What is Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing is used when a new application is nearing completion with the purpose of finding bugs and assessing user experiences. Alpha testing aims to simulate actual usage before application is launched to the public for the beta testing phase.
Favabank & Alpha Testing
As with any start-up venture, we cannot know at this stage whether enough people will sign up to Favabank to make it viable in the long term. We're therefore planning to launch it as early as possible (with the risk that there may be some bugs or feature limitations) so that we can get a feel for where to go with it next. If we receive enough initial interest and sign-ups we can continue to develop more features and consider whether to seek funding to help it to attain its potential.
During alpha testing we will try to attract in excess of 100 testers and run through simple scenarios which are expected to occur during live usage.
What are we looking for?
During the alpha test, we will be looking for problems (bugs, errors, typos) etc.
as well as feedback on people's likes and dislikes about using the system.
This will involve signing up to create an account, posting and replying to some spoof ads, sending messages etc. As little or as much as people are happy to do really...
Suggestions and ideas on improvement of functionality, graphics, colours, copy etc. would also be welcome, (However, the priority is to launch as early as possible and improve later if necessary, so no major improvements will be considered for version 1.0).
What's in it for you?
We'll offer a donation to charity in return for alpha testing help, e.g. £100 if we reach 100 testers. We can also offer users free membership to premium services when they are introduced.
Finally, if you have any friends who might be interested in this then please feel free to send them a link to the web site where they can create an account for alpha testing - the more, the merrier!
How to give us your feedback
Please just send me a mail to
You can also give feedback and take part in a discussion forum on our Facebook Favabank Page
Some more depth
Click on headings below to reveal:
There are a few basic principles guiding the approach to development and launch - as follows
- We're not seeking perfection in version 1.0, 'good enough' will do for now, fancy features come later if needed
- Launch as early as possible, with the idea of making frequent but small iterative updates in the future, being honest with the user-base about any problems (bugs) etc. so that users feel engaged with the ongoing development.
- Ignoring problems of scale until they need to be addressed - e.g. Will the system be able to support a high number of users? Will it need to be run off multiple servers if it is really successful? - those are good problems to have and might never have to be dealt with if Favabank turns out to be a failure.
Favabank has been built as a 100% self developed prototype to reach the alpha testing stage. Formal assistance in a number of areas (Tech, Marketing / PR, Business Advisory) will be required as Favabank approaches its formal launch. Favabank is launching on a shoestring, without funding, so the any assistance would be received on a sweat equity basis.
However, if the launch is successful in recruiting the desired interest and user support it is likely that funding will be sought which may enable Favabank to operate with a dedicated team of employees / co-owners. At this stage everything is uncertain.
If Favabank is going to be viable as a business it needs to attract a critical mass of users in each geographical location. Aspirations are for a nationwide user base, however this may have to start by building regional memberships. Complete failure is also recognised as a distinct possibility.
Who are Favabank's target users?
- Anyone in the UK with an Internet connection a little neighbourly good-will...
- Initially draw on typical early adopters of new social technologies, with a curiosity and desire to include 'local' as part of their online social activity.
- Kind of person already using Freecycle / Freegle - apparently over 1M UK users
- People already using Facebook who would like to know their neighbours better
- People who generally feel a bit disconnected from their local communities...
- People with sympathies for environmental / recycling issues
- Hobbyists, amateurs, people with something to offer / receive.
- Local business owners & organisations wanting local engagement.
Users will be able to access the service free of charge. A premium membership will be introduced which will offer things like an extended credit limit, and priority viewing of new postings etc... 'Paid for' memberships for businesses can also be introduced.
It is expected that the bulk of revenues will be derived from advertising (e.g. directory, pay per click, classified ads etc.) Initially this will be via Google AdSense, transitioning to direct advertising if Favabank gains widespread appeal.
If Favabank develops a sufficient user base it is likely that it will become a cooperative, giving users the opportunity to co-own the platform and play a role in its future development. This will be a key part of the whole approach of Favabank and it is hoped it will be a step which would receive broad support from the user base.
Version 1.0 will have the minimum features required to give a good user experience, but with nothing too fancy. If Favabank gains reasonable user traction and begins to look viable as a business then more features can be introduced, such as:
People could set up private groups within Favabank (e.g. trusted members of a babysitting circle) where members can trade favours privately with each other.
Local content sections could include: Community News (perhaps user contributed), - contributors could also be awarded 'micro Favas' by other users who like the content; Employment &amnp Jobs; Classified Ads etc....
Companies / Organisations:
Facilitate B2B and B2C (or C2B) trades. E.g. A company could offer a 'Micro Fava' in return for some kind of engagement from the public such as completing a questionnaire.
Control who sees Ads
Show to just friends; Show just to people in x miles radius (e.g. neighbours); or show to everyone.
Local councils could use Favabank to 'pay' volunteers. incidentally this sort of ties in a bit with David Cameron's Big Society plans (whatever they might be?!?).
News Feeds & Events:
Like Facebook, a facility to provide feeds from people. Perhaps these could have more of a 'local' flavour - e.g. announcing local events etc.
Messaging Multiple Participants:
The version 1.0 messaging system allows one to one messaging, however it is set up to allow multiple participant messaging in future versions.
Suggest Ad to Friends
If you see an ad that you think would appeal to your friend, you could tag the ad for them.
List Stuff for Hire
Create lists of your stuff that you'd be happy to loan, to create a virtual local hire shop.
Create skills lists, with proficiency levels, so people can browse skills in their neighbourhood rather than relying solely on ads. Mini Profiles of those with appropriate skills can be displayed against relevant Ads.
Projects / Goals
Allow users to list their current projects / goals so people may spot matches when browsing.
Search by city / town instead of postcode
The Postcode database currently used is based on info from Ordanance Survey which includes longitude and latitude of postcodes but does not include the city / town name. Royal Mail provides full geo data with all details but is very expensive so this may only be used if Favabank becomes viable as a business.
Set Multiple Areas
Later versions could allow the user to set multiple locations that are relevant (e.g. home address, work address, parent's address) - searches can automatically include these areas unless opted out in search box.
Could offer a Pledge Bank facility where someone pledges to do something if others will too. A pledge could also be supported by Fava Credit Donations from the community.
A way of nominating a 'local hero', and perhaps allowing people to vote with their Favas to select winners, who might then receive the donated Favas?
Could have a feature whereby if a user could redeem a certain level of debt by making a commensurate donation to charity (which in itself could be seen as a 'favour'. The charity gets some dosh and Favabank would also benefit from the PR created by association with charities.
It could be perceived that Favabank fits neatly with the present government's Big Society
rhetoric. We will keep an open mind about how / whether we engage with it.
Here are some known issues, some will need to be dealt with before launch, others can wait.
Site has yet to be enhanced for use by people with disabilities
Site has yet to be optimised for web standards compliance (CSS,HTML etc...) - that'll have to come later
Features not yet enabled:
There are a number of additional features which would be beneficial once Favabank begins to enjoy more heavy usage. In the meantime please see the 'Fancy Features' drop-down to the left for an idea of planned features.
Not a final list, re-org or more categories may be needed
May be a few problems with IE6 or older.