What is feature testing?
Feature testing or feature experimentation is a software development process where multiple variations of a feature are tested to determine which one yields the best user experience.
Feature testing allows you to test and optimize the quality of your product. It ensures that your releases are working as they should and are bug-free so you are 100% confident that the feature you are delivering to your users has no issues.
How is it done?
There are several ways to test features.
The most common and least-risky way to implement feature testing is by using feature flags, which helps pave the way for safe experimentation.
Feature flags would allow you, through progressive delivery, to segment your users so as to control who sees your new features before doing a wider release.
Afterward, feature testing takes one step beyond progressive delivery by gathering valuable data about the user experience as each feature variation is released for testing.
Run experiments with A/B tests
Using AB Tasty‘s server-side functionality, anyone on your team from your engineering to your product teams can test in production by toggling features on and off using feature flags. This way, everyone on your team can test out their ideas safely and quickly with the most relevant users and roll back just as quickly if things go wrong.
The platform would then collect data on feature performance by linking flags to business KPIs. Experiment data would then be collected when the user is exposed to the feature and sent back to the platform for reporting purposes, which would help you determine whether there was positive or negative engagement with the new features.
This would enable you to make informed decisions so that the new features align with your business objectives by picking the winning variation.
Why do feature testing?
The benefits of feature testing are clear. It allows you to validate your features by measuring all the relevant metrics when the feature is on and comparing it to other variations so you can determine which variation performs the best with your users.
This means that when the time comes, you will be releasing your best feature variation to the rest of your user base. It also helps you uncover any bugs so you can fix those before the rest of your users are exposed to these bugs.
Therefore, using feature flags, you can keep testing different variations of any of your features until you’ve found the perfect fit based on your users’ needs and feedback.
Continuous testing will then help deliver software releases of better quality. Feature flags also enable continuous delivery, where you can roll out your releases more frequently while hiding any unfinished changes behind a feature flag.
This means that your products go to market quicker while ensuring you’re continuously improving product quality.
Last but certainly not least, feature testing allows your teams to be more agile by fostering collaboration among teams and releasing in small increments and placing users at the heart of the process. This allows you to continue to grow and improve and helps your teams to truly understand what your customers want.
To sum up
Feature testing allows developers to improve the quality of their products, either by modifying already existing features or when introducing new features that would be more readily accepted by users.
With feature testing, you can take small risks while still minimizing the impact of features on your user base by enabling it for a certain portion of your traffic while disabling it for the rest. If the feature yields positive results, you can roll it out to everyone else to maximize its value.
Thus, feature testing using feature flags is a vital step in your software development process before any big-bang release.