There is no one perfect beta test management tool, with each having its own functionality and pros and cons. Some focus on build distribution, while others specialize in feedback collection and issue reporting.
Below, we go through the most important features that you need to consider when selecting the best beta test management tools for your mobile app.
Criteria for Choosing a Beta Test Management Tool
The first and most important aspect of the beta test management tool that you’re checking for is the platforms it supports. It doesn’t matter how good the beta test management tool is, if it doesn’t support your target operating systems, then it’s useless for you.
Not only does the beta test management tool need to support the operating systems your app runs on, but also different versions of them along with their hardware configurations. Even though some of the biggest beta testing tools out there by Google and Apple are targeted towards their respective operating systems, it might be better for you to go with another beta test management tool in case you’re targeting multiple platforms.
If you’re developing hybrid solutions, you need to make sure that the beta test management tool also supports any hybrid development frameworks like Ionic, React Native, PhoneGap, and others.
APIs and Customizability
You want your beta test management tool to be as customizable as possible so that you can manually control functions according to your needs and tester base, as well as UI elements to match your brand identity.
Most beta test management tools also allow you to retain your data for a specific duration of time based on your plan, so you should make sure to check the tool’s data retention policies and if it provides you with the ability to control your data by encrypting, exporting, or deleting it as needed.
Similar to APIs and customizability, it’s crucial to check out what integrations your beta test management tool offers. You’ll need your beta test management tool to integrate with your other workspaces, like Slack, issue-tracking systems Jira or GitHub, and support platforms Zendesk or Front.
Depending on the size of your beta test, you might get lost in a sea of spreadsheets about beta testers with their personal info, e-mail addresses, feedback, etc. A good beta test management tool will provide you with project and team management capabilities, allowing you to manage your testers, keep track of their roles, responsibilities, and outputs, as well as all of their information, including their device types, operating systems, and build versions.
Reliability and Stability
Since testing is an ongoing process, you need a beta test management tool that is both reliable and stable at all times. Your app will most likely be tested by many different users with different devices, operating systems, and environments, so your tool needs to be able to smoothly function under any conditions without failing or causing any issues.
One of the most critical aspects when choosing a beta test management tool is security. Each beta test management tool differs in terms of what it offers regarding security.
It’s only when you specifically need extra features that you’ll want to consider tools that take security one step further. A tool like AppBlade, for example, allows you to secure your builds, add a layer of encryption, or even wipe information from the devices that the build is installed on, and all done remotely through its dashboard.
You need your beta testing phase to be as smooth as possible, which is why one of the deciding factors for many developers and product managers when choosing a beta test management tool is customer support.
Your tool needs to provide reliable and responsive customer support in case you face any issues or have any inquiries. Having access to a support team who can help as soon as possible is crucial, especially when you have deadlines and don’t have any time to spare during the beta testing phase.
You need a beta test management tool that doesn’t complicate your mobile app development process more than it needs to be. This includes minimizing the time and effort you spend setting up and configuring your app on the beta test management tool.
Some of the questions you want to ask include: How straightforward is it to integrate the SDK or any configuration setup, scripts, or files in your mobile app? What is the process of uploading new builds? If it’s an open source framework, how complicated is it to install on your own server? Choosing a beta test management tool with clear, thorough documentation always helps in the setup process.
Remember that automation is key, and the more a tool allows you to automate your processes, especially in terms of integration and distribution, the more time and effort you’ll be saving yourself.
Ease of Use
If you’re not experienced with beta testing, then this phase can be a whole new world for you, which is why you should make it as convenient and easy as possible.
Some beta test management tools save you a lot of headache by simplifying the process. Look for tools that provide extremely useful and time-saving features, like automating parts of your workflow or handling the provisioning profiles for new devices.
Continuous Integration and Testing
You need to make sure that the beta test management tool allows for continuous integration and testing of new code. This helps you make sure that your code is bug-free before deploying and saves you from having bugs and errors sneak in every time you update your code by detecting them early on in the process.
You also need to make sure that the beta test management tool integrates with the quality assurance tools that you and your team already use and that it supports your testing framework for an optimized mobile app development process. Some other features that would be useful for continuous testing include test configuration management, revision control, and report generation.
UDID stands for Unique Device ID. Every device has a unique 40-character hex value to identify it. In order to invite beta testers and distribute your beta builds using certain beta test management tools, you have to add your testers’ UDIDs to your provisioning profile. When an existing tester gets a new device, they would have to send you their new UDID to be able to use your application.
This process differs between platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, as well as from one beta test management tool to another. Some tools require you to add your testers’ UDID manually, while others allow you to share a link to a public download page and it automatically handles adding the UDID to your provisioning profile.
Some tools even allow you to import and export all the e-mail addresses of your testers, export all or all new UDIDs of your testers, send your testers e-mail notifications about new versions, and more. So it’s definitely important to know how your beta test management tool will handle this if it does.
In many cases, no matter how good the beta test management tool is, if it’s not within your budget then that could be the deal breaker. The pricing model of most beta testing tools is based on permissions and features, including:
Number of apps/projects
Number of builds per app
Number of installs/devices per app per month
Number of team members
Access to 3rd-party integrations and APIs
Disk space and data retention
How can Instabug help?
Instabug is the top beta testing tool for bug reporting and user feedback in mobile apps. It provides the most useful metadata on the market, exceptional customer support, and an in-app communication channel to chat with your beta testers.
- Integrations: Jira, Slack, Trello, GitHub, Zendesk, and more.
- Pricing: Free. Paid plans start at $41 per month.
Bug and Crash Reporting
With each report, you automatically receive comprehensive data to help fix issues faster, including steps to reproduce errors, network request and console logs, and environment details. For bug reporting, your beta testers can also send screen recordings and annotatable screenshots to provide further context.
In-App Surveys and Feature Request Management
Collect user feedback from your beta testers right inside your app to minimize interruptions and boost participation rates. Get powerful insights to enhance your product roadmap with surveys that you can target to specific tester segments and feature request voting to understand user pain points and desires.