Everyone loves to check out new products—especially during development—and there are quite a few products under development at any time and lots of ways to test them. While every product test has its own unique procedures, the most effective way to get yourself in the testing loop is to read the monthly APH newsletter. For information on subscribing to the newsletter or reading it online, see APH News.
Educational Product Research
Project leaders at APH regularly request folks to test prototypes, and each one has specific requirements. For example, if you are testing STEM products, some knowledge about the subject material is often a prerequisite. Similarly, if we call for testers of a UEB web-based tutorial, some familiarity with UEB and using a browser is almost certainly useful.
In many cases, project leaders call for participation by having you send information to them. When it comes to physical products, the numbers are often limited to the number of prototypes available; therefore, it is important that you commit to spending some time to testing before you provide feedback.
Technology Product Research
When it comes to software, there is room for many more people to test. The software iteration process is quite different from physical products, because we can update the app during the field test process. You may receive several iterations during the test period.
Many times, we’ll ask you to join a mailing list for testers of that product, so your feedback gets back to the developer and all the other people working on the app. This also affords testers the chance to discuss it among the group. Information about what changes have been made also get relayed to you through your participation in the mailing list.
If the product is an app, you’ll have to use the standard tools for the platform on which you test—TestFlight for iOS or Google Groups Beta for Android. If it is a web-based app, you get updates as soon as they are available just by going to the appropriate web page. The key is to watch for the APH newsletter for your opportunities.