Tester Community Leading the Charge of TV Programming Appification

There’s no question that streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have disrupted the must-see TV model and have cable companies biting their nails. As cable companies fight to keep up with apps that provide streaming mobile content, I decided that it was as good a time as ever to take to the uTest Community to test the hypothesis that streaming is booming – Would you cut the cable cord for ‘smart’ programming?

The results were pretty clear – a whopping 69% of uTest Community members surveyed are either considering or have already cut the cable cord in favor of television programming that is streamed to their devices.

TV Appification

I have kept my satellite TV subscription for a couple of years, but I rarely watched it. Too much reruns, too long commercial breaks, too many bad channels…nothing good the time I wanted to watch something….now I can binge-watch Lillyhammer, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development and much more. – Caio B.

My wife and I are cutting the cord next week. We are almost always on Netflix or watching a movie from our collection or streaming, or just playing a video game. – Pablo B.

We killed cable several years ago and we primarily use Amazon Prime and Netflix now. As for watching football, we have a Roku player with the PlayOn channel and I am able to watch all the NFL games and even local channels without issue. – Jennifer D.

We’re moving to a Roku setup with a Plex media server and Netflix. It’s looking really good so far. – Paul A.

While the community overall is smart programming-leaning, some noted its limitations in variety:

If there was a way to ensure that the programs I like to watch would be available on Netflix and Hulu, I would do it. However, sometimes I like to channel surf because it allows me to see new programs that I wouldn’t have watched otherwise. I’m not sure if that’s possible on services like Netflix and Hulu. – Margaret T.

I’d love to, except I’m a sports fan. Once there’s a good solution for watching live sports without a cable subscription, I’m in. – Josh F.

If the uTester Community is any indication of the already numerous reports of folks making the switch, cable companies may be forced to strike back soon with their own streaming services.

What do you think? Do you rely on the comfort of cable or would you be prepared to go streaming for life? We’d like to hear from you, so sound off in the comments below.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Announcing the 2013 uTester of the Year Awards

uTester of the YearThe Grammy Awards and Golden Globes have just passed us by, and the Academy Awards are on the horizon. Awards season is in full swing, and it wouldn’t be complete without an annual trip down uTest memory lane:  We’re excited and pleased to announce the winners of our 5th Annual uTester of the Year Awards!

The uTester of the Year Awards are the highest distinction a uTester can receive, and celebrate community members that have consistently gone above and beyond in their call of duty on uTest projects. This year’s winners were chosen by our Community and Project Management teams, who have the privilege of working closely with top-notch testers from around the world. It’s never an easy task (it’s quite daunting, actually) distilling 100,000+ testers into one small group, but we believe that after much debate and sifting through quantitative and qualitative data, we’ve chosen an extremely dedicated and talented bunch this year.

And with our community reaching the 100,000-member milestone last year, our award pool also grew. New categories this year include uTest Rising Star (for high-performing newbies) and the uTester Community Choice Award (voted solely by the community). Additionally, additions of Top Testers in categories such as Usability and Security only underscore the increased investment by our customers in these testing types and how our testers have stepped up in a big way in these areas.

So without prolonging the agony of anticipation, here are the 2013 uTester of the Year Award Winners:

Drumoll….Top honor for the 2013 Awards goes to…

Our Most Valuable Tester (MVT) award goes to Romulo BM De Oliveira from Brazil! Romulo has been with uTest for nearly three years now, and this is his first foray into the uTester of the Year Awards, which makes this even more gratifying.

Romulo comes from a web hosting industry background prior to joining uTest in 2011. With uTest, he has achieved great heights in becoming a Gold-rated Functional and Localization tester, along with going beyond as a Test Team Lead on enterprise cycles.

Romulo had this to say on his Most Valuable Tester honors for 2013:

“2013 was an awesome year. And now knowing that I was nominated for this award by the Project and Community Management teams, I really can’t find words to reinforce that feeling. 

I am really happy to see that dedication and hard work as both tester and TTL are yielding great results. But it wasn’t just my efforts that made this possible. I couldn’t have achieved it without the help from everyone involved with uTest (uTesters, Customers, CMs, TTLs and PMs). I learn a lot from all of you every day! 

So, I would like thank you all for being part of uTest and join me in the search for better app quality! It is a great honor to to receive this award! The focus stays the same in 2014: provide value to our customers!”

Joining Romulo, here’s the complete list of 2013 uTester of the Year Award Winners:

Most Valuable Tester (MVT): Romulo BM De Oliveira, Brazil
Expert of the Year – Security: Alexander Waldmann, Germany
Expert of the Year – Usability: Chris Anderson, United States
Expert of the Year – Load:  Mais Tawfik, United States
Expert of the Year – Automation: Brian Rock, United States
TTL of the Year – Onsite  Mike Davidson, United States
TTL of the Year – Remote  Andy Merrill, United States
uTest Forums Rockstar of the Year  Allyson Burk, United States
uTest Rising Star  Dave D’Amico, United States
uTester Community Choice Award Bryan Loh, Singapore

In addition to the special category honors, we’re proud to recognize the following testers as Top Testers of 2013:

Helen Burge, United Kingdom
CJ Troiani, United States
David Oreol, United States
Lucas Dargis, United States
Evan Hjelmstad, United States
Adam Greb, United States
Robert Pall, Romania
Moises Ramos, Spain
Ryan LaMontagne, United States
Colleen Wilkinson, United States
Adam Gerber, United States
Aaron Weintrob, United States
Jason Yamada, Japan
Coen Bust, United Kingdom
Dylan Foster, United States

A huge congratulations and thank you is in order for all of our 2013 uTester of the Year winners, and for all of their hard work and dedication to tester quality and bettering our great community! This group of 25 is a shining example of the outstanding testers that make up our community and consistently engage in important projects without sacrificing quality. Stop by the forums and be sure to congratulate all the winners!

The wheels are already in motion for the 2014 Awards, which are bound to be another huge event as the uTest Community expands into the one-stop hub for testers’ professional development. In other words, testers will have plenty of ways to get involved this year (and be recognized in next year’s awards!) beyond just paid projects, including authoring, reviewing and rating uTest University courses and sharing QA resources that lend a helpful hand to fellow community members. Happy Testing!

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Learn the Essentials of Accessibility Testing

uTest UniversityAt uTest, we specialize in in-the-wild testing. Our worldwide community of more than 100,000 testers provides real feedback from real users. But a truly great tester doesn’t limit themselves to issues that only they would encounter. They anticipate and seek out issues that other users would have as well. Making sure that an application doesn’t suffer from shorting access to users with physical or mental disabilities is at the heart of Accessibility testing. One of uTest’s top testers, Helen Burge, designed a uTest University course that takes us through a broad level overview of accessibility testing.

Accessibility testing, as Helen puts it, focuses on the user. Essentially, if your application cannot be used by someone who is visually impaired, hearing impaired, or has any number of other possible limitations, you have an accessibility issue. The accessibility testing course is a great tool for developers looking to avoid locking out certain users and for testers trying to suss out bugs related to accessibility. Helen runs through a number of scenarios where someone may be limited. She also provides a link the World Wide Web Consortium website where you can see internationally shared standards of accessibility.

The key takeaway from this course is that accessibility testing is just as, if not even more, important than its testing counterparts. While issues with functionality and usability may lead you to lose and alienate your customers, accessibility issues may lead to a lawsuit for discriminatory practices.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

2013 uTest Community Year in Review and 2014 Preview

2013 uTest Community Year in Review…and 2014 Preview The uTest Community no doubt had its biggest year yet in 2013 – it was a year full of milestones and anniversaries, expanded educational opportunities, rewards abound for the best of our best testers, and laughter and tears. OK, so maybe there weren’t many tears shed, but you get the point: it was a momentous and exciting year! Take a trip with us as we recap 2013 in our passionate community of testing professionals.

100,000 Testers and Five Years as a Community
The end of 2012 saw our community grow to 70,000, and just a year later it increased to the astounding total of 100,000, five years after our community started with the humble beginnings of only 8,300 testers. This is a testament to the passion and dedication of our testers – they are the lifeblood of our company. Some of our testers that helped make this 100,000 possible reflect on their experiences in 2013:

2013 was a busy year for me here at uTest.  I ramped myself up to becoming a Gold-rated tester working full-time, within the first few months.  I was invited to participate as a Forums Moderator and had applied for Test Team Lead.  I went through the TTL vetting process and then decided to take it a step further and applied for Community Project Manager.  As of November, I have been enjoying my role as CPM.  With hard work and determination, there is no limit to what you can achieve at uTest!

                - CJ Troiani, Community Project Manager and Gold-rated Tester

2013 was an awesome year for me on uTest, not only in terms of earnings and learning but also in terms of the progress they made in many aspects that surround the uTester life: Platform improvements, new community tiers, training and Sandbox classes, just to name a few. With that said, there is no way I can’t think that in 2014 it is going to be even better!

                -Romulo BM de Oliveira, Gold-rated Tester and TTL, uTester since 2011

Several colleagues had recommended uTest as a good way to improve your skills as a tester and earn some extra money. On my Honeymoon I was contacted by Peter Shih about Accessibility Testing. Not only was I given the kudos of being the uTest expert, but I also have helped create some uTest University tutorials. I have worked on several projects with a great range of people and personalities, and I have made new friends with the same love of testing.  I do think it was a good move on my part, as the whole experience has increased my confidence in my abilities and I am helping others learn important new skills.

                -Helen Burge, Accessibility Testing Expert and uTest University Instructor

What you do at uTest is visible and clear to so many.  This can be scary, but the flipside is that when you do well, others see it, and it makes a difference in how successful you are at uTest and how others see you.  This helps provide accountability AND reward.  And the reward is not always merely financial. Along with this is the sense of community that uTest has in its DNA.  For whatever reason, uTest has seen that community is important and has made it that way. I have thoroughly enjoyed the fact that we are working hard together.  We are learning together.  And it’s fun.  Honestly I think it’s something I’ve been missing in my work life for a while now.

                – Dave D’Amico, Gold-rated Tester who joined us in 2013

Community Plus and Premier
The community saw the introduction of Community Plus and Premier – introduced to further distinguish the best of the best testers, increase the value and quality delivered to our customers, and incent testers for doing so. And incented our community was: In addition to more frequent enterprise cycle invitations, testers received higher uplifts on enterprise cycles to the tune of +10% for Premier and +5% for Plus, on top of Gold, Silver, and Bronze increases.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

uTest Launches uTest University – A Hub for All Things Testing

uTest UniversityThere is a buzz in the uTest community about the launch of uTest University, a single source for testers of all experience levels to access free training resources. We designed uTest University in consultation with testers and trainers in the QA industry to educate testers about what’s new and what’s next in the world of application testing. uTest University includes courses that teach everything from basics to best practices and techniques to tools, as well as rich discussions about career and skill development.  The goal of uTest University is to provide modern training resources for testers and contribute to the art and science of software testing.

uTest University represents the first formal expansion of what uTest is offering for our tester community since the company announced last month that it will change its name to Applause. The uTest name will live on for the purpose of celebrating testers and testing in the form of an open source-esque community, the purpose of which will be to promote the many disciplines that contribute to testing and quality assurance.

“Launching uTest University is an exciting milestone for us and for testers – both inside and outside our current community,” said uTest Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Matt Johnston. “We want to help advance the craft of testing in the way that Spiceworks has for IT professionals, and Stack Overflow has for developers. As we expand the uTest offering beyond paid testing projects, we will create a full-service hub for everything test and QA professionals need in order to learn, earn, network and elevate testing in the apps economy.”

During uTest University’s beta phase we received some great feedback from the tester community which is reflected in the new site design. While the coming months will see the rollout of additional programs, features and courses, today’s public launch includes:

  • Relevant courses and frequent content additions - Since courses will be authored by both professional instructors and uTest community members, the content will be relevant and current. Testers can also request specific courses that would be beneficial to their focus.
  • Dynamic Q&A – In addition to course material that’s readily available, testers will have the ability to ask targeted questions with answers provided by both instructors and fellow members of the community. Most importantly, the answers will be vetted to provide the best available response.  The format will be similar to Quora, StackOverflow and other crowdsourced solution providers.
  • Expert Reviews – These reviews are dedicated case studies that provide in-depth analysis on real-world testing challenges and detailed walkthroughs of proposed solutions.  For example, a uTest Test Team Lead may review voluntarily-submitted bug reports and provide focused feedback on areas of strengths and recommendations for improvement.
  • Events Calendar – Testers will be able to stay aware of university events, live webinars and release dates for new content and courses.
  • Recommended courses  – At the bottom of each course, testers will find a listing of other recommended course material related to the course they’re reviewing.

As many of our long time testers know, the blueprint for uTest University was established years back by the creation of uTest’s help topics, training and peer learning through the uTest Forums.  Then, like now, the intent was to create and encourage inclusive and comprehensive knowledge sharing for QA professionals. uTest University relies on the input we receive from our community members and this feedback will be one of the cornerstones of the university as we continue to enhance the course content.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing