As a social discovery site that services millions of users around the world, Tagged strives to offer only the best experiences while continually innovating at the same time. Concurrent tests, or A/B tests, allow us to optimize and experiment with new or different designs, algorithms and many other aspects of our website in a way that is efficient and telling of what our users want.
Concurrent tests allow developers to make changes to a product and accurately measure the success of that change. If key metrics drop significantly for a particular test option, it can be removed or reworked. Without concurrent tests, Tagged developers would have no way of judging the results and impact of modifications on the user experience.
Specifically in software development, concurrent tests are a means to test the effect of different design choices. For example, you can experiment with different colors, the position of an element on a webpage, various versions of an algorithm or the introduction of a new feature.
Recently, we used concurrent testing to refresh the style of the Tagged homepage. We wanted to make the page appear more modern and clean without the change upsetting our users. After setting up the changes, we gated them with a concurrent test and were able to select the percentage of users that saw the new page vs. the old page.
Tests like this one allow Tagged to improve our product incrementally while taking into account the effect changes have on key metrics such as DAU, user engagement, MeetMe clicks and more. This allows us to provide the best possible product to users without having to explicitly ask them for their feedback. If users are unhappy with a new design or feature, the test results will tell us. When key metrics fall for users in the test group, we can stop the test or make changes accordingly.
If you want to try something new but are concerned that it might seriously fail, using a concurrent test helps mitigate the potential negative effects. Testing is beneficial because it allows for higher quality code and therefore more confidence when shipping that code.
Danielle Grenier is a Software Engineer at Tagged with a passion for anything that makes unit testing easier. She is currently interested in Phockito for mocking classes in PHP and Jasmine for JS testing.