Crowdtesting: The Good, the Bad, and the (Better) Alternative

If you work in the world of app or software development — as a developer, a project manager, a tester, or in some other role altogether — you’ve likely heard of “crowdtesting”.

Crowdtesting, or “crowdsourced testing” as it’s also known, is the practice of having a large group of people (preferably a group representative of your app’s target user base) test your app for functionality, usability, and more. The testing method has become increasingly popular over the last few years, as developers and their teams look for opportunities to release faster — and as more and more people look for additional income opportunities!

That’s an understandably appealing proposition, but when it comes to testing, relying on a crowd often costs companies the very characteristic testing is meant to achieve: higher quality.

The Case for Crowdtesting

Up-close image of ah hand holding a smartphone with a lot of apps on itIf you know anything about our company, you can probably guess that we’re not on Team Crowdtesting (more on that later). But before we can make our case, we have to acknowledge all of the reasons this method has caught fire in the app development world.

Crowdtesting Offers Diversity

As a literal “crowd” of people, crowdtesters often comprise a large, diverse group of people on a variety of devices. They may represent different experiences, come from different locations, speak different languages, and more.

This can be valuable if you want your app to reach and connect with a broad swath of the population. By receiving feedback from such a diverse group, you ensure that your app not only functions properly, but also appeals to a lot of different people.

Crowdtesting Takes Place in the “Real World”

Fans of this practice argue that the method offers “real-world” testing capabilities; in other words, testers use the apps like “real” users in “real” scenarios, as opposed to professionals who are looking for problems.

It can also be localized — testers live in every area of the world, so if you need a tester to test within a specific physical location, that’s easier to coordinate.

As with usability testing, having “real users” test your app ensures that it is user-friendly: entertaining or useful, intuitive, and functional.

Crowdtesting is Scalable

Crowdtesting enables a lot of people to test your app at once. A lot of development teams are understandably enthusiastic about the opportunity to test their apps efficiently with a large number of people from anywhere in the world.

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Why Crowdtesting Doesn’t Cut It

There are undoubtedly benefits to crowdtesting; if there wasn’t some value (particularly the points we listed above), it wouldn’t still be a viable option.

But while this method may be a workable solution, it’s not necessarily the best one. (As you might’ve guessed, we argue that it’s not). For companies, startups, and developers who truly want to develop and deliver high-quality apps, crowdtesting just won’t cut it.

Here’s why:

Crowdtesting is Not Secure

Crowdtesters test on personal devices in remote locations. While this is a boon for scalability, it’s a bust for security.

Any app that allows for (or requires) in-app payments, stores private customer information, or has high security standards for any other number of reasons should take into consideration the confidentiality of this information. If confidentiality is a priority for you (and it should be) before and after the launch of your app, then testing your app in a secure location on secure devices with a professionally-trained team should also be a high priority.

Whether you work with your internal team or outsource testers through a QA agency, it’s important to ensure the security of your intellectual and digital property. That’s not likely the case in a crowd.

Crowdtesting is Inconsistent

While crowdtesters may be paid by a testing company and some may even be professional testers, they’re not actual employees. They’re often temporary contractors, working on their own schedules, and there’s never a guarantee of communication or consistency. This can affect crowdtesters ability to communicate quickly and easily with engineers—who are working (often at high hourly rates) to get updates turned around quickly.

Working with a dedicated team of professional testers ensures not only that you always have the same people working for you on your app, but that you’re guaranteed consistent communication and dedication to your project.

Crowdtesting Isn’t Quality

Perhaps the most obvious — but also the most important — reason that crowdtesting doesn’t cut it is that crowdsourced testers aren’t always qualified to test for quality. (Do you sense that cognitive dissonance?)

While they may provide some valuable insight into the “real” user experience, they don’t always know about other important factors in the success of your app: testing for compatibility, accessibility, security, and more.

And it probably goes without saying, but professional testers are real users, too — they bring not only their professional experience to the table, but their personal experience as consumers of apps off the clock.

A Better Solution: Testing with Trained Professionals

Photo of a PLUS QA tester at deskIf you want to work with a diverse group of people, with varying devices and operating systems, who are not “too close” to the creation and development of your app, and can test like real users . . . you don’t have to turn to a random crowd.

You can test your app with trained professionals.

At PLUS QA, we’ve built a diverse in-house team — one that is consistently available, reliable, and knowledgeable about your project, saving you time and money on engineering and project management.

Our on-site device lab includes over 270 devices with varying operating systems and hardware, ensuring the confidentiality and security of your app. And because we test apps with millions of users, we narrow down and highlight the devices and browsers that are most used by your target customers. And our dedicated test managers guide and support testers directly in the office, answering questions when they encounter problems and providing feedback directly — so that you don’t have to.

We create test cases (as opposed to you having to create them for untrained crowdtesters or pay extra for them) to replicate real-life scenarios. And while we have a sizable team (with native speakers of 12 different languages from around the world), we create your project scope and budget based on your needs and what’s necessary to test your app effectively — so you get QA resources you can afford, no matter the size of your company or the stage of development for your app or the regularity of your testing needs.

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Conclusion

This isn’t just about us, though. This is about the reason you turn to testing in the first place: to ensure the quality of your app. If you want a high-quality app, you need to work with a high-quality testing team — whether it’s ours, your in-house team, or another outsourced agency altogether.

Sure, crowdtesting may seem to be an easier and faster solution . . . but in the end, you, your app, and your eventual users will always get what you pay for.

Want to find out what it’s like working with a quality QA team? Get in touch with us to learn more about partnering with PLUS QA.

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