Mashable has a nice series called Ask A Dev. While most installments are development-centric, earlier this month they had a video about how developers and testers can best work together. Enjoy!
If you’re targeting mobile users worldwide, you’re already used to working with a variety of platforms, OSes and devices that are region specific (or at least you should be). While it’s tempting to focus on the players that have already established their market share, getting in on the ground floor of a new OS could mean you’re an early adopter of the next big thing. At the very least, it means you won’t disappoint potential users.
With that in mind, keep an eye on Firefox OS. Recently released, the operating system is currently supported by Telefonica in Spain, Colombia and Venezuela and by Deutsche Telekom in Poland. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of reach at the moment, rumors have it that Firefox OS will expand to more mobile markets soon, including:
- Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay on Telefonica
- Germany, Hungary and Greece on Deutsche Telekom
- Hungary, Serbia and Montenegro on Telenor
Mozilla has also made some recent updates to its mobile OS. Version 1.1 brings support for push notifications, multimedia messaging, keyboard auto correct and improved contact imports. It also makes it easier to add new contacts and calender events, moves its hallmark web app search feature to a more prominent position and allows you to download email attachments. Plus, the overall load time and flow of the OS is supposed to be smoother and faster. You can read more about the improvements on Gigaom.
Firefox OS might not be as big a player as iOS or Android, but Mozilla is making a major move to get its hat into the mobile ring. If you want to keep all your users happy – especially if you’re targeting the countries discussed above – don’t ignore this new operating system.
The further down in this infographic by bestcomputersciencedegrees.com you scroll, the more interesting the information gets. If they’re correct that 640 new apps enter the app stores per day and that 63% of the apps used daily are different than they were last year there are two important lessons to be learned:
- Your app better be stellar from the day it launches if you want to get attention. There’s a lot of competition and users won’t (and don’t have to) put up with buggy apps.
- There is hope of making it big! If users are constantly changing which apps they access everyday, that means new apps have a shot of making it to a coveted home screen position.
Wondering what to test and where to start when it comes to mobile and web testing? Today’s video covers 10 strategies highlighted by Adobe.
There are a number of reasons to consider creating an app. Some hope to make money off of an inventive new game while others want to use their own mobile app as a business tool. Whether you already have an idea for the greatest app ever or you are considering dangling your toes in the ocean of mobile app creation, here are some simple steps to getting started.
1. Make Sure Your App Exists for a Compelling Reason
The number of apps for sale in Apple’s app store alone soared past one million last year. This means that originality is going to be pretty hard to come by. The chances are that even if your app is neat and unique, there will be several other similar applications competing with you.
Because of the fierce competition out there, your app will have to have a significant reason to exist. It must either be vastly superior in design and usability or offer an important feature that the consumer can’t live without.
For businesses considering making a special app for marketing purposes, it is equally key to decide on the purpose of the app. “If the goal is just outreach and exposure,” writes Business Insider, “an app is unlikely to be the answer.” Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others already exist with “significant mobile reach” as a tool for engaging an online audience.
But there are also numerous cases where an app will improve the efficiency of business operations or work to keep customers happy. Many mobile apps offer special deals and coupons to bring shoppers into stores. Some help companies to go paperless. Still others improve the customer experience. Chipotle’s mobile app, for example, was created by Blue Rocket and allows customers to order before arriving at the store to decrease long lunch lines.
2. Decide on the Right Route
After you have brainstormed and decided that your app will serve a real need and is worth developing, it is time to make an important choice between outsourcing and attempting a DIY project.
For companies, there may be some benefits to assigning app creation to an in-house team. If you have people who possess the aptitude and the willingness to start a long process of learning, then creating your own app in-house can be a great tool for knowing your product better and being able to more readily perform updates in the future.
However, this process will also take longer as it involves training and a steep learning curve. For businesses who want a guarantee of professionalism and timely delivery, then it is probably best to contract the project out to a full-time developer.
Working on your own can prove much less expensive that hiring a third party and is a great opportunity to learn new skills. However, hiring a professional developer can produce the final product you envision and easily work out any bugs in a matter of a few weeks. So this is an important decision to make while moving towards app development.
With these initial steps in mind, you or your company will be ready to discuss app development and decide on the best way to proceed for your knowledge base, time available, budget and expectations.
Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who enjoys researching new technology. You can connect with her on Twitter.
The latest edition of Capgemini and HP’s World Quality Report finds that companies are dedicating more of their IT budgets to QA. While an average of 18% of IT budgets were dedicated to QA and testing last year, that number grew to 23% this year. Study respondents expect that number to reach 28% by 2015 – largely because upper management and executives are beginning to understand the importance of QA. From the World Quality Report:
Over a fifth (21%) of executives (CIOs, VPs of applications and IT directors) interviewed indicate that they spend between 31% and 40% of their IT budgets on quality – compared to just 8% last year. The 5% increase in the proportion of testing budgets outpaces the generally acknowledged year-on-year increase of 2-3% in overall IT budgets. …
The significant QA budget increase is a clear demonstration of rise in awareness, levels of organizational maturity and growing understanding of the role and business contribution of quality and application testing.
While the overall trend of application testing is on the rise, dedication to mobile app testing is still playing catch-up. Last year, the World Quality Report found that only 31% of companies were actively testing mobile apps. This year, 55% of respondents report testing mobile app functionality, performance and security. The increase in mobile app testing can be seen across industries – many going from around 30% dedication to mobile to more than 50%.
Despite all the growth, the report also states that many organizations are struggling to optimize testing – both in general QA practices and in terms of mobile app testing. The biggest impediments to mobile app testing this year are not having the right process, not having available devices, not having mobile experts, not having an in-house testing environment and not having enough time to test. (Shameless self promotion: Those all sound like problems uTest solves!)
But the good news is companies are starting to understand and embrace testing!
Read the full World Quality Report >>>
This video shows you just how cool and interactive a mobile shopping app’s UI can be. Just another reason you shouldn’t simply shrink your traditional website to fit mobile.
If you’re a mobile tester, you’ll also notice all the moving bits and pieces that can go horribly wrong and render the app useless. Let this be a reminder to you that mobile can be very cool and engaging, but it also requires a lot of testing across a range of devices.
Mobile is accounting for more and more retail revenue. During last year’s holiday shopping season, smartphones and tablets accounted for 16.3% of all online sales, according to IBM. What kind of effect is mobile having on this year’s retail landscape? Check out this infographic produced by xAd and Telmetrics:
Getting to pick an expert’s brain is always exciting and insightful. We do it on a monthly basis on the uTest Software Testing Blog as part of our Testing the Limits series (this month we spoke to four experts – the board members of the newly founded International Society for Software Testing). Recently the folks over at GigaOm got to sit down with design guru Don Norman.
The man who wrote “the bible for design thinking and technology” and went so far as to say that bad design is downright dangerous has some interesting things to say about today’s technology and design. Here’s a snippet of the GigaOm interview:
Android. I think that the Android phones and Apple iOS phones are remarkably similar. There’s very little difference. The main difference is what religion you subscribe to: Do you subscribe to the religion of Apple or the religion of Google? Actually, I think Android in many ways is a copy of the Apple iPhone.
Apple has always exerted tremendous control over what you can do with their products. They control the hardware and the software and they are restrictive about the kind of apps that can run on it. Apple developers have a horrible time because they submit their app to Apple, Apple takes a long time and says ‘no,’ and it’s hard to figure out why they said ‘no.’
I don’t use the Apple phones because I don’t like the restrictive dictatorial policies Apple has instituted, so I went to Android because it’s more open. As a result of the openness, though, there’s a bit more chaos. Different apps work in different ways and are maybe not as reliable, but I still prefer the openness of Android. The truth is I use an iPad and I use an (iPod) Touch and I use an Android phone. But they’re all the same.
And just to get your a bit more worked up, here’s Don’s response when asked about Windows Phone:
I think Microsoft has sort of been left out of this battle. People forget they exist. I think that the Windows 8 for phones is really a better system than either the iPhone or the Android. I’m very impressed with what Microsoft has done. It’ll take them a few tries to get it right. Now it’s on version 2 — and version 3 is always Microsoft’s hotspot. And I think the new Surface tablets and new phones — they did not copy Android, they did not copy iPhone. They started over again. They understand discoverability. They understand some of these design principles and they use them.
There’s a lot more to this great interview discussing design and mobile (and a few other things). Be sure to read the whole thing at GigaOM >>>