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Methodology and System for using Gamification Techniques to Encourage Participation in Software Beta Test Programs

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240382D
Publication Date: 2015-Jan-28
Document File: 2 page(s) / 94K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system to encourage thorough user testing of software products by implementing gamification techniques, such as incentives and rewards, in the testing process.

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Methodology and System for using Gamification Techniques to Encourage Participation in Software Beta Test Programs

Software vendors typically want to have a number of clients beta test the software prior to making it available to the public. For the client, beta tests can provide an early look at new products and product features and the ability to influence product directions; however, such testing requires a significant investment of time and resources. Many information technology (IT) departments are running very lean organizations. Thus,

when IT groups participate in a beta test, only superficial testing of the new product is performed due to a lack of time and resources. As a result, software vendors might release a product that has really only been tested by internal test teams in lab environments. Without extensive testing in real-world customer environments vendors

run the risk of shipping products with problems or products that do not satisfy the clients' needs.

Vendors attempt to entice clients to participate in beta testing by offering free support or

education or by inviting testers to participate in customer councils. This is not always enough incentive to encourage in-depth and complete testing of the new product.

The novel idea is to use gamification techniques to draw the client into participating in extensive testing of the new product during the beta test. The goal is to engage the users in a game to encourage continuation through the program and provide thorough testing. The intended user group is comprised of, but not limited to:

• Internal test teams • Beta testers • Systems experts • New hires
• Interns/Co-Ops

The novel approach involves embedding clues to a puzzle or other incentives (e.g., "prizes") throughout the software product, as a video game does. As the client

exercises more and more of the code paths in the beta product, the user uncovers more clues or prizes. If the user encounters a problem with the program (i.e. a bug), then the user more likely to report it to the vendor because it inhibits progress and rewards. This solution appeals to a user's sense of fun and adventure and provides incentives to fully test the product.

To implement the system, a subroutine or object can be coded to a...