Why Streaming Media Providers Must Do Regular In-Market Tests on All Devices

Greg Burnett
Reading time: minutes

In-the-wild testing with real people is best for functionality and UX

Some issues, such as differing user experiences across OTT platforms just shouldn’t exist. Sure, there is an ever-growing list of OTT streaming devices on the market: Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire just to name a few, and it might seem too daunting of a challenge to test them all. The truth is, it’s much easier than you might think.

To do video streaming tests on all the devices out there, you need a sampling of people on all of the existing streaming devices, on various networks around the world and have them test the functionality and overall user experience. Sound like a big task? With the right partner, it’s not. More on that later.

Video streaming testing can be done during major network challenges

I recently read an article on how many Roku users are experiencing streaming issues when watching HBO Max. In the article, Dan Rayburn, a streaming media expert and analyst at Frost & Sullivan, makes the point that building a flawless app is hard, if not impossible. He mentions that outages sometimes occur when a large number of users tune into a live event at the same time. While live events do present network bandwidth issues, a video streaming test scheduled to intentionally coincide with a major live event can help media providers understand the user experience.

Want to know what users of various Roku devices in Germany’s top three viewing markets experience during a major football match? Schedule a test with an in-country testing group using various Roku devices during the match. Just as mobile network operators (MNOs) have learned that the best way to test roaming services on partner networks is with real people using a varied set of devices on those actual networks, streaming media providers must understand that the only way to test how real people use streaming services - and the associated hardware - is testing with real people and actual devices.

A variety of tests can be set up for different times of day, using different versions of hardware on various networks. In addition, testers can stream a show or live event on a home streaming device, or test the streaming on a mobile app. They can heavily load bandwidth in their home, having other household members use devices at the same time as the video streaming test. Testing can and should be customized to give the streaming media provider the broadest visibility into a range of network conditions.

Video streaming test best practices

  • Functional testing - Strong functional testing combines exploratory testing, to discover issues coming from unexpected usage patterns and real-world conditions, with structured testing, to ensure core features work as intended. To do this right, streaming media providers need a proven test community with the size and diversity to test around the world, in any language, and on any region-specific device to ensure all features are localized.

  • User experience testing - Even when features work as designed on streaming media devices, if the user experience is not intuitive or easy to use, streaming content providers risk losing customers. Providers must leverage various study types to solicit feedback on features and experiences so they can understand where they can improve. To properly test UX, providers must create testing scripts and execute on them properly to ensure the information they’re looking for is obtained, and of course, get a full report of actionable insights on how to improve the UX.

  • Accessibility testing - Accessibility is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must. All subscribers and viewers deserve access to full digital experiences. Conforming to accessibility guidelines creates a better user experience, develops a more loyal subscriber base, and reduces the chance of potential litigation. Leading companies integrate accessibility throughout their development lifecycle.

  • Localization - Without the right strategy and partner, it’s difficult to test for the many cultural variables across different markets. UI and content, including cultural nuances such as navigation norms; payment preferences and processes, including currency conversion; local information like postal codes and street addresses; tax calculations; and cultural nuances can make the mere thought of localization seem overwhelming.

Applause has trusted testers all around the world

Applause builds vetted, crowdsourced testing teams curated to match your exact needs in terms of demographic, location, language, device/OS combination and testing expertise. This allows you to replicate real-world scenarios and test with digital experts that match your target customers. Crowdsourced testers are skilled in the full suite of testing solutions – from manual exploratory testing to accessibility and payments testing.

Crowdtesting’s distributed, remote and on-demand nature gives you better scalability and faster results compared to traditional testing methods. It also delivers unmatched and nearly limitless coverage across testing scenarios.

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