How many active apps are on the market? Somewhere in the 2-3 million range, if you check the Apple App Store or Google Play. To compete with existing apps, you need to launch quickly, effectively and engage users immediately.

Software testing can help ensure quality products. While time is of the essence, delivering a sub-par product riddled with bugs is a surefire way of ensuring customer churn and dissatisfied users. 

Marrying these two key elements (speed and a good product) is difficult for traditional testing methods and sparked the need for Crowdsourced Testing. 

So what is Crowdsourced Testing, and what can it do for you?

Crowdsourced Testing 101

Crowdsourced Testing is a software testing strategy that augments internal QA resources by leveraging a remote, dispersed workforce combined under individual projects. Often with the help of a third-party software testing vendor, you can combine full-time employees with part-time testers to enable a QA push when you need it most. Crowdsourced Testing provides the ability to scale up to meet a release date, then scale back.

In-house QA can have a limited capacity to stress-test every feature, in every country, on every device to meet user needs. Crowdsourced Testing has the bandwidth to test for unique and realistic conditions, such as different connectivities, devices, and user locations.

Since Crowdsourced Testing is often contracted out to a third-party partner, there’s no need to bear the brunt of hiring staff or temporary testers yourself. This method of software testing is cost-effective, fast, and scalable.

Who are crowdsourced testers? 

Crowdsourced testers are individual freelance testers based in different locations across the globe. You have access to testers 24/7 and can leverage global time zones for faster testing. These testers bring their own devices, experience, and domain expertise to a project.

Some Crowdsourced Testing vendors have the potential to provide unreliable testers. Due to the scale of work, there are incentives to let low-skill freelancers into the “crowd” and leverage different testers from run to run. Crowdsourced testers should fit the cracks in your existing QA team but meet the high standards of full-time employees.  

The best Crowdsourced Testing vendors address these problem areas in the vetting process. Tester vetting processes vary widely among software testing vendors, but here are key features you should see in your crowdsourced tester pool: 

  • Intense vetting process: Testers should be vetted for skills, experience, response time etc.
  • Device O/S diversity: Testers should mirror end-users in device variability. 
  • Location variability: Aim for testers in each critical geolocation.
  • Domain Expertise: Testers versed in different industry domains leads to intentional, informed testing practices.
  • Fair compensation: Vendors who pay per bug or higher than industry averages are more likely to snag and retain the best testers.
  • Low turnover rates: Having consistent testers across runs increases applied experience with the nuances of the app being tested.

How does crowdsourced testing compare to outsourced testing?

Using an Outsourced Testing strategy is to hire an external testing team that supplements or serves as your in-house QA unit. Unlike Crowdsourced Testing, Outsourced Testing provides a consistent testing team and has greater potential to come with skilled testing resources. 

While both methods help companies stress test their products without hiring additional full-time staff, Outsourced Testing loses the advantages of crowdtesting in that the team is based in one location, does not have the scalability of a crowd, may or may not provide a wide range of devices, and does not guarantee full visibility into testing: from test creation, to test execution, to bug reports.

Both Crowdsourced Testing and Outsourced Testing come with their own advantages and are viable options depending on your testing needs. For dedicated expert resources, outsourcing might be the right choice. For scalable execution across multiple locations, languages, and devices, Crowdsourced Testing might be the right choice.

Testlio offers an evolved method that combines the advantages of crowdsourced and outsourced testing, called Networked Testing. 

Networked Testing: an evolution of outsourced and crowdsourced testing best practices

Testlio takes an optimized approach to traditional crowdsourced testing – Networked Testing – by providing expert, dedicated resources with a burstable, distributed model. 

Like Crowdsourced Testing, a Networked Testing approach means you can access thousands of testers across the globe. This provides scalable, on-demand execution in key locations and with a wider device pool than might be available with other approaches. 

Like Outsourced Testing, a Networked Testing approach comes with dedicated, expert resources. Network testers are highly vetted – only 3% of testers are accepted into the network and 73% of them are full-time testing or software professionals. Networked Testing strategies can utilize consistent, repeat testers by ensuring that testers are managed correctly: including short assignments, collaborative approaches, and thoughtful compensation.

Other key elements of Networked Testing include a unique management model and a flexible, integrated testing management platform. To link management to testing, Networked Testing provides a single test management platform, where freelancers and full-time employees can launch runs, report issues, and see results. This proprietary platform gives visibility into data captured, including the number of bugs, devices, locations, languages, and overall test execution.

Similar to Outsourced Testing and dissimilar to Crowdsourced Testing, Networked Testing leverages dedicated resources that grow to understand the product over time. In addition, Networked Testing allows you to customize the partnership relationship, offering fully managed and co-managed strategies that align with business needs. 

Flexible management options, dedicated resources, and the collaboration strategies of Networked Testing place an emphasis on true partnership between vendor and client.

Explore more about Networked Testing with Testlio here: