Why Mobile Testing Matters
January 31, 2017
Businesses are increasingly in need of powerful mobile testing solutions as mobile usage climbs worldwide. There were an estimated 4.3 billion mobile phone users in 2016, more than half the world’s population, which will only continue to rise to an estimated 4.78 billion in just a few years. Moreover, time spent on digital media increased by 53% over the past few years in the US, primarily because of mobile.
Mobile apps change the way people live and interact with the world, from communications to entertainment to finance, healthcare, and transportation. They also change the way consumers interact with businesses and brands.
Mobile commerce was expected to reach over $123 billion last year and the potential is so much greater, as the trend increases. "45% of all shopping journeys contain mobile" and what’s notable is "shoppers are looking for a better experience across all of their devices, but especially on mobile. 70% of mobile shoppers say the website/app experience can be improved."
There's a significant untapped potential in this billion-dollar mobile market but what’s prevented m-commerce from becoming the lead channel for buying is poor user experience. And while both user experience and revenue rely heavily on mobile apps and their quality, mobile teams are facing challenges when trying to adopt robust testing and monitoring into their mobile development processes.
Challenges Faced in Mobile Testing
Common excuses made by organizations failing in their industry’s mobile space include:
- "We have no need for mobile testing as most of our revenue is generated in store..."
- "Mobile testing is too much of an investment for us..."
- "We tried to find a tool but everything is too hard to adopt and not worth our time..."
Some QA teams turn to emulators and virtual devices to test their mobile apps and, while these may be part of one’s testing environment, they are not the end-all solution. Because applications on emulators and virtual devices are not interacting with real physical hardware, certain, real-life conditions and scenarios cannot be tested. That is why real devices using real carriers placed in real locations, is the only testing means to get the most thorough insights about app quality, performance, and user experience.
The challenge for businesses is the frequent rollout of new mobile devices and operating systems, and the associated costs of purchasing a wide-enough range of expensive OEM hardware that will provide the most complete mobile testing environment. And it’s simply not enough to be testing on a few selected devices and operating systems in limited, perhaps just local, locations to get thorough insights on app performance and user experience.
Costs of Not Mobile Testing
The two biggest mistakes when analyzing the cost of investment for mobile testing is missing the bigger picture and leveraging the data, tools, and best practices available. It used to be that many businesses could not even afford to have a mobile app because app developers were too costly. But with the growth of open software development kits and speedy development cycles, mobile apps are now more readily accessible than ever before.
But despite the increasing ease of developing an inexpensive app, which serves the purpose of benefiting the business, all too often, testing is shoved aside or becomes a low (or non-) priority to meet rapid-release deadlines. This might not present alarming issues at first but to ensure proper functioning and performance across the board and scale with users, testing is essential from the start. Otherwise, the cost of resolving both technical problems and even branding issues can become significantly greater than if testing and monitoring were implemented all along.
Moreover, app data is available at unprecedented rates, whether it be signaling bugs and crashes, or how users are navigating through an app. All of this information has the potential to enable businesses to leverage the data to the benefit of their business and upward trend of their ROI. While user feedback is important, negative reviews and complaints shouldn’t be how issues are identified. Comprehensive mobile testing prior to a release can assure minimal negative feedback after product rollout, and real-time monitoring can identify issues before large numbers of users have time to complain.
Mobile apps that don’t undergo rigorous testing can significantly impact business goals. Users these days have notoriously low tolerance for apps that don’t work. Only 16% of users will try a failing app more than twice. Consequently, poor user experiences and negative reviews impact adoption and usage rates, and ultimately, business can be lost to competitors who have better apps and can give better experiences.
Benefits of Powerful Mobile Testing and App Monitoring Solutions
Mobile applications are increasingly becoming the way to gain more customers but engaging them effectively is key. Having a seamless mobile app that is reliable is imperative. Mobile app testing and app monitoring eliminates the cost of mobile app failure and poor user experiences, and quality mobile apps help businesses differentiate in an already-saturated market and thus attract and maintain their user bases. In the end, apps that can meet and exceed expectations, and delight, is the one that can generate more users, more business, and higher ROI.
From within the company’s perspective, not testing can also be harmful because it leaves the QA and development team exposed to criticism for failure to meet criteria and quality, and could hinder the relations of vested stakeholders. By running functional and performance tests, critical issues can be resolved before rollout and concise reports shared to leadership. There is also accountability.
Emulators and virtual devices are one affordable solution but by no means a complete one. Luckily, there are powerful solutions on the market today that support both functional regression testing, and performance testing and monitoring, on a variety of real physical devices located across the globe with remote access. Tests can be run in parallel, optimizing test coverage, cutting down on test time, and producing higher level results and quality apps. With better quality apps come better business.