6 Types of Product Testing (With Examples and Tips)

Updated March 10, 2023

During the product development process, it's important to gather feedback from potential customers to help determine a product's viability in the marketplace. Many teams choose to use various methods of product testing to collect and analyze data from customers about a product's key features or performance. If you're interested in working in product development, you may want to learn more about the different types of product testing to help you be successful in your career.

In this article, we explain what product testing is, outline its importance, describe six common types of product testing and offer tips to help you conduct effective testing throughout the product development process.

Related: How To Become a Product Developer

What is product testing?

Product testing is a method of analyzing a product concept, feature or functionality to determine how potential customers may use or react to the product. It's a common part of software development, though many companies use this type of testing to create and market products effectively to consumers. The testing process typically begins with a question to be answered, such as whether users may use a new feature on a mobile application. The product team then develops a hypothesis and tests their theory by using one or several testing methods.

Depending on the methodology of the product team, this testing may occur in various stages throughout the development process. Typically, product testing occurs within these methodologies:

  • Waterfall: Teams using a waterfall methodology often conduct product testing during the initial stages of a project to evaluate the product concept and market potential. Then, they complete other types of product testing once they've finished building the product.

  • Agile: This methodology encourages teams to conduct continuous product testing throughout all phases of development. Teams may use product testing to evaluate new ideas, test features for functionality and continually review the product even after its release.

Related: Product Development Process: Definition, Benefits and Tips

Why is product testing important?

Product testing can help various members of the development team, including project managers, developers, testers and managers, measure the success of a product. Teams can use this type of testing to determine whether a product functions as expected or whether customers may find value in a new product feature. Specifically, product testing can help teams:

  • Gain insights: This type of testing can help teams gain valuable insights about customers' needs and preferences, which can provide direction during the development process.

  • Improve products: By gathering and reviewing feedback during development, teams can use this input to improve products to meet customers' expectations and requirements.

  • Save time: Product testing can help teams save time during development by identifying potential problems or risks early in the development process, before launching the product to consumers.

  • Achieve business goals: Teams can use product testing to help them understand the priorities of the product so they can achieve key business goals, such as attracting more customers or increasing revenue.

6 types of product testing

While product testing can vary widely based on the project, there are several types of testing that share similarity across various industries. Here are six common types of product testing with examples to help you understand each one:

1. Concept testing

During concept testing, product teams explore the feasibility of a product idea or concept and evaluate how it may perform in the marketplace. Depending on the type of product being built, concept testing often involves presentations, customer surveys or wireframes, which are frameworks for digital products, such as a website. Concept testing can help teams determine whether to progress to the next stage of development by evaluating customers' responses to the idea. It can also provide clarity on the features or functionality customers want from the product.

Example: A food manufacturing company wants to launch a new brand of sugar-free cereal. The product development team decides to survey existing customers to determine the potential profitability of the product. The team sends an email to 500 customers, asking them questions about their preferred brand of cereal and their interest in a sugar-free option. Most customers express interest in the concept, so the product team begins to plan the development of the new cereal.

2. QA testing

Quality assurance (QA) testing often occurs in a staged environment, where teams can test the features or functionality of a product before releasing it publicly. Typically, testing teams evaluate the product using different scenarios to imitate a customer's experience. They may also use QA testing to test product updates or new features before releasing the changes publicly. This type of product testing ensures the product works as expected and helps teams identify problems before launching the product.

Example: A restaurant chain wants to add a new map feature to its mobile app, allowing customers to use their location to find a restaurant near them. The software development team creates the feature and sends it to the QA team for testing. The QA team tests the map feature on three different operating systems and then performs additional testing on various versions of each system. After testing, the QA team determines the feature works as expected, and the company releases the new feature as part of its next update.

Read more: What Is Quality Assurance Testing and Why Is It Important?

3. A/B testing

With this type of product testing, teams create two versions of a product feature or component and ask customers which version they prefer. The differences in the versions may be slight, such as two different color schemes for a website, or they may be considerable, such as two different product names. Often, teams use A/B testing to make design choices based on customers' preferences. It can also help teams learn more about customers' needs and preferences so they can create products to meet those expectations.

Example: A retail company decides to redesign its website to make it easier for customers to make purchases online. The development team creates two versions of a "Shop Now" button for the website. The first button has a red background, while the second button has a black background. After receiving both versions of the button, the product team conducts A/B testing and finds more website visitors click on the button with a black background. The company decides to use that button on its redesigned website.

4. Market testing

Market testing involves introducing a product to some customers to assess the market. The product team may release the product to customers in different geographic areas, or they may choose specific demographics, such as customers between the ages of 18 and 35, to receive the product. This type of product testing can help teams measure the potential success of a product in the market. They often use market testing to forecast product sales, plan advertising campaigns and determine effective distribution strategies.

Example: A retail clothing store plans to expand its products with a new line of athletic wear. The product team decides to use market testing to estimate sales revenue from the new line. The team chooses a small group of loyal customers to try the products and offer their opinions. After receiving feedback from the group of customers, the product team analyzes the data to develop revenue projections for the new products.

Read more: What Is Testing Marketing? (With Tips and Example)

5. User testing

User testing occurs after the development team has built the product and released it publicly. Teams perform user testing by observing how customers interact with the product. They gather data and information based on customers' experiences with the product to determine whether to make changes in future iterations. It's commonly used in software development to determine whether any updates are necessary to better meet users' needs or improve the user experience.

Example: A software development company releases an update on a mobile photo app that allows users to share their photos through a direct message. After two weeks, the product team reviews user data and finds users aren't using the new feature as much as expected. The product team assembles a focus group to conduct user testing. By observing the focus group, the team learns that customers have a difficult time locating the sharing feature. The product team shares the data with developers, who redesign the feature to make it easier for users to access.

6. Regression testing

Teams use this type of product testing after customers have begun using the product. During regression testing, teams test the current features of a product to help them determine the features they want to add or update. While some existing features may remain the same, regression testing helps teams determine if the new features may impact the current product's functionality or usability. Teams can perform regression testing to ensure the product continues to work as expected after the update.

Example: A development operations team plans to release an update to a mobile food delivery app so users can communicate directly with the restaurant preparing their food. The developers write code for this new feature and want to ensure it functions correctly. They perform regression testing on a past product release to determine how the app performs with the new function enabled. Finding no errors, the development operations team decides to release the update to the public.

Tips for product testing

Here are some tips to help your team conduct product testing during the development process:

  • Use different methods: It's helpful to use different product testing methods to provide clear direction throughout all phases of development. For example, your team may use concept testing to determine the viability of a product idea, A/B testing to assess its design and QA testing to ensure the product functions as expected.

  • Refrain from making assumptions: Though it's helpful to develop a hypothesis before product testing, refrain from making assumptions about how customers may use or react to a product. This mindset allows you to evaluate data objectively so you can make decisions in the best interests of customers.

  • Test successful products: While it's important to conduct product testing to identify potential problems or risks, it's also helpful to test successful products so you can learn what's already working well. Collect this data through product testing and use that information when developing future products for continued success.


Explore more articles

  • Annual Leave Letter: Definition, How To Write and Example
  • Extraneous Variables: Examples, Types and Controls
  • What Is TOGAF? (And How To Earn Certification)
  • What Is Stakeholder Communication? (Plus Strategies)
  • How To Write a Proposal Acceptance Letter (With Template)
  • 100 Motivational Quotes for Work To Inspire Office Success
  • 10 Skills Managers Use to Effectively Manage Their Teams
  • What Is a Budget Estimate? (Plus 5 Common Types and Importance)
  • Frequency: What It Is and How To Calculate It
  • How To Calculate the Percent Difference of 2 Values
  • 12 Important Elements of a Successful Presentation
  • What Are Leadership Vision Statements?