According to Gartner, more than 2.4 billion tablets and mobile phones were shipped by the end of 2014. The Apple App store and Google Play store each offer more than one million apps for users to download to their devices. So what keeps users from sticking to a specific app rather than switching to the next one? The basic functionality of an application needs to run flawlessly and solve the consumers’ need in an intuitive fashion.
Consumers engage with mobile applications in a completely different way than they engage with websites. Given the ever-growing diversity of mobile devices, operating systems and form factors (e.g. smartphone, phablet, and tablet) in the market, mobile testing has never been more important to ensure that mobile application users have a positive experience.
Never before has functional testing been as challenging as in the mobile app industry. An ever-growing landscape of devices and OS versions requires a complex matrix of testing factors in order to perform functional testing sufficiently. It is key for your testing team to identify the device matrix relevant for your user base.
Choosing the sufficient and right devices for your testing matrix relies on several aspects:
- Your market vertical (Banking, Healthcare, digital media, etc.)
- Your own production analytics – realize which devices are mostly used by your end-users to access your servers and your apps and on which OS versions
- Market dynamics – do not lose sight of the market evolvement and innovations – new smartphones, tablets and even wearables pop up periodically and need to be considered in your overall device matrix.
As user experience becomes key to business success and app adoption, usability testing ought to be part of any mobile app test plan.
Achieving high app usability can be achieved through Single User Performance testing early in the development cycle, which includes vitals testing (CPU, Battery, memory leaks etc.) as well as network condition testing (latency, packet losses, behavior in various network types like 2G, 3G, LTE, Wifi). Usability testing can also be done with proper adherence to the platform vendor’s design guides (Apple, Google). The important thing to keep in mind that the mobile app needs to:
- Function well on various devices, OS versions
- Provide good user experience from a performance perspective
- Be intuitive to the users (easy navigation, meaningful error messages)
- Solve a problem or meet the need of its users
- Adhere to the platform vendor guide lines (do not re-invent the wheel) – end-users expect UI that they know from other apps, provide them similar experience
Testing with the Crowd
Crowdtesting enables companies to gather insights and feedback from their prospective users at any time during the development process. This is relevant in order to tailor an application to the specific needs of your target group. A well-performing and functioning app could still get negative reviews if it doesn’t address the user’s needs.
The added values of crowdtesting returned to the application team are as follows:
- Selection of specific demographics (education, hobbies, online behavior etc.), offering access to any target group, as well as specifix devices and operating systems
- Access to specific users & professional testers at any time, which reduces testing times
- Applicable in all stages of the development process in order to ensure development close to the user’s needs:
- Competitive analysis
- Beta Testing
- Usability study
- Functional Testing
Opening up your application to a select crowd of users before launch increases chances of success after release tremendously, given the test setup is reliable and their feedback is incorporated. Confidentiality agreements as well as high security standards prevent a leak of information before launch.
Releasing a mobile app or several apps is always a great challenge, a challenge that continues to become more complex as mobile devices and OS platforms progress with innovative features. Mobile app vendors need to keep in mind that end-user expectations are also rising – you need to be on top of the market and react quickly to changes.
The whitepaper “Bridging The Essential Gap Between Mobile Cloud And Crowd Based Testing” offers a deeper look into the possibilities of crowd- and cloud-based testing methods (scroll down to “Downloads”).