A/B testing removes guesswork from Web apps
June 22, 2012 —
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Related Search Term(s): A/B testing, SaaS
Testing a new market
Hugh Reynolds, CEO and founder of Swrve New Media, is expecting A/B testing to be the new market for middleware. He was a cofounder of gaming physics middleware company Havok, and with his new company, he's offering SaaS middleware for the Facebook game crowd.
For Swrve New Media, that aforementioned pig can be just about anything. Reynolds said his team has been focusing on expanding the capabilities of Swrve New Media so that it can now handle A/B testing duties within subsets of users, rather than simply spraying tests across an entire user base.
Reynolds said Swrve New Media is the perfect tool for project managers because they can tweak application performance without introducing bugs, requiring redeploys, or even requiring a developer or IT assistant. “We're great for product managers who want to adjust things,” he said. “If the product guy comes in and says, 'We want to run a test and see if we should give people 1,000 starting coins or 500 starting coins,' the dev team is going to say 'No way!' ”
But Swrve New Media allows such substitutions to be performed quickly from a Web interface. Developers add tags into their code where A/B tests can be performed, and the Swrve New Media interface allows for a simple point-and-click substitution on the basis of user identity, percentages or other factors.
“It's the product managers who are our champions,” said Reynolds. “It really hangs on how a whole organization behaves. The old model was that product management was out on a peninsula, and they'd walk the drawbridge back to development and maybe be refused admission. Every few weeks, the high priest of analytics pulls the numbers out of a hat and says, 'This proves everything!' ”
That's all changed thanks to continuous deployment, said Reynolds. “The business part of the organization is no longer out on that peninsula, it actually ends up right in the center. It can be in the center of creating that application. For a typical application, it's build, deploy, and sometimes people just give up then. At that stage, it’s made no money. It's the product management team and development team and monetization managers that do that hard bit.