Beta Testing: Obamacare Website Has Problems from the Start


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ObamaCare website has problems with glitches and traffic from the start. Image by shane_d_k

Trying to figure out the Obamacare website – and getting hung up on glitches? You’re not alone.

Just three months ago, the Congressional Government Accountability Office stated that the government could not guarantee a smooth rollout because the system wasn’t even complete, let alone fully tested.

Beta testing is the second stage of testing but still just as important as alpha testing.

What Is Beta Testing?

Beta testing comes after alpha testing, which is completed by members of the development staff, sometimes the developers and other times by system/software testers. Once your internal staff tests, and all bugs are fixed, you move on to the second stage of testing. You don’t complete beta testing in-house: This time, you run your new system by those not involved in the development process. Beta testing is the final stage before a new product is released.

Businesses (and governments) must put time aside for this stage of testing. There’s usually a testing plan that staff need to follow for alpha testing, but beta testing is a bit more unpredictable. Beta testers help find other faults in the system, and unexpected bugs simply by not knowing how you’re expected to use the system.

Obamacare Website Not Prepared For High Volume of Users

All the problems with the PPACA website can’t be blamed on a lack of testing, whether alpha or beta. There is also a problem with planning for the site’s ability to handle the amount of users on the website.

This is an issue that rests with the web host and server on which the site resides. Servers are only able to handle so many users, and the project manager – and those in charge of the release – should have expected a high volume of users and planned accordingly. After all, this is a new legislation that affects the entire nation. Just to give you an idea, there have been 4.7 million unique views on the various healthcare marketplaces on the Internet.

Obamacare Project Rushed for Scheduled Release

All types of products go multiple testing stages to make sure they work. Image by teaguelabs.

The flaws in the new system make it clear that the project was rushed to be able to meet the scheduled release of October 1. This rush release has more than a few links not working as they should, and pages redirecting to the wrong place.

This issue has led to thousands of uninsured Americans not being able to sign up for their coverage online as promised.

Knowing that there would be difficulties, the government has released a helpline,  but it’s clear that in the rush, no one took the time to look at the digits! Beta testing, or having a third party take a look, would have prevented the embarrassing acronym of 1-800-F1U-CKYO that the number 1-800-318-2596 spells out. It may just be a coincidence, but extensive testing and beta testing, helps developers avoid these mistakes.

Obamacare Website Glitches: Rushed Project with No Beta Testing

While we can’t blame a lack of beta testing for all the problems with the PPACA website, poor testing and planning does play a major role in the lack of service.

The Obamacare website has suffered many technical glitches as people attempt to sign up, and the federal government knew that this was a probability many months earlier. The government states that the designers need time to work out the kinks, but this is something that they should have done before the release of the site.

Perhaps it would have been better to delay the release of the website, instead of releasing a system that hasn’t been fully tested.


Daily Mail. Trouble Logging on the Obamacare Website? Then Simply Call 1-800-F1U-CKYO. (2013). Accessed October 13, 2013.

Fox News. Senators Calls for Sebelius’ resignation over ObamaCare Website Problems. (2013).  Accessed October 13, 2013.

The Oxford Dictionaries. Beta Test. Accessed October 13, 2013.

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