Beta Tester Of The Month – July 2015 – Philip Erbe

This month we feature Philip Erbe as our Beta Tester of The Month. He’s been at Beta Family about a year and has tested a LOT of apps. Can you guess how many?

Name: Philip Erbe

Age: 26

Nationality: American

Interests: Mobile Gaming and movies.

Devices you own: I test using the iPhone 6 plus, iPad mini retina, and the htc one.

How many apps have you beta tested?

I have beta tested around a hundred apps both on the beta family site and off.

What is your best quality as a tester?

I am always passionate about the application I am testing. Developers don’t need someone who would never be a potential customer. It’s not just bug testing but also insight into what would make people enjoy their app.

What is your favorite app?

My favorite app that I have beta tested would definitely be Arcanox, I still to this day play it!

Do you have a favorite app developer or company?

My favorite developer has to be Christian Teister of Juhu Games. We built up a great working relationship during his testing on beta family. Christian even ended up using my review in his game trailer you can check it out on YouTube just type Arcanox.

Arcanox Cards vs. Castles

How come you started with beta testing?

I started becoming a beta tester because I love mobile gaming but I noticed two problems. First developers were getting one star reviews not based on their game but the bugs they didn’t iron out. The second was the free to play boom created really unfair game mechanics that were designed to bankrupt players. So I set out to help fix both!

What kind of apps do you most like to test?

I really love testing almost everything but if you put multiplayer in it I’m hooked!

As you’ve tested lots of apps you must have encountered many bugs and faults. Is there one bug or fault you see often that you feel developers should know about and fix before starting the beta testing?

The biggest problem I see is free to play games not giving their testers proper in app currency to fully test the game. Testers need access to everything to find bugs. Unless you are testing how far they can get without money, make sure to have coupon codes ready at testing or an unlocked store.

Why are you a part of Beta Family’s community?

Because it really is a community! Many sites like to throw that word around but Beta Family means it. I have had the opportunity to work with some truly great developers! Thanks to the great rating system developers also have a place to find intelligent and passionate beta testers.

How long have you been a member at Beta Family?

I have been a member for a little over a year now.

Do you have any tips for newly started beta testers?

It’s simple be honest, thorough, and always respectful. These developers often put their hearts and souls into making these apps so it’s important to test the right way.

What’s your philosophy towards beta testing?

It may sound silly but beat the app up! You have to try every combination of things to make the app crash. If you don’t there is bound to be one customer who will and ends up leaving a one star review.

What three things do you need to be successful in beta testing?

To be a successful beta tester you have to be creative, methodical, and have a passion for it.

What are the best and worst things about beta testing?

The worst is trying to recreate a bug that happens inconsistently! The best is getting recognized for your work!

Would you rather test apps for bigger companies or new start ups?

While I do love both, start ups hold a special place in my heart. You just get a level of communication and also impact that you typically don’t get from larger companies.

What makes an app exciting to test?

Honestly it’s not the apps themselves but the developers. It’s exciting when they keep a good dialogue through out and let you know that your opinions really matter. There’s nothing more exciting than knowing changes that you help make will be seen by everyone who downloads that app.

How many apps are on your phone right now?

Too many but there almost always changing. I always like to be beta testing one or two.

Are you a gamer? If so, what kind of games do you like?

I consider myself a mobile gamer fanatic! Especially mmorpgs I’ve played almost every one on the app stores. Right now my favorite is tai chi panda.

A big thank you to Philip for taking the time to give us his opinion on beta testing! I really like his philosophy towards beta testing. Don’t you?

As always we’ll have a new Beta Tester of The Month coming up next month. Subscribe so you don’t miss it!


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry.

Beta Tester Of The Month – June 2015 – Dmytro Ovcharenko

Dmytro Ovcharenko is our June Beta Tester of the Month. We’re really happy to have him in our community! Here at Beta Family he tests mobile applications in his spare time. Continue reading to find out what makes him such a good tester!

Name: Dmytro Ovcharenko

Age: 29

Nationality: Ukrainian

Interests: Programming, testing, music and yoga

Devices you own: Google LG Nexus 5 (Android 5.1)

How many apps have you beta tested?

For all the time I’ve tested about 70 different applications.

At the moment I am testing two applications. I try not to take on testing a lot of apps to be able to give each application a sufficient time for quality testing.

What is your best quality as a tester?

Attention to detail. And also the belief that any application has bugs, just want to find them.

What is your favorite app?

I have no favorite app. Each application serves a different purpose.

Do you have a favorite app developer or company?

No, because I don’t think it’s important who’s developing the app. What is important is if the app was good and useful or not.

How come you started with beta testing?

I began working as a mobile application tester in an software company and to improve my skills began to test the application on The Beta Family.

What kind of apps do you most like to test?

In the beginning I tested all apps that were available to me. Recently, however, I like to test games because they are fun. Testing of major applications I have enough on my work so I don’t want to test complex applications in my spare time.

As you’ve tested lots of apps you must have encountered many bugs and faults. Is there one bug or fault you see often that you feel developers should know about and fix before starting the beta testing?

Unfortunately, lately it seems to me that the developers do not run their applications on devices. Sometimes bugs do not even need to look. Just run the app and they seem themselves.

Why are you part of Beta Family’s community?

Because I’m curious to see what new apps being developed and help to improve them.

How long have you been a member at Beta Family?

About six months.

Do you have any tips for newly started beta testers?

When you begin to test different applications, you will notice that questions often are repeated. Don’t write the same answer every time, do a template of typical responses and adjust it depending on the application.

What’s your philosophy towards beta testing?

In any application there are always bugs.

What three things do you need to be successful in beta testing?

  1. Attentiveness
  2. Curiosity
  3. Interest in testing

What are the best and worst things about beta testing?

The worst thing in beta testing is that the apps always have more bugs than in those that we use every day.

The best thing is that you can use the app anywhere and become one of the first who tried it.

Would you rather test apps for bigger companies or new start ups?

I prefer to test applications for new start ups.

What is it that makes an app exciting to test?

Its usefulness or exciting, depending on the destination application.

How many apps are on your phone right now?


A big thank you to Dmytro for taking the time to answer my questions. I really like his tip on how to be a successful beta tester. Anyone else make templates for repeated responses? Remember to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss next month’s Beta Tester of the month.


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry.

Beta Tester of The Month – May 2015 – Tasha Sumo

Welcome to our new segment here on the blog called Beta Tester of The Month! We want to show some appreciation to our top testers here on Beta Family and will interview one of them each month. These guys are doing an amazing job, as many of you are, helping the app development companies with their beta testing.

To kick this off I’m happy to present our May 2015 Beta Tester of The Month, Tasha Sumo. We’re stoked to have her in our community!

Name: Tasha Sumo

Age: 28

Nationality: American

Interests: Earth science, technology, writing, baking

Devices you own: Apple Ipad 2, Lenovo Ideapad, Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Apps tested: Over 102 apps.

What is your best quality as a tester?

I read the description for the app so I have a general idea of what I am testing and I use this as somewhat of a guideline of when I test the app.

What is your favorite app?

My favorite app is a number guessing app called Fermi. I found myself really thinking as to the order of the numbers and the layout for the numbers is on clouds.

Do you have a favorite app developer or company?

I really don’t have a favorite app developer/company.

How come you started with beta testing?

I started with beta testing to learn about new products out there that I could share with family and friends, to be one of the first to try an app and share feedback that might be able to help the developer.

What kind of apps do you most like to test?

I like puzzle, productivity and game apps.

As you’ve tested lots of apps you must have encountered many bugs and faults. Is there one bug or fault you see often that you feel developers should know about and fix before starting the beta testing?

I think for app developers, who wish to change the system for the phone, the greatest bug there is losing the ability to use the phone itself.

Why are you a part of Beta Family’s community?

I am part of the Beta Family because I like the features of the site. I can test out apps, share feedback, possibility earn cash and maybe one day even submit my own app for feedback.

How long have you been a member here at Beta Family?

I’ve been a member for over 2 years.

Do you have any tips for newly started beta testers?

The three tips I have are:

  1. Get a feel of how the Beta Family site works and the testing process. It’s good to familiarize yourself with what is involved for the testing because in testing both Android apps and IOS apps, the testing process can be different for the apps.
  2. Test both free and apps that pay. By testing both types of apps you will be exposed to a greater variety apps and can become more well-versed.
  3. Be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for the testing process to start and once you start testing, it takes time to build your rep as a beta tester.

What’s your philosophy towards beta testing?

Beta testing is more than just downloading and reviewing, it’s a chance to make a difference, build connections and try something new or improved.

What three things do you need to be successful in beta testing?

To be successful you need:

  1. A schedule. Know when the test will end and make sure you devote time during the testing period to accurately test the app.
  2. A working device. If the device is defective that is not helpful in beta testing.
  3. An open mind. Though some apps might seem similar, keeping an open mind and not a pre-set attitude will help to test the app more fairly.
  4. What are the best and worst things about beta testing?

The worst thing about beta testing that it’s sometimes time-consuming, the best thing is the chance to share feedback.

Would you rather test apps for bigger companies or new start ups?

This is a rather hard question to answer. I stated previously that I really don’t have a favorite developer or company and this goes for both startup and bigger companies. But I would rather test for bigger companies because they might be more willing to offer products for beta testing. I do like the new of ideas of startups too.

What makes an app exciting to test?

The description of the app and the preview screenshots for the app.

How many apps are on your phone right now?

Not including bloatware, I would say more than 40.

Are you a gamer? If so, what kind of games do you like?

I’m a bit of a gamer, I enjoy role-playing games, adventure games and strategic games.

A big thank you to Tasha for being our first Beta Tester of The Month! We really appreciate her hard work and hope she’ll find many more apps to test here at Beta Family.

Next month we’ll feature another top tester so make sure you subscribe to our blog.


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry.

Board of advisor Ron Packard Jr tells us about his new game and how he uses beta testing

I asked our board of advisor Ron Packard Jr from Cloudburst games if he could tell us about how he started with app development and how he uses beta testing for his products. He was kind enough to give us info on the soon to be released puzzle game Castle Breakout – Escape! HD, so keep reading to learn from this successful animation producer.

Ron-Packard-JR-profile-photoRon Packard Jr was born in California, USA. His interest in computer games developed early and his parents encouraged him to make his own games in his youth. That proved to be a great idea as he is now a studio producer leading a team of fifteen 3D animators and programmers, working with mobile app development and creating amazing games. His apps have over six million downloads and are at the top of the charts in several countries all over the world.

Hi Ron! Thanks for doing this interview! Tell us about your company and what you are doing.

Cloudburst Games is a mobile content development studio in transition from making talking apps to creating beautiful photo-realistic “room escape” puzzles for adults. Our current games have had over seven million downloads and two hundred million play sessions worldwide. The new room escape genre app we’re preparing to roll out – Castle Breakout – Escape! HD is a very exciting project, which our beta-users seem to be enjoying.

Here are a couple of quotes from our beta testers to provide examples of the kind of response Castle Breakout is receiving:

“The game overall is beautifully well done, with just enough difficulty crafted into it to keep you interested, but not enough to make you quit. A perfect balance.”

“Overall this is a very polished game and one of my favorite puzzle games I’ve played in some time.”

We believe the feedback we’ve had so far for this game points us to the potential for huge success. The beta testers aren’t paid and have no incentive to tell us anything but the unvarnished truth.

One beta tester became a super fan and freely offered us the following image showing an iPad, 6” iPhone, Macbook, and 2nd computer screen all working at once for the game. We have placed this image on our “fan art” blog that’s attached to our website.


How come you started with app development?

Cloudburst Games started in 2010 doing talking apps. I chose app development because in high school I was an avid hobbyist programmer, and I made a few games that were quite popular in college.

We weren’t always so successful. When the “talking app genre” was yet in its nascent stages, I believed it had great potential because it had a high barrier to entry for programmers because of its complexity, yet easy enough for me to do. My wife and I had a young daughter at the time and I figured that making a girl talking app would be fun – and thus was born the Talking Nicky series. Yet my faith in its potential wasn’t proven to be true as it was never a big money-maker.

How long do you stick with an idea for an app before giving up on it?

As I said, the Talking Nicky series didn’t make much money. At the same time I began, Outfit7 did their Talking Tom Cat which was wildly successful. So after about five or six Talking Nicky’s, about a year later, I switched to animals. I’ve always loved comedy and animals, so switching was appealing to me. I hired a comedian animation director who came up with the funny ideas for the Talking Duke Dog.

Sure enough we did quite a bit better with Talking Duke Dog and we did a Talking Duke Dog 2 which did even better. We didn’t do nearly as well as Outfit7 and on hindsight perhaps we could have done much better with a publisher. But we did gain seven million downloads and a hefty chunk of our needed monthly salary.

In my “focus group” for Talking Duke Dog I had a few real kids at my house and they unanimously said it needed a game. Unfortunately, after three years I wasn’t able to get the money to add a game. And that’s the point we decided to finally leave the Talking App genre. In fact, I’ve sold my talking apps to a kind man who wishes to continue with them.

After about two to three years, Outfit7 took the animal characters very, very far in the genre. It took me until recently to discover that the reason I didn’t feel like committing and following them that far was because I didn’t play with dolls or action figures nearly enough as a child. Those were not my favorite toys by far. I feel that the genre now belongs to those who loved their dolls and action figures when they were kids.

What I recently discovered is that you need to be true to your sixteen year old self. When I was sixteen, I built a mad puzzle on the computer. So I’m now doing a puzzle on the Mac, iOS and Android and I’m excelling a little beyond belief.

Do you prototype?

I’ve got a collection of contractors who are also avid game players, so we are generally very confident in our ideas. So no, we don’t prototype.

Do you test your ideas on people?

No we don’t, except internally. Rather, I make sure we have enough creative perspectives in our own group and listen and discuss opposing and contrasting ideas within our group.

What motivates you and what are your goals?

My goals are to conquer the top of the Puzzle category within five years. They say you’ve got to go big or go home, well, I think that’s true. Our vision is to give casual gamers who just want a challenging puzzle experience whenever they have spare time something they’ve never experienced before! I want them to feel challenged but not overwhelmed, and enthralled with the graphics nd storyline. We believe this is a formula for substantial success in the “escape game genre.”

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful app developer?

I’m not sure I can speak for every developer because so many people can leverage their unique skill sets in ways that I can’t imagine. I think the important thing is to know yourself and know what your own unique skills are nd how to properly leverage them.

A great source of inspiration is the “Gallup Poll StrengthsFinder” which gives you a set of 34 personality results from strongest to weakest, and also the “Gallup Poll Entrepreneur Profile” which gives you your ten highest strengths.

My top StrengthFinder strength is strategy, and my highest Entrepreneur strength is Creativity. So I really excel at looking at new genres and identifying ways to fill an unmet need.

Can you tell us a bit about your new app Castle Breakout – Escape! HD?

Castle Breakout – Escape! HD is a terrific game which takes the current room escape genre and pushes the boundaries, almost creating a new genre. It has eleven stereo medieval songs, and about 100 unique stereo sound bites for each action. The game features stunningly beautiful rendered images, an amazing flight with a magical dragon, a comic book intro and animated animals to give entertainment.

Castle Breakout is due in the Apple & Google store for Mac, iOS, and Android in mid-May. With its oversized images, the game is truly glorious on the Mac.

What problems are you facing right now?

Like with many developers, funding during the development phases is often a challenge. I’ve done this app completely without money (for one and a half years) using the promise of future royalties to pay my contractors. The sale of my talking apps gave me the funds I need to finish Castle Breakout.

What do you feel are the positive aspects of using a crowdtesting platform for beta testing?

It’s been enormously helpful to further the cause of Castle Breakout with Beta Family’s crowdtesting service. Enormously! What we’ve found from extensive testing is that the users are now saying it comes across as “polished.” Beta Family offers free reviews and that has been a life-saver for me.

If I could answer the question, “What’s the number one thing that differentiates a crummy app from a great one?, ” it would be the amount of polish it has. I see in the App Store so many developers who must have worked for years on an app, only to see it fail miserably because it just plain doesn’t work, not to mention don’t perform with elegance or isn’t polished with the details that consumers notice in an app. The need for exhaustive beta testing has never been greater.

Can you tell us more about your testing plan?

With Castle Breakout, I waited until the app was in a fairly mature state to begin testing. Then I began testing the app every three weeks or so. I’ve given it five tests so far, and I plan to do about two more on Castle Breakout before its launch. I try to find new people for each test for fresh perspectives. I try to pay Beta Family about ¼ of the time to keep them happy, and they seem OK with that.

When working with the beta users, I remain very polite and tell them when I’ve fixed their issues. I respond to all their pain points and tell them what I’m doing. If I don’t agree with one of their issues, then I tell them so with my reasons. I respond to every message they leave me, and always help the newcomers with their technical support issues. Treasure the beta testers and they will treasure you.

I tend to give beta testers 5-stars feedback unless they are rude or mean-spirited. Beta testers need to stay positive as it does affect our collective moods.

I also share all my reports – both positive and negative, with my contractors. It tends to excite, motivate, and give us some discussion points about what needs to be fixed. To help facilitate such discussion remotely, we use Basecamp, which is another lovely tool for collaboration.

Why did you choose The Beta Family over other similar services?

As far as I know, the Beta Family is the only beta testing service that provides a community of users. Everything about the service works real smoothly. It’s an excellent service and a great value package. I couldn’t be happier!

The talented team from Cloudburst-games

I hope you liked this interview with Ron Packard Jr and don’t hesitate to flick me a message if you have any questions. If you liked it then perhaps you’ll appreciate the interview I did with TED Speaker Dr Ayanna Howard.


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry. View all posts by Malin Klockare Gullesjö

Things to consider when testing wearable technology

The world is becoming increasingly connected and we’re starting to use more than just our mobile, desktop and tablet to get the information we want. Wearable technology has recently become a popular topic and increasingly so after Apple announced the arrival of their new device – the Apple Watch.

What exactly is wearable technology?

The loose term of wearable tech covers a bunch of high tech gadgets that you wear on your body and they can be replacements for accessories you use. The gadgets often have smart sensors to access data from your everyday wear and tend to be connected to your phone using Bluetooth.

There are already a lot of wearables on the market. For example, fitness trackers in the form of a watches, bracelets, headbands and clips or a wristbands that monitor your every move wearable technology braclet and measure your heart rate. Or a pair of smart socks that monitor your foot landing technique and tell you if are landing on your sole or heel, while you are running!! If you have bad posture you can get a waistband that notifies you when you are slouching. It’s like having a personal trainer on your back, all day long.

If you’re like me, reaching for your smart phone and checking notifications all the time, you can hide your smartphone obsession and wear a smart ring instead. Then you won’t need to lift a finger (pun intended) to see how popular your latest tweets are.

The anticipated Apple Watch will work as a regular wrist watch but also give you notifications from your iPhone.

We customers have lots of products to choose from and a many things to consider before buying a piece of wearable technology. This means app development companies have a lot to think about too, like figuring out which features are the most important to their customers. Here are a number of things to considering when making wearable technology and apps for them.

  • Battery life is a huge factor for all electronic devices. If you’re supposed to have the gadget on you at all times, when will you find time to charge it? How much batter is enough? It’s vital for app developers to take the device battery life into consideration when making apps.
  • You never know when you might get caught in a rain storm or blizzard, we need water resistant devices.
  • I quite like it when devices work together, so if I get a wearable gadget I need it to be compatible with my phone and/or computer regardless of brand or version.
  • The design of the gadget is a huge factor as the developers want buyers to wear the gadget for a long time. A pair of smart glasses need to be quite spectacular before I hop on the bandwagon and look like everyone else. Apple has used similar design on many of their product with some alterations and the crowd still gets in a frenzy when a new version is to be released. Will the wearable tech designers find a golden design that makes the crowd go nuts?
  • The screen on the gadgets will be smaller than on smartphones as the wearable tech needs to be light and easy to carry. This means the screens need good lighting and clear fonts so we can see. If the developers want to attract an older audience that are used to bigger screens they might need to develop specific models for them.

What does this mean for app testing?

The use of smartphone and wearable technology devices won’t be the same. We need to adapt when developing and testing apps for wearable technology. An innovative market with apps that are functional, user-friendly and works with the increasing range of devices is needed. Consumers expect apps to work from the start, which means the apps will need to be tested.

It’s probable the apps for wearables will be light versions compared to the phone and tablet versions. For example, lets say that you have an app to track your running. On a device with a bigger screen you can view more information on how many calories you burn and the route you choose among other things. But with wearables such as a watch with a considerably smaller screen you might have to settle for only knowing how many k’s you run. It will be interesting to see how keen people will be to use devices with limited information.

With increased competitions the quality of an app becomes more and more important, and consequently also the beta testing. However, when producing wearable technology the developers might have to pay more for the actual testing as the effort to test may be higher, for example when using a fitness tracker. There is also likely to be fewer testers owning the particular device, especially in th early stages.

How does the testing at Beta Family work?

If you have a wearable app in need of beta testing you can easily find the testers on our site. The testers register their devices with us and you can search for testers owning a particular device. After the testers have downloaded the app they can start testing it on their wearable tech and answer your questions.

Testing in the right environment

I can’t stress enough the importance of testing the device in the right environment. In other words, on the particular devices it will be used. Without testing the app in the correct environment you’ll lose important information and there is a large risk the app won’t be as successful as you hope.

We don’t know yet what kind of impact wearable technology will have on our lives, but the industry believes it will be huge. So to wrap up I encourage everyone working on wearables apps to test them using testers who own the right device!

To all of our beta testers that own wearable devices, don’t forget to register them at Beta Family so you can start testing wearable applications. It’s quite fun!


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry.

Zyrobotics CTO Ayanna Howard’s view on beta testing

The use of tablet devices in American classrooms has become a popular, and it continues to grow. Unfortunately, the accessible content for children with special needs doesn’t grow as fast.

We interviewed Dr. Ayanna Howard who is the founder and chief technology officer at Zyrobotics, an assistive technology company in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr, Ayanna talks about how they use beta testing for their learning applications.

While being a professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer engineering, Dr. Howard received a grant from NSF (National Science Foundation) to develop technology that was then transferred to a spinoff, Zyrobotics. She did this together with Dr. Hae Won Park and Dr. J Maccalla, with the goal to commercialize the inclusive technology inventions derived from their research lab at Georgia Tech.

The team wanted to address the need for educational apps for children with special needs as this demographic hasn’t been given equal access to available app-based learning activities. Their mission is to create personalized technologies that make a difference in the lives of children with special needs in the age range 3 to 12.

How come you started with app development?

The inclusion of learning activities using tablet devices in the classroom environment continues to grow. Unfortunately, this corresponding increase has not correlated with a growth in accessible content for children with special needs. Thus, as educational apps continue to revolutionize learning for children, there is a measurable demographic of school-age children with special needs that are not being given equal access. As such, we wanted to address this need and develop education Apps that provide engaging content while being accessible to children with special needs.

How long do you stick with an idea for an app before giving up on it?

Before we begin development of a new app, we first conduct a number of interviews with parents, special education teachers, and clinicians to discover unmet needs. Based on their feedback, we then discuss a few ideas with them and select the focus for our next education app. Throughout the development process, but before alpha testing, we’ll continue to refine the idea and game-play of the education app based on feedback from our target demographic.

What motivates you at Zyrobotics and what are your goals?

Our goal is to increase access to educational content for children with disabilities that support their goals in the classroom environment in such a way that it can engage all children while being accessible to children with special needs. Children of all abilities can be encouraged to engage in various learning opportunities when these activities are seen as enjoyable and interesting. Our motivation is therefore to create engaging educational content that is accessible to all kids.

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful app developer?

  1. The top three skills needed to be a successful app developer include:
  2. Good user experience and user interface design skills
    Good programming skills and/or the ability to learn these skills
    Ability to listen to the customer and be open to constructive feedback.
    Have testing your apps helped prevent failures?
  3. We always go through three phases of testing before releasing an app for distribution (alpha, beta, and target user). Although this means it takes longer to release an app, we feel that this process ensures that any potential issues are caught before they turn into failures.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a successful app developer?

I believe that success as an app developer is defined by whether you made a societal impact. This may (or may not) equate to financial success. As such, the first piece of advice for being successful is defining your metrics for success – is it number of downloads, awards, good reviews, rankings, etc.? The second piece of advice is to not give up. There are so many apps currently available for download that the probability that your app will percolate to the top 10 (and remain there) is, unfortunately, slim. If your passion is for app development, just become the best app developer that you can and define your criteria for success as such. The last piece of advice is to listen to your target customer. Solicit feedback from potential users before devoting time and money to developing an app that users might not need or want.

Can you tell us about some of your apps and how you got the idea for them?

In the last 10 months, we have released four accessible education apps – ZyroSky, Forest Fighter, Turtle Invaders, and OctoPlus. The first three apps, released on both Google Play and iTunes, focused on cause- and-effect and pre-readiness math skills. The last app, OctoPlus, reinforces key addition math skills within an interactive gaming environment through the inclusion of practice and challenge modes.

Each of our education apps maps educational content within a gaming construct to engage children of all abilities. All of our apps also have adjustable learning and game-play settings so that kids can learn and be assessed based on their own individual skill level. All of our apps are also designed to be switch-accessible and enhance motor skills for young children and kids with motor or cognitive delays. We have used the Beta Family for all of our apps during both the alpha and beta testing stages.

What do you feel are the positive aspects of using a crowdtesting platform for your beta testing?

The positive aspects of using a crowdtesting platform is the ability to have both novice and experienced users provide feedback and bug reporting using different devices, operating systems, and cultural perspectives. This is an invaluable resource because it allows you to test the majority of configurations that you might find in the real-world, thus discovering issues before they become failures.

What challenges are you facing in the beta testing process that Beta Family can help with?

The ability to select both new and validated testers using the Beta Family removes many of the challenges we would have otherwise faced. We have used the Beta Family as a resource for finding testers for all of our apps over both our alpha and beta testing stages.

Can you tell us more about your testing plans?

We always go through three phases of testing before releasing an app for distribution (alpha, beta, and target user). We have used the Beta Family as a resource for finding testers for all of our apps over both our alpha and beta testing stages. During alpha testing, we are primarily concerned with the ease-of-interaction, ease-of-game play, bug-finding, and overall user experience. We also ask for suggestions for improving the experience. The beta testing stage involves more specific evaluation of features and bug-finding. The target user stage occurs before release and involves full-reviews focused on functionality as seen through the eyes of special education teachers, parents, and clinicians. Depending on the results from this stage, we might iterate through another beta testing cycle before release.

Why did you choose The Beta Family instead of another similar service?

We chose the Beta Family because of its ability to select both novice and experienced users, its ability to test on both Android and iOS platforms, its ability to invite testers outside of the Beta Family (which is important when testing with our target demographic) and the ease-of-interaction with the platform itself.

Beta Family would like to extend a big thank you to Dr. Ayanna Howard for taking the time talking to us. Make sure to share this post within your network so more people hear about Zyrobotics fantastic work providing children with special needs the same learning activities as other kids.

Ps. Did you know that Dr Ayanna Howard has been a speaker at the TED conferences, talking about how to make robots smarter? Check it out:

Check out the below links if you’d like to learn more about Zyrobotics.


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry.

Beta Family introducing teams!

Is your app in desperate need of some beta testing, but you feel it’s too early to test it on the general public? Many do.

Based on interviews with many of the companies using Beta Family we’ve realized that the different testing phases have different needs and are normally done on different groups of people. To ease the testing process we are now introducing Beta Family Teams, a way for you to group people into teams and mix your own testers with testers from Beta Family.

The three phases of testing

Phase 1 – Testing internally

A common start is to limit the test to your co-workers so that you can have an internal testing amongst the developers, to iron out any major kinks. It can also be valuable to test it within other departments of your company. It’s a great way to get the whole company involved and excited about the app.

An easy way to give your co-workers access to the app is to create a team on your profile at Beta Family and invite as many people as you’d like. You can prepare a few tasks for the testers and also some questions to answer when the testing is done.

Another good feature with teams is that you can use the team profile to quickly and easy send the app over the air to your co-workers.

Phase 2 – Testing on friends and family

Now you are almost ready to do a bigger test on people in your target group, but before starting a crowdtest on Beta Family you might want to use friends and family to get more feedback. From your profile page you can send them an invite to the test at Beta Family and they can easily try it out.

We also have a questionnaire template chooser that makes it easier for you to come up with good questions and tasks. First you can describe the goal with the testing or what you want the testers to imagine while using the app.

Then you can decide what kind of tasks you want the testers to do. Depending on what kind of app it is the tasks might be different, but here we’ve compiled a few good ones.

  • Play to a certain level
  • Use the app a certain amount of time
  • Test the app and publish on social media

You can also have specific questions for when the testing is done. You can create both long and short questions as well as check boxes, images and scales and this is a great way for you to get the feedback you want from your team. You can use the same questionnaire in other teams (co-workers, friends and family etc) or when testing another app.

Here are some questions that will give you quality feedback.

  • How do you like the app?
  • How often can you see yourself using the app?
  • Is the app simple and easy to underst and?
  • What are you prepared to pay for this app?
  • Is the app attractive and easy to download?
  • If you could improve the app, what would you do?
  • When using the app, can you tell it belongs to that specific br and?

It’s really easy to set up teams and tests. Just follow our easy step by step guide and within a few minutes you’ll have created the teams and tests you need.

Step by Step Guide to setting up teams and tests

Step 1 – Create the team

Choose a name and describe the team.

Step 2 – Set up test

Choose create a test, which device your app is compatible with, your test type, how you’d like to distribute the app to your testers and finally pick the team you’d like to use to test the app. For example, Family and Friends team.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how you’ll distribute the app to your testers. You can change it later.


This is how it looks when you pick the team to do the test, in this case Family and Friends team.

Step 3 – Invite team members

There are several ways to invite team members. If you only want a few testers you can enter their email addresses. If you want a lot of people it’s easier to get their contact details and then import a CSV-file with it all. You can also use your own CSV-file or TXT-file from Hockey app or Testflight and import.

Phase 3 – Testing on your target group using crowdtesting

Okay great, you have now tested it on your co-workers and friends and family.

Most likely you’ve found the worst bugs and UX-errors already. But lets face it, colleagues and friends might not be objective and sometimes not even in your target group. It’s time to set up a Beta Family crowdtest to get some real user feedback.

It’s easy, you just create a new team on your profile page and invite the people you wish to test the app. You have the option of sharing a link to the test which mean that you can invite people from both Beta Family and any other place where you share your link.

You can then see the recruits on your profile page under “Applies” and here you can decide who you would like to participate.

To sum up, why should you use teams on Beta Family?

This feature help you to distribute all your apps in an easy and effective way
You can create tests with automatic invitations to your teammates
You don’t have to pay all testers
You can keep track of all the teammates’ devices and invite the people with the right device when a new update is read
We hope you test the new Teams feature!

Make sure to leave a comment if you have any comments or feedback! And if you think more people should read this post, why not tweet about it? Everyone loves a good tweet!


Malin Klockare Gullesjö
Malin Klockare Gullesjö is working with Beta Family’s online profile. She has previously worked as a community manager on social media in the tourism industry. View all posts by Malin Klockare Gullesjö

Test for Success in 2015 – Your best New Year’s Resolution

The bells just rang in the New Year. Apart from fireworks and celebration, there is the dreaded tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Most of these vows are probably broken within the first few weeks, no matter how good the intention. But let’s defy the odds and set up a testing related resolution that actually lasts. It should even pay off…

Test early and often

Beta Family is a powerful platform and tool for your testing, but the real strength shows when you use it regularly. As an app developer, you could publish your app for beta testing once, collect the feedback, take actions accordingly and then release your app on the app store. Nothing wrong with that – it is how we hope you use the service.

But for added value, what if you were to continuously upload each new version of the app for further testing feedback? What better way to verify that your efforts paid off than to invite the same testers back for follow-up? And of course you could parallelly invite a new group of testers to get independent reviews, as if the latest app version were the very first. If you could plot an increasing average score for each version tested, you must be doing something right.

The big guys do it – so could you

Have you ever thought about how often your “blue chip” apps auto-update themselves? Your Gmail, Facebook, Chrome apps – it seems as if they come in a new version every month, or thereabouts. Often, they really do. You can count on major corporations having their QA departments verifying each release. You could do it too by using our crowdtesting community.

Regular updates will make you more money!

Improving and updating your app on a regular basis will also increase your sales. The graph below shows an example on how updates affect downloads. As you can see, you can expect an increase of downloads/sales for 1-2 days following your update release. On the other hand and, without these update-induced peaks your app tends to plummet in the charts, resulting in lower sales and less $ in your pocket.

Graph showing how updates increases sales for the app Linjekartor, a popular app for public transportation in Stockholm. It’s common to see increased sales one or two days after an update release.

The sales peaks after app updates have two logical explanations:

  • When the app is updated the app user gets a reminder about your app’s existence and are more likely to use it, or even recommend and show it to their friends.
  • Google and Apple both reward apps that are up to date by making them more visible in the app stores. Free advertising space for you!But be careful – regular updates needs regular testing

Updating your app on a regular basis will make your app more successful, but always make sure that your app is well tested. Releasing an update that crashes instantly, removes existing features or is not tested on your target group will result in unhappy costumers, bad reviews, and less sales. To prevent this it’s important that you have a testing strategy. It doesn’t need to be fancy. These bullets will give you a good start:

Set a date when your testing should start and finish – Your final testing will most likely be under a lot of time pressure. Make sure to reserve time for testing in your release plan, so that you have a week dedicated for testing and final fixes (based on the testers feedback) before submitting it to the app stores. The good thing is that Beta Family has testers ready to start testing your app, so even if you’re running a bit late, help is near.

Create a release checklist – Write down the most important things you need to check before releasing the app. Some common mistakes are forgetting to test the app without or with poor internet connection, on older devices and OS’s and not using different language settings on the device.

Focus on the new changes, but test the entire app as well – Make sure to run a test that primarily focuses on the new additions and changes, but also run another test to test the full app. Your new changes might have affected the functionality elsewhere in the app or made texts or other functionality outdated. Regression testing is your friend.

Check your reviews – Take a final look in the reviews on the stores and read them carefully. Is there any feedback that is easy to add in this update? Also, when writing your release note, “What’s new in this version”, don’t be afraid to write that you have done updates based on the feedback given in the review-section. This will encourage your users to keep on providing feedback and might even convert an incoming bad review into a more positively formulated feature request.

Tabula rasa – your saviour.

The phrase is latin, meaning a blank or clean slate – which is what the app stores offer you with each new app release. Take the opportunity to polish your reputation with an app that becomes increasingly robust with each version. It should pay off as there are some interesting perks that come with releasing often:

  • Newer reviews generally show up first on the app store page, and obviously are more likely to be read than older ones.
  • The iTunes App Store actually display two sets of ratings – the aggregated rating for all versions, but above that – the rating for the latest release. Which catches the eye first? Which number would you care about when deciding whether to download? Yep, that’s right!
  • For Google Play there are filters to only display reviews of the latest release.

Happy New Year

I hope we’ve inspired you to regularly follow up on your apps in 2015 – through scheduled interval test rounds and through multiple yearly releases. All indicators points to it really being worth your while. Be sure to take a few extra minutes in your first Scrum meeting after the holidays to set up a maintainable testing strategy. From all of us at Beta Family, we wish you a great 2015 with lots of success.


Peter Skogsberg
Peter Skogsberg is an ISTQB certified software tester and holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He has been on both the development and the testing sides of several mobile and web applications. View all posts by Peter Skogsberg

Scale up your testing: iOS8 now allows up to 1, 000 beta testers

Scale up your testing: iOS8 now allows up to 1, 000 beta testers
We’ve mentioned this upcoming feature before and now it’s gone live – public iOS app beta testing for up to a 1, 000 testers, using the new TestFlight integration in iOS 8. The Beta Family is the first service to support and enhance this new workflow, opening up new testing possibilities for developers.

This article will serve as an introduction and a step-by-step guide for setting up your app for public beta testing through your iTunes Connect account and the Beta Family.

For a small recap of the news with iOS 8 and the tighter coupling to TestFlight you can refer to our previous post. There, we described how to set up your iTunes Connect account and prepare your iOS app for internal beta testing. Now, you’re also able to apply the new workflow to your external (public) beta tests.

Test coverage through diversity

While the previous maximum limit was 100 testers, this ten-fold increase allows for much better coverage of devices and locales than ever before. Utilize the skilled and diverse tester community of Beta Family, with more than 14, 000 members worldwide. Make sure your app is compatible with all iDevices and firmwares, while also pinpointing possible localization issues.

Internal and/or external?

As Beta Family already supports the workflow for internal testing processes you now have a choice of how to conduct your testing. The option of internal testing allows for inviting up to 25 people from your organisation using iTunes Connect to distribute beta builds of the app.

Of course, the external (public) testing setup allows for inviting anyone, not just from within your development team, and the limit is, as mentioned, now a whopping 1, 000 people. You can publish up to 10 apps simultaneously, regardless of internal or external testing, and each tester may now use up to 10 devices. Previously this was a 1:1 ratio. So what’s the drawback with public beta tests? Public beta tests require each beta build of the app to adhere to App Store Review Guidelines before starting to test, which might take a while to get approved.

It’s of course always up to the developer to choose their testing setup, but perhaps a suitable combination is to let the app go through one or two rounds of internal testing before releasing it to public opinion. Please let us know in the comments section if you have an interesting testing strategy for your app.

Workflow guide

Apple has released a video tutorial on how to set up your account for testing, you can download it from this link. In addition to Apple’s video guide, we provide some more detailed steps with screenshots below. We assume at this point you have already set up your iTunes Connect account and uploaded a beta build of your iOS app.

1. Login to your iTunes Connect account, where you at the time of writing this will even be greeted by information on the new external testing possibilities.

2. Select the app that you want to open up for external beta testing.

3. Click on the Prerelease tab. As you can see, the testing alternatives are now separated into internal and external, each on a separate sub-tab. Click External in this case.

4. Here you can invite testers from the general public to join the beta test of your app. You can add a tester manually by entering their email address and name, or reuse stored tester details from previous sessions. In this case, we want to add new testers.

5. From this screen you can enter all the details yourself, or import a comma-separated list of tester details (containing all email addresses to invite). This file can be generated directly from Beta Family and we highly recommend using this feature, for simplicity.

Testers will now receive an e-mail with an invite.

When the testers click “Open in TestFlight” they will be redirected to the TestFlight app and asked to install the app,

Testing is now under way and an orange dot will appear next to the beta version of the app.


The process is very much similar to the internal beta testing one – the difference is just the need to get each beta build approved according to the App Store Review Guidelines. So now that you have a 1, 000 beta tester slots to fill out – why not check out the Beta Family community?


Peter Skogsberg
Peter Skogsberg is an ISTQB certified software tester and holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He has been on both the development and the testing sides of several mobile and web applications. View all posts by Peter Skogsberg

How to Ask Questions

In this article we emphasize the importance of asking open questions, encouraging your app testers to think freely and add their own input. We also discuss a few techniques for testers to narrow down root causes to potential issues.

App owners: Avoid Yes or No questions

Let’s face it – we’re all lazy. We’re designed by evolution to preserve our energy, so when offered an easy way out, we tend to take it. App testing is no exception, of course. If you as an app developer ask questions like “Do you think my app is user friendly”, the tester will conclude that a simple yes or no response will do. While the percentage of users agreeing might interest you, you’d be even better off knowing which complaints the unhappy bunch might have.

Naturally, it would be better to ask an open ended question that invites the tester to elaborate and provide more useful feedback. Ask Why, How and What (arguably the most relevant of the “Five W’s” of questioning. Feel free to ask the tester to compare your app with your competitors and cherry pick feature requests from them. You should strive to formulate your test instructions so that each test report will yield qualitative data, rather than quantitative.

Testers: Describe the root cause

The car manufacturer Toyota is widely regarded as an innovative company when it comes to refining work processes and methodologies. One of the techniques attributed to them is “Five Whys”. It’s an iterative process, repeating the question Why five times, each time trying to dig a little bit deeper until the root cause is found.

Wikipedia provides an example based on, of course, a car failing to start. The investigator begins by asking Why, and responds that the battery is dead. Then follows increasingly narrow reasons until the root cause is found: failure to follow the maintenance service schedule. Each Why questions the previous answer, funneling down until the bottom.

A common criticism against the Five Whys technique is that the end result is not reproducible – that is to say, two different people applying the method on the same problem are likely to end up with different root causes. This might be due to different a priori knowledge, experiences or opinions. While in some cases this could be problematic, it actually works to our advantage in the case of app testing, as all feedback should be welcomed.

Four Whys might be plenty

Let’s try out the Five Whys technique described above by applying it to a possible problem relevant to our app testing scenario. The following might be a little technical, and keep in mind that the technique works just as well on even smaller issues than this one.

Problem: The mobile app I’m testing drains the battery very quickly.

Why? (1)
It activates the Wi-Fi or 3G connection/antenna very frequently.
(This could be seen on the top bar Wi-Fi / data traffic icon)

Why? (2)
The app downloads a lot of data.
(This could be measured by the smart phone OS, usually in a Settings menu)

Why? (3)
It does’nt seem to cache data, so it re-downloads every time I return to the view.
(Again, the top bar icon)

Why? (4)
For the app’s purposes it needs freshly updated, current data.
(Let’s assume that the app is in this category)

Let’s stop right there, even though we haven’t reached the fifth level yet. At this point, we as testers could terminate the process as we can already use our knowledge about similar apps and their technology choices to provide a creative and concrete suggested solution to the problem. In fact, any of the following features would be helpful:

  • Switch from periodic data polling to push notifications
  • Offer an app user setting of the refresh interval
  • Setting whether to only refresh often while on Wi-Fi connection and/or charging battery
  • Et cetera…So now we have found the root cause to the battery drainage, a poor design choice, which assumes unlimited data quota and battery power. Typically such choices come from the developer not testing the app enough in the wild. The developer might think that everything works just fine, while sitting at his computer, charging the device and within Wi-Fi range. The Beta Family is obviously a helpful tool for getting more perspectives in these cases.Good examples, comin’ upOver the next few months, we will set out to interview a selection of our top-rated testers to get their input on how to deliver a great test report. This will give you as a developer the chance to hear from the other side of the fence, while testers can improve their methodology by learning from the best of breed. Watch this space!


Peter Skogsberg
Peter Skogsberg is an ISTQB certified software tester and holds a Master’s degree in Information Technology. He has been on both the development and the testing sides of several mobile and web applications. View all posts by Peter Skogsberg