Want to Make More Money? Then Localize Your App!

Did you know that US companies lose roughly $50 billion in potential sales every year because of problems associated with translation and localization? It’s true, just ask the U.S. State Department if you don’t believe me.

I came across that statistic in a recent article by David Marino in which he asks the question: Should I localize my mobile app?

Short answer: yes, but it’s not all about the money.

If you want your game or company to move beyond being a local product, you need to think global, and if you want your product to compete successfully with other native products, you need to localize it. This goes beyond simple translating.

What follows is a great discussion of how to best achieve localization success. He talks about big picture stuff (i.e. whyL10N is vital), tactical details (i.e. fonts & languages) and  most importantly, how to select a partner to make the process run smoothly. Let’s take a quick at each of these points (notes added in parenthesis):

Big Picture

Localization helps reinforce the impression that the game (or app) was carefully crafted and tailored for each market, rather than simply “mass-produced” for worldwide consumption. Finally, it allows your game to build credibility by demonstrating that you care about the customs and sensitivities of other cultures.

Continue Reading

Extra! Extra! uTest In The News

See anything shocking in the news this week about Lyndsay, Kim or Ashton? I’m guessing NOT because the paparazzi were focused on uTest’s breaking news all week! All joking aside, our $17 million D-round news (led by QuestMark) announced Monday grabbed the attention of the world’s leading journalists, bloggers and tech gurus! Here are a few outstanding pieces, but you can read all the buzz in uTest’s press room.

-Fortune: Venture Capital Deals

-TechCrunch: uTest Helps Developers Build Better Software

-VentureBeat: uTest Grabs $17 Million From QuestMark

-Boston Globe: Southborough’s uTest Completes $17M Round

-Private Equity Hub: QuestMark Leads $17M For uTest

-Xconomy: uTest, Boosted By Surge In Mobile App Dev, Inks $17M

-TechTarget: Crowdsource Test Group uTest Announces $17M Funding

-Boston Business Journal: uTest Takes Step Towards IPO with $17M

-BostInnovation: With Revenue Increasing Y-O-Y 250%, uTest Raises $17M

 

Celebrate with us and have a great weekend everyone!!!

Vote for the Worst Software Glitch of 2011

The writers over at ZDNet.com posted a nice summary of the WebLayers Top 10 Software Glitches of 2011. Of course, as with any top ten list, there’s plenty of room for debate. And since our readers know a thing or two about software bugs, I’ve decided to put this up for a vote.

So take a look at their list – think it over very carefully – and vote for the worst software glitch of 2011:

[poll id="5"]

Magazines Say Bye-Bye Paper, Hello Digital!

Digital PublicationThe newest issue of eWeek arrived today wrapped in a white, matte, heavyweight cover “introducing” eWeek Digital. Once I tore my eyes away from the image of the sleek iPad sporting Steve Jobs’ face that took up the middle of the page (I’m an admitted Applephile) I got to the three little paragraphs at the bottom corner of the page. The top one talked about the “same award winning coverage.” The second paragraph dropped this line on subscribers: “Exclusively available on a new digital platform.” The third paragraph drove it home: “There is no time to lose… This could be your last issue!”

eWeek is ceasing publication of its print magazine and will offer only a digital edition. And it’s not alone. Let’s explore this trend of print publications moving to online or digital only editions and who it’s effecting most.

With the explosion of digital readers and tablets we’ve seen many major publications start producing digital versions of their traditional paper offerings. But in the late aughts (2007-2009-ish) we started seeing something new … publications completely abandoning their print versions in favor of a digital-only option. That trend slowed down in 2010 but has come back stronger than ever this year. Here’s a look at the digital-only timeline:

Continue Reading

Furious Fowl: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Copycat Apps

Here at uTest, we have the unique privilege of seeing some of the world’s latest, greatest mobile apps before they make it big. After years of testing these apps, we’ve also gotten pretty good at spotting the likely winners and losers through several distinguishing characteristics. These include functionality, security, ease-of-use and most importantly: originality.

As you’re probably aware, not every app is original. In fact, most of the apps in existence are anything but unique. Scroll through your app store for five minutes and see if you can argue otherwise.

Anyway, this glut of apps – especially copycat apps – has gotten so ridiculous that it’s got several high-profile tech bloggers essentially begging to make it stop. Here’s an excerpt from Can We Stop The Copycat Apps from Rip Empson of TechCrunch:

While I encourage developers to continue making great apps, I do question the need for both making and for approving the parade of — for lack of a better word — “rip-off” apps. What am I talking about? Example: Over the last week, I’ve watched another fairly blatant copy of Angry Birds hover inside the “Top Free iPhone Apps” list on the App Store, even grabbing the second spot at one point.

I’m not naming the app explicitly, because I don’t want to give the game free publicity. That’s what they want, and it’s probably a good idea to avoid promoting the production and downloading of spammy (cr)apps. But needless to say, the scenario is familiar: The game’s icon is practically identical to that of Angry Birds, it has “Angry” in the title, the design and gameplay — while not exactly identical — have enough similarities to make for some serious eye-rolling. Not to mention, the game is awful. One-star reviews abound.

Continue Reading

A Peek Behind The Scenes of uTest’s $17 Million Series D Round

Just a few minutes ago, uTest announced that we’ve received a $17MM D round of funding led by QuestMark Partners. Obviously, we’re pumped about this news and what it means for the future of uTest, as well as the future of software testing. So what does it mean, exactly? I’m glad you asked…

Many people will look at the investment of $17,000,000.00 (yeah, I added the cents because typing that many zeros is oddly fun) and say “sheesh, that’s a lot of cash!” But, as with any investment, the money is only part of the story. So with that in mind, I wanted to provide an inside look at the how this deal came about, why it came about, the parties involved, and last but not least, what we’re going to do with all that dough.

Let’s Make a Deal
As the D round implies, this isn’t our first dance with VCs. In fact, this brings our total funds raised to more than $37MM across four rounds since we opened our doors in 2007. For those keeping score at home, that’s $30MM in the past 15 months alone. We were blown away by how insightful the crew from QuestMark is, and how quickly they “got it”. And we were excited (though not surprised) that our existing investors participated fully in this round, including Scale Ventures, Longworth Partners, Egan-Managed Capital, Mesco Ltd and MTDC.

In fact, this D Round was oversubscribed (i.e. we had to turn down additional funds that investors wanted to give) and competitive (i.e. we had multiple parties to choose from). Because of these factors, and our increasingly steep growth, our valuation more than doubled since our C round in late 2010. Not too shabby.

And since we’ve achieved year-over-year growth of 250% over the past three years – it’s not hard to figure out why our investors were ready to put their chips on the table and make one of the largest investments ever in a crowdsourcing company. Basically, it demonstrates that we’re onto something big – and just as importantly, that the opportunity before us is enormous.

Why Now?
If you scan the recent headlines, you may have noticed that VC funding of crowdsourcing companies is heating up. In the past year, more than $75MM has been invested in crowd-driven firms, with a median investment of $5MM. Clearly, this model is no longer considered experimental, but rather as a high-growth way to deliver expert services.  And as a way to provide exceptional value – to customers, to the community, and to investors. That said, the momentum around crowdsourcing had little to do with our decision to raise additional funds.

Over the past four years, uTest has seen massive customer adoption of our in-the-wild testing services, including big brands like Google, Skype, Intuit and Answers.com, as well as startup stars like Bump, Trulia, Vlingo and Acquia. The growth in our customer base has been great, but the opportunity before us is even greater. Want proof? Just ask yourself this – how patient are you with websites that hang or don’t render properly, or mobile apps that don’t work when & where you need them. Yeah, me too.

Of course, our revenue and customer base aren’t the only things growing around here. If you recall, we recently dove into other types of testing services, including security, load, localization and usability, so the latest round of investment will help us further refine and expand our offerings.

In short, we elected to raise this round so we could seize the opportunity to help companies launch better apps.

What’s Next?
With this latest round, we don’t expect to maintain our steep revenue growth… we expect to significantly increase it. We’ll do this by:

  • Educating the market about the shockingly high cost of apps that work fine in the lab, but not in the hands of users…in the wild
  • Expanding our footprint from our current locations in Boston, NYC and San Francisco to include Seattle, Dallas Fort-Worth, LA, Chicago, Atlanta and others hot spots where apps get created
  • Creating tools for developers & testers to enable them to launch better web and mobile apps
  • Recruiting specialized testers, including more security experts, linguists and performance engineers
  • Evaluating opportunities for merger and acquisition that come across our radar

I can’t thank our current group of investors enough for their belief, advice, financial resources, and most importantly, the freedom to learn and grow. Other groups who have earned my gratitude include:

  • Our employees for their tireless dedication and endless creativity
  • Our customers who know better than anyone that in-the-wild testing is an necessary part of launching apps that their users love
  • Our community of testers for their passion, talent and professionalism

If you’re interested in my take on the current climate of raising VC funding (tough and getting tougher), or my advice to other entrepreneurs who’re trying to raise money, I’ll put together a post, and possibly a video, later this week. And if you have a specific question, drop me a note in the comments and I’ll respond in the aforementioned future post.

One Thing That Won’t Change
For those who fear we’ll go corporate, begin acting stuffy, or start wearing something nicer than jeans & t-shirts… DON’T. We will be the same quirky, loud, (sometimes) funny, maniacally focused, obsessively detailed crew we’ve always been.

Sincere thanks to our friends, families and fans. We love that you challenge us every bit as much as you support us.

uTest Nation Photo Contest Entries and Winners

With over 45,000 testers around the world, we’re always looking for fresh and interesting ways for uTesters to network, learn, and have fun.

The uTest nation photo contest was launched as a fun way for testers to show off their creativity and to literally visualize diversity that comprises uTest community. uTesters were challenged to take photos of themselves in interesting places displaying the uTest logo. Creativity was encouraged. The conditions for each entry were that uTesters needed to pose with a provided uTest logo, and must be safe for work. For instance, testers could display the uTest logo while exploring the Parthenon, on holiday at the Eiffel Tower, or even while visiting world’s largest ball of yarn. While some uTesters were able to shoot photos in person on location, others were able to display their Photoshop skills to create some fun photos.

Through the course of the contest we received 21 submissions from all around the world, and the winners were completely chosen by the community through a weighted average voting system. Once votes were tallied, our team evaluated each photo to make sure entry rules were adhered to and then calculated the winners.

Existing forum members can visit the photo contest topic to see all the entries. If you’re a uTester and haven’t registered for a forum account yet, be sure to register today so you can check out all of the photos and stay informed of future contests! Click below to see the winning photos and honorable mentions.
Continue Reading

The Password is Password (but don’t tell anyone)

You don’t have to be an expert in security testing to understand the importance of a strong password. With hacking incidents at an all-time high, you might assume that users everywhere have taken the appropriate steps to prevent thieves and miscreants from highjacking their accounts, stealing their information and pretty much ruining their lives.

Of course, you assumed wrongly. As Mashable recently pointed out, the most popular password is…wait for it…password! There are some other gems on their list of the 25 Worst Passwords of 2011, but here are the top finishers:

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. monkey
  7. 1234567
  8. letmein
  9. trustno1
  10. dragon

So if you see a your own password on this list please stop what you’re doing and change it now, because there’s nothing funny about a stupid password….

Continue Reading

Guest Post: How Acquia Tests Software (via uTest)

In case you missed today’s news, uTest announced an exciting new partnership with Acquia, the enterprise guide to Drupal. As part of the deal – which provides their customers with unique access to uTest’s full suite of testing services – Acquia was legally obligated to write a guest post for our blog. Actually, that wasn’t part of the deal, but we were able to get a great guest post from them anyway.

Meet Stellina McKinney – Acquia’s Director of Engineering Services – who is here to discuss how Acquia leverages the uTest community. That’s right, not only is Acquia a uTest partner, they’re also a very active uTest customer. Enjoy the post!

*******

I started at Acquia 6 months ago, having previously worked for larger, process-heavy corporations that sold packaged proprietary, software with long release cycles. Our QA teams consisted of over 50 people (sometimes a lot more), and were always the long pole in the process, whether it was Agile or Waterfall.

Not so at Acquia.

At Acquia, I manage a lean QA team of 4 people (we have another team that tests usability), and we support 5 products. We work in an Agile environment, release every 3 weeks, and meet our quality goals for each sprint.

Our QA testing strategy at Acquia is to perform tests on agile user stories (akin to use-case tests or acceptance tests in Behavior Driven Development). Our goals are to:

  • Define the behavior of the system, and not have a previously-coded system define the behavior for us
  • Test failure cases so that they won’t affect production
  • Stress systems through performance and load automation
  • Mix automated and manual testing methods, as they’re complementary (machines are fast and consistent, but people have brains and are unpredictable)

We do this by:

  • Listing the scenarios that must succeed for a product to be complete
  • Writing automated tests to perform basic success and failure operations
  • Engaging a crowd-sourced manual testing platform to examine our product in more depth

How can we do this with only a team of 4?  uTest’s crowdsourced testing platform lets us leverage over 45 testers a month, without exceeding my start-up budget.

Continue Reading

High School Teaches Students a Different Kind of Testing – App Testing

High School-Aged DevelopersLast week Matt Solar posted about a 6th grade mobile app developer, so let’s continue that youngster trend. Ever since computers started appearing in homes there have been young people tinkering with technology and creating amazing things. Now Winchester High School in Winchester, MA is extending that young, tech-savvy, creative spirit from the home/basement/parent’s garage into the classroom. WHS is now offering a “Designing Applications for Android” course. Here’s Winchester Patch with the details (emphasis added):

Four-year  WHS Technology Teacher Daniel Downs, realized that the future of technology is moving toward mobile devices. He has created a curriculum that challenges the students in the design, implementation, and testing process using tools chosen for their superior interactive educational value. These tools such as Adobe Flash CS5 and Accelerometer programs, allow the students to achieve an unusual classroom success—the success of being able to design, implement, test, and immediately use their designs on technology already part of daily life. …

The Designing Applications for Androids class, in two months, has designed and published 32 original Children’s Games. … These are all currently published on the class’s tablet computers. Currently students are designing Apps to potentially replace the school’s paper agenda planners. …

Soon, students will conduct a survey of the entire WHS community’s mobile device application needs. Then, they will design apps to satisfy these needs. In one semester, students will have learned to design, implement, test, survey, and design for others.

Read the whole article >>>

Continue Reading