I am all about community and people participating in a community. Its the way social media succeeds. But there are non-social media communities out there too (yes I know that’s shocking). I was recently asked to participate in a beta testing for Peer Tester. I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea. Developers helping other developers test their apps. Hats off to the guys and gals over at Engine Yard for designing and putting this application together. Other than the fact that I got tired of looking at that olive green color after years in the military, this site is an great tool for developers.
So now you’re probably asking what exactly it is. Well, you create an account and then create tests for your web application. The tester will then follow your instructions, clicking on what you tell them to do or reading what you tell them to read. Then they are asked questions (multiple choice, short answer, or whatever suits the situation) while they are going through the testing. You can then view their feedback and modify (or not modify) your application accordingly.
For people like me who absolutely suck at flow and visual aesthetics, this is great to see if others think your product elicits the expected reaction. You can even specify the number of people you want to use as a sample size for testing. But just like with any good community site, you need to participate in order to have the site excel. You gain points and get badges for participation and bug finding.
Remember, the site is still in beta (and I can only hope that it will change the site color before it gets out of beta, but that’s me) so there may be some bugs. I encourage everyone to take a look. A little extra application testing never hurt anyone.