsourced testing process. Consider the quality of feedback received, communication efficiency, and whether the testing met your project's objectives.

How does the testing work?

Crowdsourced testing operates through a collaborative process where a distributed network of testers examines software projects to detect issues and report bugs in real time. Here's a breakdown of how it typically works:

  • Tester engagement: Depending on the model, a crowdsourced testing service may coordinate the testers, handling task assignments and management, or testers may work directly with clients, following their instructions and providing feedback.
  • Real-user environment simulation: Testers often use their personal devices and operating systems, mirroring the diverse range of setups that end users will have. This approach ensures that testing covers various devices, networks, and geographical locations. Some testers might also use emulators or virtual machines to conduct rapid automated tests, allowing for swift issue identification and resolution.
  • Execution of test scenarios: Testers perform various software tests based on the client's needs through a testing platform. These can include exploratory testing to uncover unexpected issues, specific functionality testing to ensure all features work as intended, and other forms of testing such as usability, localization (to check the software's adaptability to different languages and regions), and compatibility (to ensure the software runs smoothly across different devices and operating systems).
  • Bug tracking and reporting: Tools like Jira are commonly utilized for logging and tracking bugs identified during testing. Testers submit detailed reports, often accompanied by visual evidence such as screenshots or videos, to demonstrate the issues found.
  • Feedback and integration: Testers provide comprehensive feedback, listing the bugs and defects discovered. Global App Testing facilitates crowdsourced testing integration into any stage of the development process through APIs, enabling clients to incorporate feedback efficiently and iteratively improve their software.

Is crowdsourced testing right for your organization?

Use this checklist to determine if crowdsourced testing is a suitable approach for your organization:

  • Smaller QA teams needing enhancement: Does your organization have a small QA team that could benefit from a broader range of perspectives and user feedback?
  • Variable testing demands: Does your team face fluctuating testing needs, particularly needing expansion ahead of major releases without the necessity for a continuous large in-house team?
  • Limited testing resources: Is your organization seeking to expand its test coverage and efficiently manage repetitive QA tasks with constrained resources?
  • Complex products in later development stages: Are you at a point in product development where the complexity exceeds the testing capabilities of your in-house team for all possible scenarios?
  • Need for scalability and flexibility: Do you require a testing method that surpasses the limitations of traditional testing approaches, such as manual and automated testing, by offering the ability to scale your testing workforce as needed?
  • Seeking diverse and impartial feedback: Are you looking for testing outcomes enhanced by the diversity and impartiality of a broad network of external testers?
  • Requirement for extensive device and platform coverage: Does your software need to be tested across a wide range of devices and operating systems to ensure functionality and user satisfaction?
  • Focus on usability testing and user experience: Are you aiming to improve usability and user experience (UX) while gathering crucial feedback to align new software with customer needs?
  • Global reach for translation and localization testing: Do you need testers from various global locations and linguistic backgrounds to ensure your software is culturally and linguistically adapted to diverse user groups?
Checking off these items can help you assess whether crowdsourced testing aligns with your organization's needs, offering a scalable, flexible, and comprehensive testing solution.

Who benefits from crowdsourced testing?

Crowdsourced testing is widely beneficial, catering to various software types such as mobile and online apps, websites, and consumer software. It's especially advantageous for products with a strong customer focus, like social media platforms, which benefit from diverse user feedback. 


The gaming industry and e-commerce, e-learning, and logistics frequently employ crowdsourced testing to access specialized skills and insights. Notably, it's not just small businesses that see the value in this approach; major tech companies, including Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google, also utilize crowdsourced testing to enhance their products.

How to get started with crowdsourced testing?

To implement crowdsourced testing effectively:

  • Select experienced testers: Ensure you work with testers who understand your objectives and can provide meaningful feedback.
  • Use crowdsourced testing companies: Consider companies that specialize in managing crowdsourced testing efforts, such as GAT, as they can handle the recruitment and management of testers, simplifying the process.
  • Plan your approach: Define your project's aims, set a budget, and decide on your level of engagement with testers, whether directly or through a third-party service.

What can Global App Testing do for you?

Crowdsourced testing companies like Global App Testing are the stress-free option, as we offer fully managed or co-managed testing services. The Global App Testing platform offers many features and capabilities to streamline your crowdtesting process. Among the most noteworthy are:

  • Effortless test management: Simplify test administration through GAT's user-friendly interface, allowing you to create, oversee, and execute tests in a centralized location, with access to over 90,000 professional testers from over 190 countries.
  • Rapid test execution: Benefit from swift test case turnaround times, typically 60 to 150 minutes.
  • 24/7 Accessibility: Enjoy continuous, on-demand testing capabilities, accessible whenever you require them.
  • In-app results and analysis: Obtain in-app results and data analysis tools that transform raw data into user-friendly formats for speedy assessment and decision-making.


To harness real-world insights, scalability, cost savings, and wider global expertise, sign up, and let's schedule a call today to get started!


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Is crowdtesting suitable for all types of projects?

Crowdtesting is particularly beneficial for projects that require real-world user feedback, testing on various devices and platforms, and those with tight deadlines or budget constraints. However, it may not be suitable for highly specialized or confidential projects.

How do I ensure the security and confidentiality of my software during crowdtesting?

Reputable crowdtesting providers have security measures to protect your software and data. Ensure that your chosen provider has a clear security policy and that strict confidentiality agreements bind testers.

How do I interpret and act on the results of crowdtesting?

Crowdtesting providers usually offer detailed reports and feedback from testers. You should analyze these results, prioritize issues, and work with your development team to address defects and make necessary improvements.

Can I combine crowdtesting with other testing methodologies?

Yes, crowdtesting can be used with other testing methods like automated, in-house, and user acceptance testing to provide comprehensive software quality assurance.

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