Proven strategies for avoiding mobile development pitfalls
By Eran Kinsbruner, Perfecto Mobile
Today, there are plenty of apps that fail to meet user expectations and get thrown away with many others. There are almost a million apps in the app store, but the majority of them are not on the top of consumer lists. When it comes to travel apps, a recent TripAdvisor survey found 60 percent of mobile users have now downloaded and used a travel-related smartphone application, making mobile apps a critical player in consumer travel plans. These users want a seamless experience – an easy to use application that lets them get where they are going quickly.
Even worse, an app mistake can lead to the downfall of a business. Consider United Airlines recent glitch, falsely allowing users to be able to “purchase” tickets for almost no money at all – a crisis for United as they have to determine whether to honor the purchased fares or declare a mistake and disappoint hundreds of loyal app users. To avoid major pitfalls like these, there are a few things businesses in all industries should be looking for when it comes to mobile app performance.
Develop a mobile strategy independent of the brand’s website
Firstly, it begins with a strong mobile strategy. Typically, apps fail because organizations did not fully develop the integration processes into their mobile strategy – this is key for agile delivery and introducing new changes into the market and supporting new phones/systems. Creating a mobile app requires a change to traditional IT departmental structure – native apps vs. mobile web aren’t like PC vs. Mac. It requires a shift in terms of format and design in order to engage with its users appropriately in both settings. Also, having a mobile website pose as an app is a real issue as the limited functionality will impact usage and customer retention. So, it’s important to test a mobile app and this process must cover the entire ALM from beginning to end. When it comes to mobile you also need to be sure to talk about the technical aspects and bring them into the mobile strategy before moving forward.
Don’t let users be your quality control
Exemplified by the United Airlines incident, monitoring app performance is more important than ever – a corporate monitoring system is necessary. You need to see it in real-time so when problems like this happen, you know it right away, before your customers. You don’t want to learn about a problem because many of your customers have experienced a glitch or, in United’s case, your company has lost revenue through free tickets. Monitoring must be included in a mobile strategy to avoid any problems during peak times, or when there is a specific network condition – don’t wait until your app receives a bad review in the app store.
To do this, the developer should have a fully-detailed report and analysis. If the app doesn’t perform according to the criteria, they want a pin-pointed report telling them which device, which network and what transaction went wrong or how they are doing. It’s important to constantly and consistently monitor your device in real-time to decrease time to resolution – a true method of quality control.
Incorporate different scenarios when testing
Your mobile app is just another element. There are underlying factors that dramatically contribute to an application’s performance. For instance, location and network traffic impact the end-user experience and need to be addressed during performance testing. So, it’s imperative that these real-life scenarios are monitored in real time and proactively addressed. Businesses must test for specific incoming events, or when the battery is low, when memory is low, with/without an SD card, interoperability – these and more all have to be incorporated into test scenarios outside of your mobile application.
If you aren’t agile, you are accumulating a mass of bugs that will only be fixed on a quarterly basis. It’s a risky move that won’t suffice in mobile. Accumulating too much of a backlog won’t allow the team to address all of the needs of the user base and in the real-time manner in which they’ve become accustomed.
Organizations today are looking to continuous integration, but they aren’t fully adopting it yet. It becomes harder to push new updates in operating systems, but these are necessary and need to be quickly executed. To develop agility, you need the right tools. If your mobile solution can create into existing tools, that’s a good preliminary step. Secondly, employ mobile automation. With so many devices and operating systems in the dynamic mobile market, this is a necessary step to save time and resources.
Most importantly, enterprises need to be aware of the market. It’s important to be alert so that you can know where the market is going and be ahead of the curve. A successful app requires a well-thought out strategy, the proper testing tools and partner, as well as various testing situations and monitoring applications. At the end of the day, this will reduce your time to market, and get your app where it needs to be – in the hands of the end-user without a flaw.
21 Oct 2013