Comparing Alpha and Beta Testing for Your Mobile App

Are you confused about the difference between alpha and beta testing? Testing is a crucial phase in app development to ensure that the product is secure and optimizes user experience. Both tests are conducted towards the end of the software development process and share the goal of improving product flaws. With both types of testing, it is important to use the insights to generate valuable improvements to your mobile app. Alpha testing typically precedes beta testing, leading to distinct differences between the two types.

Who’s Performing the Test

The most significant difference between alpha and beta testing lies with who’s performing the test. For alpha testing, most tests are conducted by internal employees who use techniques to simulate real users. To do this, they perform the same tasks that actual users would do with the objective of analyzing all threats and issues before the app’s public release. With beta testing, a version of the software is released to end users who provide authentic feedback on the functionality of the app. Because these end users are part of the product’s target market, they generate insights that improve the app’s quality. This ensures that your mobile app will be successful when it’s launched.

Why Perform Tests

With alpha tests, the primary goal is to test if the product actually works. For your mobile app, this means finding any bugs or errors in the code that will hinder user experience and functionality. Since beta testing occurs after alpha testing, most bugs and user errors will have already been corrected. Beta testing focuses on customer satisfaction, ensuring the mobile app is ready for public release. Alpha tests are completed in one to two-week cycles, with the amount of cycles varying on the number of issues encountered. Beta tests are, on average, three to five times shorter than alpha tests and range from three to 12 weeks in total. With alpha testing, most issues encountered make the app vulnerable, so developers usually fixed them right away. In the beta testing phase, feedback is assessed and either implemented with quick fixes or kept for future versions.

What Techniques Are Used

Another critical difference between alpha and beta testing is the type of technique used to conduct the tests. Alpha testing relies on both open box and black box testing.  Open box testing refers to a test of a mobile app’s software at the source code level and requires two basic steps:

  1. Understanding the source code: The person testing will require in-depth knowledge of programming languages to fix errors in the inner workings of a source code.
  2. Creating test cases and execution: The tester writes more code to test the application.

Open box testing is beneficial as it helps identify source code errors and optimize existing code. That being said, it is quite complex and time-consuming. Beta testing mostly relies on black box testing, which is a type of test used to improve the basic functionality of a mobile app. To do this, the source code is disregarded with only the inputs and outputs of the software being considered. This is advantageous because it provides insights from the user’s point of view.

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