Testing Insights: The Power of the Crowd – with Alexandra

by | Aug 12, 2020 | Crowdtesting, Usability & User Experience | 0 comments

Our Crowd is the heart of Testbirds and is available around the clock to put mobile applications, websites, IoT devices, and any digital product imaginable through its paces. For this interview, we talked to one of our Community Managers, Alexandra, about the power of the Crowd, her work in our Crowd team, and the benefits of remote crowdtesting for our testers and customers.

Testbirds: Hi Alexandra, you came all the way from Down Under to Munich. How did you come across Testbirds while settling in your new Bavarian home?

Alexandra: Hi, yes that’s right! I actually had my first interview with Testbirds whilst I was still in Australia! I moved here to be with my German partner and in the lead-up was applying for lots of jobs to set myself up for success before I moved. It was tricky to find something where I didn’t need to know German, and I was beginning to stress out about it until I found the Testbirds job page. I loved the sound of the working culture they have and the fact that the job was open to internationals without German skills. I interviewed completely remotely, and the whole process was extremely smooth. I’m very happy I found a company where the employees are so welcoming and friendly, it made the transition of moving across the world a lot easier.

Testbirds: What do you love the most about working in the Crowd Team and for Testbirds?

Alexandra: Definitely the people! I get to interact not only with my amazing team and colleagues, but also with testers and clients from around the world. The projects that I get to work on are super interesting and working in the Crowd team means you get to see products from both the client and the user side which can be incredibly insightful. I love that Testbirds is committed to maintaining their company culture (Orga 4.0) – there is a sense of trust and collaboration among the staff which is great to be a part of. There is also a huge emphasis on personal development. We have dedicated Personal Growth Days once a quarter which I use primarily to develop my German skills. Testbirds is invested in their staff and really care about us and our progress as people.

Being able to work from home (especially during these tough times) is another thing that is important to me. As our testers and clients are located all over the world, having flexible working hours means that I can tailor my time to the projects I’m working on whilst still maintaining a good work-life balance. Nevertheless, the spirit of community is still strong within the team, and there is a great sense of togetherness during this time.

Testbirds: We have over 400,000 people in our Testbirds Crowd – sounds like a lot to handle! How do you keep the Crowd active for upcoming projects?

Alexandra: Yes! We have a huge Crowd, and it’s growing every day! We have multiple streams of contact with our Crowd daily, through emails, messages on the Nest, our Newsfeed, Instagram, Facebook and more. A huge chunk of my day is spent communicating with testers, answering their queries and informing them about different testing opportunities we have coming up.

I think something unique about Testbirds is the onboarding process. Each tester that signs up is required to do the ‘Entry Test’, which is a tool we use to train our new testers. We’re not affiliated with the website in the entry test and we don’t get paid by them in any way, it is used exclusively for training purposes. We get an average of 300 Entry Tests coming in each week, and every Entry Test is individually processed by us. This means we have a personal touchpoint with every tester that joins our Crowd before they even start getting projects. That helps us to ensure that the quality of our testers is extremely high for our clients. We also provide rewards for our testers that go above and beyond. Each month we highlight four outstanding testers by awarding them as “Bird of the Month”. We also award Experience Points and Community Points to testers for various achievements, and these contribute towards raffles and competitions that we hold on a regular basis.

Our Instagram channel is something that we just started in the last year (@testbirdscrowd – follow us to see more!). It has been great to see this channel grow and allows us to communicate with our current testers and reach new testers in a different way. We are always looking for new ways to connect and support our testers as our Crowd is constantly growing and evolving. I’m excited to see how our Crowd will change in the next years, and how we’ll adapt to meet that growth!

Testbirds: Which criteria do you use to select the right target group for the testing projects and which hurdles need to be tackled?

Alexandra: We have a very detailed tester profile that our testers fill out when they first sign up. This could be location, job, what cars they own, how old they are, their gender etc. Our clients’ needs are always varied, and with these profile fields we’re able to filter and find the best testers for each specific project. We also have a section where testers can add their devices. They are encouraged to add as many devices as they have access to – Smartphones, Laptops, Desktops, Tablets, Smart TVs, and more! For the majority of our clients, we are able to filter for their profile and device requests and easily find the testers they need in the Nest. However, sometimes our clients can have very specific and challenging requests. This is where the Community Managers come to the rescue to help recruit new testers for our clients.

Testbirds: What exactly does tester recruiting mean and how does it work?

Alexandra: Tester recruiting is when we don’t have the required testers in our Nest and we need to find them elsewhere. There are several different methods we use to find these testers, including through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, freelancer platforms, and tester referrals – just to name a few!

I’ll give you an example of a recent project that I worked on to give you some insight into the process. One of our recent clients wanted to find eight testers in Japan that were interested in sports. Sounds easy, right? Well, they also had a few other requirements. The testers had to speak and read fluently in Japanese (as well as basic English) have an interest in watching specific sports online and have access to a Mac with Safari browser. Oh, and they also had to be available during specific time slots for an interview! You can see that the likelihood of finding these testers diminishes with each of these criteria – which is where we come in! For this test, we did a referral campaign where we asked our testers if they knew anybody that fit these criteria and offered them a referral bonus if they were able to provide the testers for us. It turned out to be a winning strategy as we recruited those hard-to-find testers we needed and pulled the project off successfully.

Testbirds: From your point of view, what are the biggest advantages of crowdtesting?

Alexandra: There are so many advantages to crowdtesting, one of the most relevant at the moment being the remote nature of our services. Our testers can test from anywhere in the world, mostly without having to leave the safety of their home. This means the testing can be done efficiently, without risk to our testers and with no project limitations for our clients. The big advantage that we have here at Testbirds is also that our testers are real end-users. We take pride in the fact that we have real testers with real opinions. Whilst test automation helps in the development of a digital product, having real user feedback is imperative to creating a product that is user-friendly for its customers. Crowdtesters help companies with the why of their product usability, which is invaluable in creating a successful product. I believe the future of crowdtesting is huge – this is a service that every company should consider before launching their products.

Testbirds: What is the funniest story you have experienced with the tester community?

Alexandra: I once had a test where the tester was required to walk around a lot and input data into his mobile device. He said he was really excited about that as it meant he was paid to improve his Pokémon Go score – that was a tester perk I certainly hadn’t come across before!

Testbirds: Thank you very much for this insightful interview, Alexandra!

Alexandra: Thanks, it was my pleasure!

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About Alexandra

Alexandra Hilliar

Alexandra Hilliar

Community Manager

Coming all the way from Australia, Alexandra helps to support and grow our awesome Crowd. She loves travelling and exploring Europe and her new home in Germany.

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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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