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Crowd Testing Uncovered: Leverage Collective Insights for Better QA

Introduction

According to a report by Grand View Research, the global crowdsourced testing market size in 2022 was USD 2.62 billion. The expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2023 to 2030 is 11.7%. This data clearly defines how beneficial and popular crowd testing is for the optimum growth and success of a software application.

In this article, we will cover the essential aspects of crowd testing. It will help you understand how adopting crowd testing as an organization or business can promote your growth manifolds.

What is Crowd Testing

Crowd testing outsources software testing to many external users with diversified locations, devices, platforms, and expertise. This approach helps in gaining the perspective of a global user community regarding the AUT (Application Under Test).

A “crowd” spread globally performs the testing activities rather than an in-house testing team. Therefore, there is no limitation to the testing scope due to the involvement of many users/testers. Crowd testing is a cost-efficient and faster alternative to traditional software testing.

Several crowd testing platforms bridge the gap between customers and businesses, and few examples are Testilo, Digivante, Global App Testing, etc.

Phases in Crowd Testing

Phases in Crowd Testing Image

Planning

Businesses decide and plan upon the testing scope, expectations, project deadline, tester’s skills, communication channel, etc. If the business has decided to use crowd testing platform services, then the platform hires the testers and manages other related details. One business expert will be a project manager to coordinate the testing project and maintain communication.

If the business is hiring/choosing crowd testers themselves, they must manage all the fine details.

Initiation

In the case of a crowd testing platform, the project manager posts the testing requirement, scope, deadline, goals, etc., on the platform. Otherwise, the project manager hires freelance crowd testers through freelancing websites or targets the existing users as testers.

Preparation

Project coordinator/manager prepares the test plan, test cases, test environment, user access, training/ trials, password, etc., to share with the crowd testers.

Execution

Once everything is prepared and testers are ready for the actual testing, the test execution starts. Crowd testers provide user feedback and bug reports to the project coordinator.

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Evaluation

Project coordinator reviews the bug reports for validity, clarity, priority, etc., and decides what needs to be fixed first. The crowd testers are paid and rated based on their performance.

Completion

The crowd testing cycle is marked complete. If further insights are required after bug fixes, the process is repeated with new testing goals and expectations.

Best Scenarios for Crowd Testing

Mobile application testing

Mobile application testing is the best use case for crowd testing. Users with different devices, operating systems, platforms, configurations, etc., test the mobile application. This process helps in a broader test environment coverage.

Web application or website testing

Crowd testing helps to evaluate the usability, user experience(UX), responsiveness, compatibility, functionality, etc., of the web application or website. Crowd testing is carried out across various browsers, platforms, and device combinations, which is challenging to set up in-house.

Game testing

The gaming application market capture is enormous, with new market players entering and developing gaming apps at high velocity. Therefore, verifying the app’s user experience, performance, and playability on different platforms is crucial for its success and profit.

With crowd testing, targeted age groups with different gaming expertise test the application. Developers resolve bugs, fix user experience glitches, and provide a seamless gaming experience to end users.

Usability testing

User experience and usability are of utmost priority for any application’s success today when numerous apps are available for a single user problem. If the app fails to provide usability and a great user experience, the users will take no time to switch apps.

Crowd testing resolves this problem beautifully. Quick and high magnitude of feedback from crowd testers leaves enough room to incorporate usability and enhance user experience before launching the application for real users.

Localization and globalization testing

Crowd testing is quite convenient regarding localization and globalization testing of an application. Globalization testing ensures that the application caters to a worldwide audience. Localization testing ensures the application design caters to an audience with a specific language, locale, or culture.

With crowd testing, it is easy to pick the crowd testers based on location, culture, language, etc. So, it helps test the application for globalization or localization bugs such as translation, cultural sensitivity, language accuracy, or any confusion to users.

Performance testing

Crowd testers can help simulate the application’s real-world load when deployed in a similar number or location, performing the expected user actions.

Doing so reveals performance issues before the actual launch to the real users. Developers fix scalability, reliability, performance, and user load issues to provide an optimum user experience.

IoT (Internet of Things)

IoT and wearable devices, such as smartwatches, fitness bands, and smart glasses, are in trend, with a vast customer base. These devices require testing for functionality, interoperability, integration, communication with other devices, usability, user experience, etc. Crowd testing, where actual users will test the different dimensions of these devices, is of immense help in such cases.

Benefits of Crowd Testing

Feedback from real end-users

In crowd testing, the actual end-users test the application. They do not have any information from the development team about the application and its features. Therefore, they will understand the application flow independently and perform user actions.

Crowd testing will help to receive authentic feedback from the end users about the usability, accessibility, and user experience.

Diverse geographies of users

The crowd involved in crowd testing is spread globally, with different languages and demographic characteristics. This diverse geographic spread of users helps perform localization, multilingual, and geolocation-based software testing with no separate setup.

Varied testing environments

Crowd testers have different locations, devices, platforms, OS, browsers, network configurations, internet providers, etc. This unique feature of crowd testing provides all possible testing environments to the testers. Achieving such a diversity of testing environments through in-house testing is very expensive in terms of effort and cost.

Cost-effective compared to traditional in-house testing

Setting up testing infrastructure which is spread globally, requires enormous financial costs. Also, managing an in-house testing team across geographies that can work 24/7 is expensive.

With crowd testing, setting up the infrastructure and team is separate from the organization since all the testing responsibilities are outsourced to the crowd. Therefore, crowd testing is a highly cost-effective alternative to in-house testing with considerably visible results.

Provides greater scalability

With a testing crowd spread across the geographies, does anyone need to worry about the scalability of the testing environment, scope, or activities? Not anymore!

If there is an urgent requirement to scale up the testers to enhance the scope quickly, achieve it with crowd testing without hassle. Similarly, for reduced testing requirements, the crowd testers can be scaled down to fulfill the new scope of testing with flexibility and ease.

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Faster speed of test execution

Today, in faster CI/CD cycles, speedier test execution is an absolute requirement. Crowd testing engages many testers, and the test cases execute simultaneously, round the clock. These advantages help in faster execution, bug reporting, and feedback implementation. The ultimate aim of quickly producing a high-quality application becomes achievable this way.

Reduces time-to-market of AUT

Organizations always look for a faster time-to-market to have a competitive edge over other products. Crowd testing helps achieve this with the help of accelerated execution, quick feedback, scalability, and a vast crowd community that can test 24/7 in parallel.

Drawbacks of Crowd Testing

Lacks confidentiality

Remote crowd testers execute the test cases, and there could be cases where no NDA(Non-Disclosure Agreement) is signed. The application is handed over to unknown testers who might misuse confidential application data/ information. Therefore, applications that require security and confidentiality are not a good fit for crowd testing.

Examples are apps containing proprietary algorithms, sensitive data(medical), confidential data(financial), etc. In such cases, crowd testers should be a controlled group trusted by the organization.

No communication within the crowd

The testers work remotely, and no test plan or test strategy exists. The testing crowd does not communicate with each other and works independently to find bugs and report them in isolation. Sometimes, this lack of communication may result in duplicate bug reporting, rework, and wasted effort.

Need to validate reported bugs

The pay-per-bug crowd testing may result in more minor/cosmetic bugs to increase the bug count. The testers’ focus will get diverted from identifying major/critical bugs in such cases. Also, this may result in invalid bug reporting by the crowd. Therefore, QA experts must validate the reported bugs, accept them for bug fixes, and pass them on to the development team.

Dependent solely on the crowd’s skills

Unlike waterfall or agile methodology, there is no test plan, team, sprint, or manager in crowd testing. To align the crowd testing with the sprint, stakeholders should carefully plan. Here, the application’s success solely depends on the tester’s commitment, expertise, and skill set.

Users may lack domain knowledge

Crowd testers may not have the required expertise in the application domain. This lack of domain knowledge will result in incorrect and incomplete testing. The solution is to deploy crowd testers with the required domain knowledge, or else the whole purpose of crowd testing will fail.

Otherwise, domain experts can be associated in the overall crowd testing process with the crowd to help with the domain knowledge wherever required.

Conclusion

Crowd testing is a cost-effective and faster solution to traditional software testing. A few drawbacks are associated with crowd testing, as with any other testing approach. The key to success lies in identifying the need, scope, and crowd for testing. Then implement it with proper planning, strategy, quality control, integration, and communication channels.

A hybrid of in-house and crowd testing can help any organization reap the benefits of both and deliver a high-quality and user-friendly application to its users.

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