Publication details

A large-scale comparative study of beta testers and regular users



Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Communications of the ACM
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Informatics

Field Informatics
Keywords beta testers; regular users; large-scale comparison; security software
Description In this paper, we investigate whether beta testers represent regular users well enough to allow for the extrapolation of testing data to standard users. We have investigated records of beta testers and standard users of home security solution developed by the IT security software provider ESET. With more than 600 000 participants from more than 180 countries, we present what we believe to be the first large-scale comparison between regular users and beta testers. We compared several aspects of both populations, such as hardware, operating system, country of origin, all taken from system data. Other attributes, such as age, gender, privacy perception and computer proficiency self-evaluation, were available thanks to a user questionnaire. We conclude that–in our study–beta users represent regular users well in terms of hardware and operating system in large-scale beta testing. However, populations differ significantly in the distribution of users and testers between countries. We also provide general recommendations for selecting and/or analyzing beta testers.
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