Beta launching is the second phase of testing which is when a site has been released to unfiltered users in order to test the website for bugs, errors, crashes and other issues that the website may have. It has now become very common just to open the site to an entire user community. Once problems have been identified and the data collected then the website can be updated to reflect the new version with all the fixed issues addressed.
Once the project has been turned over the user experience designer’s job temporarily changes to more of a consulting role to insure a smooth launch. The designer can now help the marketing, public relations, customer support and training teams with the launch process. Once beta testing has begun the designer can address the identified issues, work to fix them then launch the updated version for another round of testing. Until the site has made it past all the problem issues and the site is released to the public the designer will continue to change roles from designer to consultant many times though the designer’s job only ends when the client is satisfied and no longer sees the need for your services.
By having a variance of users for user testing you gain insight into the ways different users will engage the website. With this knowledge it is easier to figure out what kind of support, as well as training needs to be put in place for proper usability. By having such a variance of users will be more likely to get a cross-section of users which it is far more helpful in understanding why some users might abandon the site and how the designer might be able to adjust in order to keep or even attract more users in the future.