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Crowdsourced Testing for eCommerce Applications
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Testing eCommerce applications became more challenging as the users and their devices are becoming more versatile. An increasing number of users access these applications via a wide range of devices with varying screen sizes, hardware configurations, and software versions. Remember ‘Global retail e-commerce sales 2014-2025’ report published by Statista back in February 2022? The publication reported approximately 4.9 trillion USD sales in 2021 worldwide in retail eCommerce and the number is expected to grow 50% over the next 4 years.

Testing eCommerce applications involve considering a variety of scenarios to provide the greatest possible user experience across all supported platforms. Traditional manual testing isn’t enough anymore because it has a set of limitations, is time-consuming, and does not scale well with the number of test cases that need to be tested. Exploratory Testing seems to be a ray of hope. Hence, many companies are resorting to Crowdsourced testing to ensure that their e-commerce apps are up to par.

One of the primary motivating factors for Crowdsourced testing is the proliferation of devices, operating systems, and apps. Companies are strategizing how to test their apps across all potential mobile device and OS configurations to ensure the greatest possible user experience. This article will focus on what crowd-sourced testing is, why you should use it, and how you can embrace it effectively in your company’s development processes. So, let’s get started!

Why do we need Crowdsourced Testing?

Users from all around the world with varying degrees of technical expertise can now access a wide variety of customer-centric applications via the internet and mobile devices. Because of a lack of testers from a variety of cultural backgrounds, even though these applications undergo rigorous testing by professional testers in the IT team, there is still a chance that some of the flaws are overlooked. One of the biggest challenges for the IT team is making sure the software is compatible with as many platforms as possible. With each passing week comes a new operating system, web browser, and mobile device, each with its own unique set of capabilities and requirements. The enormous cost of setting up a lab and employing human resources makes it difficult, if not impossible, to evaluate an application's compatibility across a wide range of devices running multiple browsers. To overcome obstacles like narrowing down target demographics and ensuring compatibility across devices, crowdsourcing a testing process is a viable option.

The value created by the crowd is significantly larger than what can be achieved by an inside testing staff, and therefore Crowdsourced testing has been gaining traction recently. When the correct crowd is selected and it is assured that the crowd engages actively in testing and covers all sections of the application, crowd testing can give good value but should not be seen as a replacement for traditional testing. Although community testing provides several advantages, like lower costs, greater adaptability, a more diverse pool of testers, and shorter schedules, it also has its own unique issues, such as encouraging more testing, expanding test coverage, and recognizing the proper people.

What is Crowdsourced testing?

Crowdsourced testing is a novel way to quality assurance that takes advantage of both technological advancements and human ingenuity to overcome the shortcomings of more traditional forms of testing.

The phrase "crowdsourcing" refers to the practice of engaging a large number of independent freelancers instead of employees to perform exploratory testing. This Crowdsourced testing group is more efficient at testing mobile apps than in-house employees. To ensure a customer-centric focus, businesses can employ crowd testing to have their products evaluated by real users on actual devices all around the world.

With Crowdsourced testing, a broad pool of testers from many places provides continuous coverage. It is more probable that any bugs will be found and fixed if they are tested by a larger group of people under a broader variety of contexts. However, crowd testers are not a substitute for in-house QA teams, as they are familiar with the product and are aligned with the company's values and goals. The purpose is to improve existing capacities by utilizing Crowdsourced testers to cover fluctuations in demand.

Phases of Crowdsourced testing

The five phases involved in establishing Crowdsourced testing in eCommerce or any other application for that matter.

Phase I: Planning and Preparation

During this phase, the testing scope is specified, defines the background context, determine the tester skill set, create test strategies, and provide budgets and deliverables.

Phase II: Initiation and configuration

In this phase, you must prepare all of your test cases. Establish the necessary data and functional scenarios before beginning the execution of the test cases. There are some technical configurations that need to be done on the application and the test environment. It is necessary to secure the setup of access credentials for crowd testers. The testing environment needs to be configured so that it can track the activity of the tests. You can set up a phase of trial testing with crowd testers. A sample of results will be used to evaluate test readiness.

Phase III: Execution

While in the execution phase it is important to channelize the tests to the resources who are having required device. For example, Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G, with required OS & browsers. The lead or Manager monitors the test execution collaborating with a group of testers.

Phase IV: Result Evaluation

Validation of test results after execution allows for an accurate evaluation of performance. Bugs can be prioritized and fixed based on their impact. According to the agreement, crowd testing teams will be compensated based on the reported bugs. Testers will be paid for reproducing the defects raised by others too. E.g., Test.IO Once application validation is done, the team prepares the reports and deliverables as per plan. Additionally, you can rate the performance of the crowd testers. This aids in recruiting qualified individuals for future crowdsource testing.

Phase V: Closure

All the results and deliverable documents will be submitted to the client and thereby closing the cycle.

Challenges of implementing Crowdsourced testing

While many people are intrigued by Crowdsourced testing, not everyone agrees with the practice. Some people say it's fraught with danger for projects because of security issues, logistical challenges, and doubts about the availability of the necessary expertise. Some of them are given below:

  1. Confidentiality

First and foremost, a key challenge for Crowdsourced testing is confidentiality. When an application is exposed to the outside world, it breaches confidentiality and there is chance of taking advantage of loopholes of application by unknown if not found. Applications that are sensitive and critical, can avoid the option of Crowdsourced testing.

  1. Coordination

It can be a challenging task to coordinate and collaborate when you have to manage testers who are spread out across the world in different locations.

  1. Quality of bugs

Inclination of testers towards the number of bugs rather than severity of the bug as they are paid by the defects found. And there may be chance of overlooking or missing high severity bugs. Few companies pay by severity too.

  1. Communication

Communication might be another challenging aspect to reach out all the testers in time as the testers are in different time zones. A part of testers who will fall in near time zone regions only possible to reach out.

Trends in Crowdsourced Testing

Crowdsourced testing is an emerging QA technique that leverages a widespread, transient workforce to test apps effectively and rapidly. The size of the global Crowdsourced testing sector will increase from USD 1.6 billion in 2022 to USD 2.5 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 9.4%.

global-crowdsourced-testing-market

Crowdsourced testing is growing and can have significant market coverage in the future. With the gradual adoption of agile and DevOps culture, the worldwide software testing market is on the cusp of disruption. The software testing business is progressively embracing an agile mindset, using test automation and crowdsourcing technologies to address growing cyber security challenges including greater quality and faster service.

In Qentelli, we too have adopted this novel crowdsourcing approach for testing eCommerce applications of clients but also our own products. Recently we’ve exploited the benefits of Crowdsourced testing for our "TED", a dashboard to aggregate and report data throughout SDLC; and "Qniverse," an intranet portal providing a one-stop-solution for all the organizational Project Management requirements.

- Ananth Vinnakota, SVP - Delivery & Product Engineering

As a preliminary step, the product testing event is broadcast on the company-wide Microsoft Teams channels of the testers, and interested testers nominate themselves. The identified testers will then be given access to the application and provided with its requirements. Furthermore, the testing window will be announced. Diverse testers from various geographic locations and time zones evaluate the application and report any issues they encounter along with any suggestions they may have. When many testers are concurrently accessing the testing window, any performance issues or bottlenecks in the application can be pinpointed with greater accuracy and speed.

Using the crowdsourcing approach, various applications can be developed more quickly and with greater accuracy. Diverse testers use Real-World scenarios and exploratory testing to check the software. This can lead to finding application flaws, but it will also yield valuable feedback that can be utilized to enhance the current product or even suggest a new feature. Bugs that would have remained hidden prior are now being discovered with greater frequency due to this approach. The suggestions will be reviewed by the Product Owner team to determine the absolute necessities. This process not only raises product standards but also reveals where the product should be headed in the future. Also, with the optimal combination of an internal QA team and Crowdsourced testers, businesses can cut down on testing time significantly.

Careful selection of testers from varied roles, departments, geographies, and time zones is essential for a successful plan. Focused testing not only helps in offering recommendations but also points the way toward potential improvements and expansions. With this approach, the development team can think ahead to potential improvements and expansions, making the application more resilient to the future.

Benefits of using Crowdsourced testing

Crowdsourced testing has become a popular option for companies looking to test their products or applications. There are several benefits to using this type of testing, including:

  1. Cost Effective

Crowdsourced testing is more cost-effective for businesses than outsourcing testing services because companies only have to pay testers for identifying valid bugs. Furthermore, costs are reduced because testers can use their own devices to test the applications.

  1. Gains in Quality of Outcomes

When compared to traditional testing methods, results from Crowdsourced testing are superior. A larger number of people from a variety of backgrounds and skill sets have contributed ideas and feedback. As a result, the collective output is superior because more perspectives and factors are used to evaluate the application, making it more reliable.

  1. Realistic Outcome

Crowdsourced testing, in contrast to conventional methods, uses real-world scenarios and testers to produce more accurate results. Instead of relying on theoretical use cases, testers can get reliable results by employing real-world data and running the software as intended.

  1. Flexibility

Crowdsourced testing adds a great deal of flexibility to testing projects by enabling businesses to modify testing resources, locations, and schedules on the fly and make payments as needed. In addition, it enables testers to draw on the knowledge and skills of their peers as required, making for more flexible test projects overall.

  1. Quicker Feedback & Outcomes

With Crowdsourced testing, the testing cycle can be completed much faster because multiple testers can work on it simultaneously.  The entire testing cycle is linked to a continuous feedback loop from designated testers, resulting in quicker feedback, which in turn contributes to greater agility.

  1. Wide Range of Options

Crowdsourced testing entails distributing tasks to a large pool of testers from a variety of backgrounds, equipped with a wide range of devices and operating in a variety of settings. This allows for a greater variety of tools and expertise to be used. In addition, Crowdsourced testing is useful for taking advantage of a variety of test resources and environments when an organization does not have access to or control over those components.

  1. Unbiased Opinion

Due to the testers' ability to operate independently in a realistic setting while maintaining an objective perspective, this method also facilitates the collection of more objective opinions and insights. They are not part of any other teams, which means they can provide objective feedback and analysis without fear of bias.

  1. Higher test coverage

The test coverage can also be improved with the help of crowdsourcing. Because the application is put through a variety of scenarios and environments, businesses can achieve greater test coverage.

Crowdsourced testing for eCommerce Applications

Despite the apparent simplicity of crowd testing, its implications are extremely far-reaching. Traditional methods of in-house testing rely on a select, and potentially biased, group of employees. Multiple crowd testers from different locations use the same platform to simulate real-world conditions in real-time. For eCommerce applications, it is important to test across the devices and at the same time, not compromise the quality of the application. As the eCommerce platform adds on different products and revamps the website continuously, it is critical to test the application on a timely basis without any issues. Any small deviation or hindrance from the expected behavior translates into revenue loss, especially during the high-volume business seasons, for example, Christmas & new year. Also, with increasing competition in the market, it is equally important to bring new features faster to the market. To handle it in time and weed out defects; crowdsourcing is considered the best option.

ROI through Crowdsourced Testing

increase-in-capacity

Conclusion

eCommerce applications are used across the globe, so they need continuous improvements to the application and performance. Crowdsourced testing is the best option to test the application rigorously within time. As these applications need to be tested for many devices and OS, it could get cumbersome and time-consuming task for in-house test team. Taking the advantage of Crowdsourced testing helps in qualitative application outcome. With Crowdsourced testing as part of your QA strategy, you can reduce the time and effort your team spends on manual testing without sacrificing quality. Discover how Qentelli has helped eCommerce development teams, among others, to streamline their testing procedures. For that, just drop us a note at info@qentelli.com