This week, we talk about the sixth pattern of web 2.0 applications … Perpetual Beta.
If you’re a frequent user of applications, you will probably notice how often you will have to install and update your applications. This is based on the best practice of ‘Release early and release often’. Although these changes may be quite small and unnoticeable at the start, after a few new updates, you will actually start to notice the dramatic changes from say… a release made 1 year ago, to now.
Blogger Alex (2012) states… “As with most beta software, there’s no guarantee that things will go well, but this new perpetual beta removes most of the risks because the changes are much smaller.”
I think that statement is spot on. With the ability to release smaller changes, developers minimise their risk of losing valued customers and also, facing critical mistakes.
A practice that I want to discuss further is ‘Engage Users as Co-Developers and Real-Time Testers’. An example software would be the Adobe Creative Suite (and any other Adobe product).
Adobe has created a testing centre online called Adobe Lab (Adobe Systems Incorporated, 2012). Adobe Lab is available online and accessible by any member of the public. Basically, it gives people the opportunity and experience to get their hands on emerging new technologies, products and innovations by Adobe.
People are able to test, evaluate and run pre-release software/beta versions, as well as collaborate with other developers and Adobe themselves. By setting up this environment, Adobe maximises consumer feedback to its full potential.
Adobe not only has created Adobe Labs, but they also make sure that they release and advertise beta versions of their upcoming products – just like Adobe Photoshop CS6 beta. Their beta versions are always readily available via download on their website.
With such powerful software, I think Adobe have chosen the right way of going about product releases. It helps involve their loyal group of followers and most importantly, listens to people who, in the end, will be the actual users of the product.
Check out Adobe Labs here!
Adobe Systems Incorporated. 2012. Adobe Labs | Previews, prereleases and beta software from Adobe. [ONLINE] Available at: labs.adobe.com. [Accessed 28 April 2012].
Chitu, Alex. 2012. Perpetual Beta. [ONLINE] Available at: googlesystem.blogspot.com.au/2007/05/perpetual-beta.html. [Accessed 28 April 2012].