Definition: A Beta Test is a period in the development of hardware, software or website where it is tested by large groups of people who would be typical users. Sometimes there is an "open beta" where anyone is welcome to join. Sometimes it is a "closed beta" where you can only join by invitation. Either way, participants use the product normally and often report back on any problems they have (bugs) or with feedback on basic usability and navigation. Beta testing follows a period called an alpha test. Typically, you can expect that by the beta test, the product will be usable, although it may have fewer features available.