2014 saw a lot of new features and improvements released, all of which began with a Beta launch. Beta is the stage of testing where we ask those who've opted in to test the early development of new features and help run the updates through their paces. Testing is an important part of getting new tools out to you, and the Beta Team is an integral part of that process.
How to Join the Beta Team
We try to uncover as much as possible before releasing a feature to Beta, but sometimes the designs chosen and content added varies too far from what we consider an average blog. That's why it's so important to have an active Beta Team. That's where we hope a lot of you come in.
Joining the Beta Team is easy and will not impact your existing content. Go to Account > Summary, check the box to join, and click Save Changes. You can learn more about it in our Knowledge Base.
Checking What's in Beta Now
It's easy to check what's in Beta, as you'll be able to refer to Everything Typepad's Features category or emails you've received specifically because you're a Beta Team member. Both options are the first step in knowing what's new, as some features may not be noticeable in the app right away.
Recent Beta History
Recent releases have seen features pushed from Beta to Production, meaning it's readily available to all Typepad users, while more are being sent to Beta for testing. Here's some idea of what the Beta team has either helped test and what they're testing now:
Now in Production
- Disqus commenting
- Spotlight Posts
- Responsive themes
- Post Excerpts
- Domain Registration
Currently in Beta Testing
- Post Carousel
- Sidebar Carousel
- Theme Builder Updates
...and we hope you'll join, too, as we have something that's getting ready for Beta that is unlike anything we've released before.
How to Test and Report
You can always choose to not test a specific feature, but it's our hope that you'll find them interesting enough to try out. If you're ready to test something new, you can review the blog post or email to find out what it is, how to enable it, and where to find out more information.
Once the new feature is enabled, the first step is to check your blog. If you notice anything out of place, or you think something isn't working right due to enabling the feature, disable it to confirm. Turn options on and off. If it's movable, then try moving it to a different location. Put it through its paces, try to break it, take notes of what happened and how to reproduce the behavior.
The next step is to share what you've found by opening a new help ticket by clicking the Help link at the top right of your dashboard.
Testing without Impacting Main Blog
We cannot stress how much testing by users helps us to release a well-rounded feature. And because blogging is our business, we know how important it is to make sure expectations and livelihoods are not affected by features that could negatively impact your blog. Enter the test blog.
With a test blog, you'll be able to duplicate your existing blog's design, and import your blog posts, to see how new features will affect the design, the content, and the overall behavior of your blog. Being able to do this means that you can thoroughly test a new feature, and all of its options, without fear that it will be seen by readers. It also means that you can work with a feature to set it up for use with your blog, getting it exactly the way you want, before introducing it to your readers and fellow bloggers.
Gotta Catch 'Em All
The entire Typepad team works to catch as many bugs as possible during the Alpha phase of testing. We want the features to still be functional and presentable for Beta testers, but sometimes a pesky bug or two will slip through. It's our hope that you'll help take part in making Typepad even better by joining the Beta Team. We'd be fortunate to have you join.