Betaworks, a New York-based startup are focused on accelerating app development, launched a new initiative called Openbeta that lets users test works-in-progress. In exchange for the early access, Openbeta users provide the company with feedback about app experiences, with the goal being to ensure a user-friendly app experience from the first launch while simultaneously avoiding user-requested bloat. Through actual use-cases and consumer feedback, app developers will be able to streamline their products without an immediate “.1” update. The most visible example is Digg, which was acquired by Betaworks in July, and over the course of six weeks, re-launched a polished version. Afterwords, user feedback has meant that important, crowd-sourced features have been added and the site’s user base has doubled commensurately. It remains to be seen how effective this type of policy can be enacted on a smaller scale, but with Digg it does already have proven success in developing and revamping apps through user feedback.
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