Picture this: You’ve spent hours painstakingly developing an awesome mobile app, only to find that it has been met with lackluster app store reviews. What went wrong? One of the first questions you should ask yourself is “Did I bother to test it before launch?” While that may seem an obvious question, take a quick look at the reviews of low rated apps and it’s clear to see that some have skipped this crucial step.
Josh Galde of App Developer Magazine has created a list of some of the essential testing steps and it’s a worthwhile read as a quick refresher. Here’s a snippet:
Testing for Variables
During development, it is important to consider the varying factors that will apply to your target audiences when they are ready to use your app. For the best understanding of the functionality and feel of your mobile app there are several key factors to keep in mind while testing your mobile app including; device type, OS’s, screen size/hardware and connectivity.
Device Diversity – While it seems that testing on the most popular devices should be standard, it isn’t. It is crucial to address the diversity of the devices’ software, multiple OS’s (Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry etc.) and different versions within each, and in Android’s case, the various device manufacturers. To compound this, consumers of mobile products don’t consume applications in a uniform way. When asked what types of mobile technologies they are using to deliver their products (web, native, or hybrid), most customers answer “all of the above.” In these cases, a strong quality assurance strategy should include the ability to understand and support mobile across all of these technologies.
Hardware Diversity – The reality is, with the growing presence of hardware diversity, you should run your mobile application through several tests to ensure that it functions and appears as it should, regardless of screen resolution or available controls. In many cases, customers testing mobile applications across different handsets often identify bugs that occur in the device, rather than identifying bugs in the application itself. That is why it is important to test across several devices, ensuring that your mobile product works across the many smartphone and tablet configurations that exist in the market today.
Connectivity Diversity – Another complexity for your mobile application is connectivity. Unfortunately, your application has to contend with everything a traditional networked product does (such as functionality, memory usage, and power usage), with an added difficulty of an “Over-the-Air” (OTA) connection. Understanding how unpredictable wireless is, you may have no control over connectivity. Therefore, you need to take OTA performance into account with graceful failover procedures or with smaller downloads that are less likely to fail over a slow connection. In all cases, you want to avoid download abandonment, especially where the download speed may be too slow to stomach for the customer.
Overall, the complexities of testing your mobile product comes down to the devices and having the appropriate tools to support testing efforts are necessary to assure quality despite these diversities.
In the growing mobile app market, a good app store rating can be critical to long-term success. A launch or update that is plagued by bugs or crashes is sure to invoke the backlash of users in the ratings.
Have you ever used an app where it’s clear the developer didn’t follow the testing guidelines outlined above? Let us know in the comments.