Building Your First App: Four Mobile Testing Essentials

From his time as a child in Brooklyn, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi envisioned perfection as nothing more than unattainable fantasy. The young Catholic considered priesthood, worked as a butcher and debt collector, and even studied law– all without a fit. Eventually, he found his calling as a football coach, and led the Green Bay Packers to three consecutive NFL championships and conquest of the first two Super Bowls.

The aim, he told his players, is to chase perfection, but only in order to catch excellence. The revered coach is now the namesake of the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy, and business leaders across the world over revere Lombardi’s wisdom and approach to success.

When it comes to consumer technology, companies would serve well to follow Lombardi’s advice. Today, mobile apps are conquering the mobile landscape and crushing mobile sites: according to a new report from Statista, smartphone penetration was over 59 percent in the United States in 2015, and mobile consumers are downloading mobile apps at an astounding rate; ditching mobile sites altogether. In fact, Nielsen says that in 2014, US smartphone users accessed 26.7 apps per month, and interestingly enough, more than 70 percent of the usage is coming from the top 200 apps.

Apps are a global phenomenon with mass consumer appeal – and mammoth competition. While it’s clear that your customers want apps, how do they decide which ones are good – and which ones aren’t? Moreover, how will you determine what your customers want from your app?

Breaking It Down: Delivering On Customers’ Expectations

When it comes to apps, there are a few basic things that today’s consumers want – and must have. These things include:

  • Swift access to their favorite product and store information
  • Help planning and navigating projects, problems, and trips
  • The ability to communicate with their favorite brands in real time
  • The freedom to operate key functionalities and mobile services through an intuitive, entertaining user interface
  • Proactive and relevant information and services, all within the context of a particular location and time.

Due to these sizable consumer expectations, your app must perform impeccably, pushing out personalized content, offering perks based on your users’ interests, all while providing the ability to share offers, news, and product recommendations virally on your customers’ social networks. A whopping 85 percent of consumers, Compuware reports, perceive mobile apps as faster and more convenient, but half of those users have experienced a problem with a mobile app. What’s more, Compuware’s data says, tolerance for error is below that of conventional apps or websites, and customers expect mobile apps to be as fast – if not faster – than your brand’s website. With the median expected load time for a mobile app at two seconds – when it comes to mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, performance does matter.

Avoid bad reviews and provide not only the expected, but an exceptional, mobile app user experience and performance. Here are four mobile testing tips to get your app in excellent shape before you launch:

1. Know Exactly What to Test and Optimize

Each app bears its own unique requirements, including user base, technical characteristics, platforms and versions, necessary sensors (including NFC, GPS, magnetic, gyroscope, pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors), and integration with other apps and/or websites. Moreover, mobile apps can include a myriad of integrations with network connections, which affect availability, and varying speed and usability.

Along with the possible variations of users in regions, providers, and mobile structure, it’s important to treat each app as unique, and go through the necessary specifications and testing needs and requirements that come with each feature – line item by line item.

2. Optimize Your App to Work with the Devices Your Customers Actually Use

Optimize your mobile app user experience based on your customer profile. Use data you gather about your potential audience’s operating system and location to determine which device your customers are using the most – and optimize your mobile app for that device. Keep in mind that each customer also has a diversity of devices and screen sizes. Mobile apps need to solve the content challenges of their platform design guidelines during testing.

When testing, it’s also important to isolate problems by browser type, device type, operating system, geography, ISP and connection type, and capture details about failed transactions to identify the root cause, down to the line of application code. Isolating problems based on user segments and groups across geographies, networks, and devices is particularly helpful.

3. Test the Quality of User Experience (UX)

Will your app perform to users’ expectations? Determine if your mobile applications perform as intended across the devices and networks your customers use. Organizations need to identify and resolve mobile application performance issues to maximize mobile business results. This can be done by monitoring mobile application performance for all end users, as well as measuring real-user experience for mobile-web iOS and Android mobile applications.

Performance is a crucial contributor to dependable mobile app user experience, so consider it a key driver in the design and test process. Mobile applications need to focus on a core utility, and must be fast and reliable to be valuable. While stunning visuals attract customers by making a great first impression, a long-lasting relationship depends on the quality of each encounter, which is heavily influenced by how the app performs. An application that looks stunning but performs poorly can damage integrity.

4. Know the App Store

App store ratings (i.e., Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android) are important because reputation is key for the reputation and viability of your mobile app. Before you develop your app, it’s important to become familiar with the technical, content, and design criteria that each store and type of device uses to review all app. In addition, companies like Apple issue helpful App Rejections pages your developer can follow.

With users expecting greater experiences in mobile apps more than ever, fulfilling those expectations doesn’t just happen; instead, it requires a conscious pursuit of excellence through every stage of the design, development, and testing processes. Businesses that embrace the mobile opportunity, offer the most usable features, and provide the fastest, most consistent performance through careful testing, will emerge as mobile leaders in their category.

Has your enterprise considered its own mobile app? 


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