What is Crowdsourced Testing?

Picture of Ashley Dotterweich
Ashley Dotterweich, Wednesday August 17, 2016

Crowdsourced testing is an emergent method of QA testing which leverages a dispersed, temporary workforce to test software applications quickly and effectively. While conventional methods of software testing are conducted within the organization, or via an outsourcing contractor or QA consultant, crowdsourced software tests are executed by multiple individual testers in different locations.

What is Crowdsourced Testing Good For?

Crowdsourcing is an excellent method of execution for feature verification in later stages of development, when the product is too complex for the in-house team to cover all possible use cases. However, teams practicing CI/CD have also found that utilizing crowdsourced testing earlier in the development workflow can be useful for finding bugs and issues before they reach production.

Crowdsourced testing is also beneficial for small teams because it provides “fresh” users who can provide more objective feedback on the application. This feedback can be an important part of improving UX and ensuring product usability.

Who Needs Crowdsourced Testing?

Companies with limited testing bandwidth may benefit from using crowdsourced testing to increase test scope and coverage. Because crowdsourced testing allows the organization to increase testing bandwidth without hiring a large full-time team, leveraging a crowdsourcing platform for repetitive QA tasks can help teams use their testing resources more efficiently.

Another common use case for crowdsourcing QA is for teams who have irregular testing needs. By crowdsourcing their testing, teams can easily scale their testing capacity before big releases or other significant events. This allows them to maintain the minimum in-house QA resources full-time, while having the assurance that their testing force can expand when the need arises.

How Crowdsourced Testing Works

Crowdsourced testing models can work in several ways. Testers may use their own devices and environments to test the software, or they may access virtual machines (VMs) or device emulators via the crowdsourced testing platform. In some models, the crowdsourced testing service may manage the testers, while in other scenarios the testers may interact directly with the customer to receive instructions and provide feedback.

Testers access the software via a platform, and manually execute tests of the software as requested by the customer. These tests can range from broad exploratory testing to highly specific functional verification testing. The testers provide feedback on the software, usually including a list of bugs and defects found while executing the tests.

what-is-crowdsourced-testing

Disadvantages of Crowdsourced Testing

Some of the potential complications of crowdsourced testing can include concerns over the confidentiality of the software being tested and the reliability of crowdsourced testers. As with leveraging an outsourced QA firm or consultancy, crowdsourced testers may not be immediately available for communication and clarification. As a result, some crowdsourced testing solutions can offer unreliable or incomplete software feedback.

In order to insure product confidentiality and test quality, look for crowdsourced testing solutions that provide assurances including NDAs and regularly monitored communities of testers.

Using Rainforest QA for Crowdsourced Testing

Rainforest is the fastest way to execute crowdsourced regression tests. The Rainforest testing platform that integrates into your existing workflow and provides fast, easy access to a huge community of crowdsourced testers. Rainforest tests can be written and run from the command line or from your CI server. Test results can be reviewed and imported automatically into bug tracking tools like JIRA or communication tools like Slack and Hipchat.

Each test run in Rainforest is executed by 3 crowdsourced testers in order to ensure higher quality and more accurate test results. Tests are executed within virtual machines (VMs) that provide a clean, controlled environment for testing and secure access to web applications.

Learn More about Rainforest QA

Leveraging crowdsourced testing can help you allocate your testing resources more effectively and streamline QA testing to keep up with development. To learn more about how Rainforest lets you integrate crowdsourced testing into your development workflow, click here and get a demo of the platform.