One of the things we're really proud of here at Emergency Reporting is creating a powerful records management solution that first responders enjoy using. Although we have many years of experience in the fire service within our company, there is no replacement for getting feedback directly from the users of the product: that's where you come in!
Wondering how you can have a hand in creating our system? Keep reading.
The best way for our development team to get feedback about what they're creating from actual users is through product testing. It can sound a little intimidating because no one looks forward to the idea of "testing", but product testing is actually a really cool way to be directly involved in the creation of Emergency Reporting features. And we must say, it's also pretty cool to try out what we've been working on (I mean, that's everyone's favorite part about Costco: the samples)! We recruit Emergency Reporting users as our Product Testers to gather their feedback about what we’re creating. Our testers give us insight into what works best for first responders in three main ways:
- Beta testing
- Surveys & activities
- User testing
1. Beta Testing
Right before a new product is released to everyone, a "dry run" of the new product is given out to testers to try out. The point of a Beta Test is to see if the product works for you. We ask our beta testers to use the new feature and let us know where it can improve. We actually want our users to try and break the new product because that's what helps it reach its full potential!
Beta Testing is the most infrequent form of testing we do. It takes a long time for products to be developed and be ready enough for testing. A Beta Product is incomplete by definition, but that doesn't mean you won't get a cool sneak peek of what is coming out soon.
2. Surveys & Activities
In order to create a product that works for first responders, we have to do a lot of research about what a first responder needs. The surveys and activities we create focus on a specific topic or module, depending on what kind of information we need in order to properly develop a new product. For this reason, we will only send the activities to testers with experience in that topic/module.
The activities will usually take about 10 minutes to complete, but the information they provide is extremely helpful throughout the development process. Plus, sometimes you can win prizes for completing surveys for us.
3. User Testing
This is a fun one. Someone on our research team will guide you through tasks and ask you questions about a product. It could be something you're very familiar with, or it might be a product you've never seen before. The good thing about this kind of test? There's no wrong answers!
We are continuously conducting User Tests and always need more help. These tests are a bit more involved, and so we will set up a proper appointment with you based on when works best for your schedule and compensate you for your time.
User Tests can be done onsite at either Emergency Reporting headquarters or at your station (location limited to the greater Seattle, WA area). If you can't come in but would still like to participate in user testing, we can set up a screen sharing session and conduct the test virtually. Since we have customers all over the U.S., virtual user testing is your best bet.
Become a Product Tester
Like we said, we can't do this without your help! If you would be willing to be an Emergency Reporting Product Tester, click here to fill out our form. We'll be in touch with you soon.