Massachusetts-based software testing startup uTest last week launched the third generation of its crowdsource software testing platform. Version 3.0 of includes an enhanced tester rating system, a new collaboration tool, a revamped user interface and new test-cycle wizards to enhance both customer and tester experiences.

uTest’s platform provides crowdsource testing services to independent software vendors and others creating software that use the “crowd” to find bugs. Matt Johnston, uTest’s vice president of marketing and community, defined crowdsourcing as the “notion of outsourcing to an online community.”

To offer customers more visibility into uTest’s community of more than 25,000 testers, an enhanced tester rating system was released. With this feature, customers can see a tester’s “reputation” on the site based on past participation in and completions of tests, as well as his or her overall activity on past projects. After assessing a tester’s participation by how accurately he or she clarifies the type and severity of bugs, among other things, he or she is given a gold, silver or bronze tester badge for customers to see.

Testers are also asked to fill out personal and technical profiles when joining the community, Johnston said. This ensures that costumers are linked with the best tester for their project, based on demographics and experiences, he added.

For better collaboration between customers, testers and the uTest project manager, the release also offers a collection of new messaging tools, called The Tester Messenger. This feature helps customers get more information about any bug by marking it as “Need More Info.” The tester that reported the bug is then informed of the request, and based on the tester’s response, the customer can either mark the bug to be fixed or allow it to be ignored if it’s not deemed critical.

A new user interface is included in the release, and it enables more intuitive customer and tester experiences. For testers, the interface enables easier navigation from bug to bug and project to project. Tables or lists can be resized or rearranged and easily filtered to find the exact information the user needs.
“For customers, it offers enormous benefits because it enables quick and easy bug triage by QA managers,” Johnston said, adding, “This reduces the overhead of reviewing bug reports from the testing community and making it easier to find those ‘showstopper’ bugs among a long list of reported defects.”

Other additions to the testing platform include new test-cycle wizards. The creation wizards help customers create projects, select the right testers (depending on their needs), and ensure each part of the test is well documented based on the customer’s specifications. Testers can use an intuitive wizard to review test cycles, report bugs and communicate with uTest or other testers. Additionally, in order for uTest to expand its test services, the release also includes new open APIs.

Testers can join the uTest crowdsource community for free, and customers pay per project per test cycle, which are typically three to seven days, Johnston said. Of crowdsource testing and its benefits, he said, “There is only so much you can automate, and this is ideal for complimenting auto-testing.”