Best Testing Types For Crowdsourced Testing

Dunya Habibi on 06 April, 2020

Crowdsourcing, defined as the utilisation of the power of crowds in pursuit of a large task, has become a widely discussed and used technique within many tech companies. That task in crowdtesting, quite obviously, is testing software and elimination of defects in a given application. Crowdsourced testing has a potential to elevate testing techniques you already have, and make the testing process more efficient and scalable overall.

Tech teams and companies are under high stress nowadays, trying to deliver tech solutions to their customers as quickly as possible. Often sacrificing part of the tech spec, teams are at risk of delivering products of a quality, that is much less than ideal. Unfortunately, testing is one of those tasks that gets tossed around the to-do lists, often kept to the very last minute.

No wonder, automated and crowdsourced testing markets have been growing in size tremendously in previous years, as companies are starting to use these tools in a race to win their customers with their software.

The list of benefits crowdsourced testing can give is very enticing, and in some cases, it sounds too good to be true. In our experience, crowdsourced testing can and does yield the promised results. However, as with any tool you might be willing to employ, strategy and planning of how you are going to do it, is crucial to its success.

Apart from general product development plans and strategic timelines, there are steps you could take, specifically in testing planning, that can get you as close as possible to defect free software.

After researching available testing types and choosing the ones most suitable to your product, you can prioritise and order the testing you ought to do.

If you are looking into crowdsourced testing, or have made a decision to utilise it, you are probably in a good place to start looking into which particular testing types go well within crowdtesting.

Here we give a comprehensive, however not exhaustive, list of testing types that are most suitable for crowdtesting, so you can squeeze as much as possible from the tool, as well as  avoid spending unnecessary resources and effort.

These testing types include some that are quite obvious, such as:

And some testing types are slightly counter-intuitive:

  • Functional
  • Content
  • Regression
  • Security
  • Exploratory Testing

    Exploratory testing is one of the least structured testing types available, which is why it is so well suited for the crowds to tackle. As the name suggests, it is all about exploration, discovery and investigation.

    In contrast with other testing types, including most of the functional and non-functional, test cases are not predetermined, and the functionality is tested ‘on the fly’. In other words, if testing cases are thought of and implemented prior to testing in other testing types, in exploratory testing test design and execution is happening simultaneously.

    Communities of testers are getting better at this with experience. Although, sometimes there is a potential of duplicate reports for bugs, that are easy to find, the crowds are usually able to find bugs, of which developers would have never thought of

    It helps eliminate what is called ‘developer bias’, which is defined as the opinions and overly perfect user flows developers have in mind when testing. This is a common benefit in many crowdtesting methodologies, which is especially obvious in exploratory testing.

    Even if you have multiple levels of exhaustive in-house testing, exploratory testing is something that is inevitably done during production. And by sourcing it to the crowds, consisting of real users, you are in a much better place to discover bugs. Plus, tester behaviour is going to be much closer to the expected behaviour of the users.

    Graphical User Interface (GUI) Testing

    Graphical User Interface testing stands for testing the user interface of a system or application. Tests on user interface elements, such as menu bars, buttons and dropdown lists can be tested within this process. In addition, GUI testing can help determine if users are able to perform the expected flows, i.e. if the user understands the interface, how to navigate it and if it is comfortable to use.

    When reading articles or blog posts on GUI testing, it is common to stumble upon a phrase “think as a user, not as a tester or developer”. You can see how doing this consciously can be a tricky task. The novelty of an application is hard to replicate, often creating the case of ‘developer bias’, mentioned above.

    Commonly used approaches for GUI testing include manual testing, model based testing and automated tools. However, none of these can actually replicate or replace real time user testing.

    Crowdtesting on the other hand, creates a perfect environment for testing user interface elements. In addition, human diversity present in crowdtesting also ensures that people from different backgrounds and abilities can navigate through your application smoothly. Perhaps the biggest advantage of crowdtesting over other testing methods is the fact that the testing is done by real users, most of whom have never interacted with your application.

    Our community in Buglance consists of more than 40,000 testers from more than 150 countries. You can access their expertise as soon as you publish your application, and get bug reports within the first 24 hours post submission. To see what other benefits human diversity brings into testing read this article.

    Human diversity in crowdsourcing is the reason why user testing types oriented on real users can be performed extremely efficiently, outperforming most other available methodologies. Which brings us to the next testing type.

    Usability Testing

    Usability testing is often considered as one of the most important testing types, and is defined as evaluation of a system or an application as a whole, usually by user representatives. In other words, it determines how easy it is to use the system and to reach user goals, as well as its intuitiveness.

    The key difference between this testing type and other bug fishing methodologies, is that this type is strictly performed by the demographic for whom the application was created.

    Similar to the points mentioned in GUI testing, real users available on crowdtesting platforms can give useful insights and report bugs. In addition, if there are any internal debates on usability of a particular feature, the tester community can help make a choice that is going to reflect a better real user reaction.

    Importantly, usability testing is usually performed before an application or its version is released. Fishing for potential users, organising focus groups to perform usability testing can be challenging and costly.

    Whereas with crowdtesting, you are able to get detailed descriptions and opinions from real users with little effort and expenditure.

    Functional Testing

    The most common categorisation of all testing types splits them into functional and non-functional testing. We have discussed in detail what those mean in this article, their characteristics, as well as some examples.

    However, put shortly, functional testing types are those which verify how well the implemented system meets the functional requirements and technical specifications. Therefore, the tests for functional crowdtesting are much more structured and oriented to validate predetermined functionalities.

    As you can see from the short description of what functional testing is, exploratory and unstructured testing does not fit this type of testing. More rigid approaches, with planning according to the technical specification documents should be the guides in managing the crowds functional testing.

    And, this is one of the reasons why functional testing is not encountered that often in the majority of the crowdtesting platforms. And those who provide this type within their services do mention the involvement of moderators, who are translating the technical specifications into test cases and descriptions for testers to execute.

    Even though this process is one of the lengthiest to complete and usually requires much more manual work than, say, exploratory testing, the crowds still bring many benefits to functional testing.

    Human and, especially, hardware diversity cannot be neglected in testing functionality of an application. Having a vast range of available devices to test on can be crucial when performing functional testing, and even more so, at the stages before production.

    On top of that, the efficiency and scalability being two of the main advantages of crowdtesting, they can definitely help speed up the functional testing process and yield quicker product development.

    Content Testing

    Content testing is not the type that immediately comes up when you think of crowdsourced testing. Not surprisingly so, since content testing is not something you could easily do using a unit test, or an automated tool sequence.

    More recently though, content testing has helped companies bring higher quality applications, which eventually get distributed to multiple countries.

    Content testing is also known as part of usability testing, and is defined as a process which determines whether written or visual content is suitable and appropriate for the audience.

    Given that the backgrounds and skill sets of the testers within communities paint a massive spectrum, it is no surprise that these testers can definitely point out to sensitive information and inconsistencies within the content.

    Moreover, the tester community is also spread around the world, which gives you direct access to native speakers of countries you are planning to launch your application to. They can point out wrong translations, incorrect grammar and potentially culturally inappropriate motives in your content.

    Buglance testers community consists of more than 40,000 testers from 150+ countries. You can select content testing during the setup process, and request specific countries to test in.

    Regression Testing

    Regression testing is a process that verifies that a recent addition or modification to a program does not interfere with the previously implemented features of the program, causing bugs and decreasing the quality of the program.

    Regression testing usually means running the full or partial suit of the previously implemented tests, after a change is introduced to the code.

    This one of the examples of how crowdtesting can be more systematic, instead of exploratory and commonly perceived random trial-and-error testing. By planning your crowdtesting endeavours you can minimise costs and make the whole process more efficient.

    Regression testing is one of the ways you can plan your testing.

    Regression testing, as mentioned previously, implies having a set of tests that gets executed every time there is a modification to the program code. It is usually performed in-house or by using automated tools in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Why bother using crowdtesting, if there are quick solutions available to developers?

    The answer to this question lies within the fundamental differences in nature of tests executed in crowdtesting vs in-house/automated testing. Tests performed by machines or small programs would not be able to cover some crucial elements of the program, such as GUI and usability.

    There have been many attempts to automate these kinds of tests, however unsuccessfully. Eventually, the tests that cannot be executed by these tools become a burden for developers, who are left to perform these tests manually over and over again.

    Therefore, regression crowdsourced testing can seriously reduce the amount of resourced developers spend on the tests that are crucial to the quality of the system, which are not applicable to existing in-house or automated testing tools.

    By opting for regression testing in Buglance, you can use the crowds to identify and eliminate bugs that occur after introducing change to your program. And that is done in addition to making sure that previously executed tests still pass, retaining the overall quality of the application.

    Security Testing

    Security testing is perhaps the most unexpected testing type to see in a crowdsourced testing article. Deliberately exposing your vulnerabilities to thousands of people might not be something you are willing to try, and rightfully so.

    Today’s applications rely heavily on large data transmissions, packages from multiple external sources and deploy large cloud infrastructures to serve a great number of users. Keeping an eye on all of these processes is hard, and crucially important.

    Security testing refers to testing processes, which aim to uncover vulnerabilities of a system and to determine that its data and resources are protected from intruders and threats. It is one of the most important aspects of testing any application, and can make or break a product within most industries. Hence, security testing is known to be exhaustive and to contain multiple approaches within itself.

    If security testing is so important, why trust it to other people you have no direct contact with?

    The reason is that you would probably prefer to expose your application with limited data on it to a community of testers or hackers, than to launch it straight to the public. When you launch it, you are more likely to expose your real user data, than when testing it with dummy data.

    It is for your (enormous) benefit then, to discover security related issues with the crowdtesting communities. Not only are the real users and hackers engaging with the applications, but they also do it at a large scale and high speed.

    Some crowdtesting platforms also offer penetration testing, where authorised hackers are deliberately attacking the system to uncover its vulnerabilities. They can, for example, find ways to gain privileged access and steal data, which is definitely something you would not want to happen.

    Before applying a tool in solving a problem, it is important to understand its nature, possibly approaches and best case scenarios. To assist you in avoiding wasting resources and effort, we have given a list testing types that are compatible and work well with crowdsourced testing.

    We can all agree that there has been plenty of improvement within crowdsourced testing lately. Surprisingly to some, it has grown out to include some testing types that seemingly go against its chaotics and unstructured nature.

    As you can see above, crowdsourced testing can accompany endeavours in testing system’s functionality, that is user-driven, for example Graphical User Interface and exploratory testing.

    On the other hand, some platforms have found clever ways of managing the processes to be able to test in a more rigid and structured way. This enables performing testing types, much less obviously compatible with crowdsourcing nature - functional, regression and security testing.

    If you would like to also see how crowdsourced testing compares to other available tools you can read through this article in our blog section. We also give a comprehensive pros and cons list of crowdsourcing, if you are still hesitant in applying it in your testing processes.