Difference Between Alpha and Beta Testing

Testing is a common practice in organizations that design and develop software. It allows checking whether a system is working properly or contains loopholes.

After all, the customer will only be satisfied if the end product is of good quality.

Alpha and Beta testing are performed on different software for this purpose. Both fall under the category of User Acceptance testing. However, they have several distinguishing factors.

Alpha vs Beta Testing

The main difference between Alpha and Beta testing is that alpha testing is done at an early stage by developers, testers, and quality analysts who are employees of the organization whereas beta testing is done after the former, by a group of end-users or customers who are not employees of the organization.

Alpha vs Beta Testing

Alpha testing is performed in an environment specifically designed for testing software.

It allows the testers to properly check whether the end product meets the requirements and goals that were set in the starting phase of development.

Areas including functionality, design, defects, etc, are checked for using various tools and debugging software.

Meanwhile, Beta testing is performed in an environment where customers would actually use the software after purchasing.

Unlike the former, which majorly deals with technical aspects, beta testing focuses more on quality analysis of the end product and customer satisfaction.

Areas including security, dependability, and strength are checked. It is a relatively quicker process than Alpha testing.

Comparison Table Between Alpha and Beta Testing

Parameters of ComparisonAlpha TestingBeta Testing
SequenceIt is performed in the early stages before the release of the product.It is performed after the product has been alpha tested.
TesterIt is done by developers, testers, and quality analysts who work in the parent organization.It is done by a group of end-users or customers who are not related to the organization in any way.
EnvironmentIt is done in a specifically designed testing environment.It is done in an environment in which customers would actually use the product.
AimIt aims at checking functionality, design, bugs, and other technical aspects.It aims at checking the quality of the software and customer satisfaction.
RegulationIt involves regulations and restrictions since the testing is done on the developer’s site.It does not involve regulations and restrictions since the testing is not done on the developer’s site.
Time SpanIt is a lengthy process that can take up to months.It is a relatively quick process that can be completed within a few weeks.
FeedbackIt allows instant feedback.It does not allow instant feedback.

What is Alpha Testing?

Alpha testing is essentially the last stage of developing an app or software. However, it is carried out before beta testing.

The process involves two stages in which the software is thoroughly checked for various things.

This is carried out by developers, engineers, testers, quality analysts, and other employees who work in the company under which the software is developed.

The first stage of this process is when the software is checked for its coding, internal structure, design, functionality, and whether it has bugs.

One of the most important tools used during this is debugging software. Further, the second stage involves checking the product for quality.

Once this is done, the employees can give instant feedback regarding what is wrong.

However, a downside of this process is that it can take a long time to complete. There are various cycles in which certain activities are performed over and over for assurance.

This can take many weeks and even months.

Moreover, this kind of testing is carried out on the developer’s site itself, in an environment that is specifically designed for testing.

Therefore, there are certain rules and regulations as well that need to be followed in this workspace. This allows lesser control over activities for the employees.

What is Beta Testing?

Beta testing is carried out after the product has been alpha tested. A group of end-users or customers are chosen to carry out the process.

This involves checking the app or software for its quality. The aim of doing so is to check whether the final product is able to generate optimal customer satisfaction.

For this reason, it is carried out in a real environment where the customer would actually use the product.

Areas such as user experience and flow are checked during the process. Unlike alpha testing, beta testing only has one stage. The cycle in which the testing is done is short as well.

Therefore, it can be completed only in a few weeks. However, the feedback, in this case, is not instant. This is because the customer does not work on-site and does not have direct access to authorities.

An advantage to the testers, in this case, is that there are lesser rules and regulations that need to be followed. Since the environment is not official, the tester has more control and freedom to perform certain activities.

However, it can often get difficult to access a pool of legitimate people who are capable to carry out beta testing.

In some cases, companies just wait for real customers to come up with complaints, instead of carrying out an official beta testing.

Main Differences Between Alpha and Beta Testing

  1. Alpha testing is performed in the last stages of the development process whereas Beta testing is performed after the product has been alpha tested.
  2. Alpha testing is carried out by developers, engineers, testers, quality analysts, and other employees who work in the company whereas Beta testing is carried out by a pool of end-users or customers chosen by the company.
  3. Alpha testing is done in a specifically designed testing environment whereas Beta testing is done in an environment in which customers would actually use the product.
  4. Alpha testing aims at checking coding, internal structure, design, functionality, quality, and whether it has bugs whereas Beta testing only focuses on quality assurance and customer satisfaction.
  5. Alpha testing involves regulations and restrictions and allows lesser control whereas Beta testing does not involve regulations, allowing more control to the testers.
  6. Alpha testing is a lengthy process whereas Beta testing is a relatively quick process.
  7. Alpha testing allows instant feedback whereas, in Beta testing, feedback collection cannot be instant.

Conclusion

Alpha and Beta testing are two important processes that are carried out by a company that has developed software.

Each of them falls under the category of user acceptance testing, which aims at testing for quality assurance and customer satisfaction. However, alpha testing is performed before beta testing.

Alpha testing is carried out by people working in the organization itself, in an environment that is specifically designed for this purpose.

It includes rules and regulations and does not allow as much control to the people testing.

On the other hand, beta testing is carried out by a pool of customers who do not work in the organization and carry out the testing in a real environment. The testers have more control compared to the former.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042815037982
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-02713-1_9
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