Interview with a Betabound All-Star: Rafaela Vasquez

This week, we’re introducing you to another standout Betabound community member, Rafaela Vasquez. Rafaela is a Lead Community Moderation Specialist and Community Manager from Peoria, Arizona, and she’s been beta testing products for the last decade. Rafaela has demonstrated great beta tester qualities time after time in our Betabound tests, so we thought we’d introduce her to the rest of our community and give her a chance to spread some of her enthusiasm. Here’s what she had to tell us:

What got you into beta testing?
My first beta testing opportunities were actually with several software companies. I started out with simple software, and eventually moved up to testing entire operating systems. One day, I bought a brand new headset (that I’d read great reviews on). Once getting home, they were nowhere near as good as the hype had made them sound. I wrote the company and explained why I was disappointed with their product (and what I thought needed improving). They told me that I’d be a good beta tester, and they gave me instructions on how to do so.

After that, I started searching for other companies that did beta testing. I found Centercode and signed up immediately and anxiously awaited my turn to participate in a beta test.

What’s been your favorite part about being a beta tester?
By far my favorite part about being a beta tester is getting early access to new products that I would normally use anyway. No one can provide better advice than real customers using the product in the real world. I also like having a direct line of communication with not only the beta test managers but with the company representatives, as well. The majority of my beta tests over the years resulted in our feedback being directly implemented and the final product being completely transformed.

What makes being a beta tester for Betabound unique?
Beta testing for Centercode/Betabound is always such a positive experience. The fact that you’re in constant communication with actual company representatives, as well as the beta test managers, is something that most beta testing companies don’t do. The one-on-one, personal interaction that you get during a test confirms that your feedback is actually going to make a difference. Every comment, bug report, and journal entry is responded to and taken into consideration for the final product.

Also, the beta test managers are phenomenal. I can’t express how wonderful every single project manager that I’ve ever worked with here is professional, courteous, polite, and friendly.

What motivates you to keep devoting your time to beta testing?
To be honest, it’s the fact that I really like having an influence on a product (especially one that I normally use). I know that sounds a bit narcissistic, but it is true. I also like to try and test new products that I may not have used (or have been wanting to use), but simply haven’t for some reason. This gives me an opportunity to give it a shot.

Any advice you would give to newer beta testers?
The biggest piece of advice that I could give to a new beta tester is to be punctual and follow-through. You’re making a commitment to test this product, so if you can’t commit yourself entirely, then don’t apply. If something comes up and you’re not to be able to complete your duties as a tester, let the beta manager know ASAP, so they can find a replacement for you. Always report every single problem you find, regardless of how minor it may seem. Companies want to know every single issue their testers come across.

Also, only sign up for tests that you’re sincerely interested in. If the product seems boring to you, then leave the testing to people that are genuinely excited about it.

Rafaela’s insight and advice is spot-on. It really is about commitment and enthusiasm, and testing products that you’re genuinely interested in (and excited to get your hands on). You — the product enthusiasts — are the people that companies want testing their products. However, don’t forget that it’s also about punctuality and communication. Testing a product without effectively reporting back about your experience won’t help the company make the improvements they need to before launch.

Are there any other questions or topics you’d like see discussed in our Betabound All-Stars series? Let us know in the comments below!

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