The long-awaited day has finally arrived… your mobile app has launched. Congratulations are most definitely in order. However, before you start popping those champagne corks, be aware of the new challenges that await you now that your mobile app is officially on the market.
Let’s face it. Mobile users are critical and unforgiving, but who can blame them? They have become accustomed to a certain level of consistency, speed and functionality in the apps they frequent. Moreover, users hold mobile apps to a higher standard and are quick to provide feedback on the very public rating system.
Because this is the way things are now, organizations better get with these new times or risk a reduced user base, not just for one app, but future apps as well. After all, would you install a mobile application that users rated a two out of five? Probably not.
In order to ensure happy end users, continuous testing of your mobile app is required. With that said, though, testing is an ever-changing, fast-paced industry. Introduce mobile devices into the mix, and now you have a whole new situation on your hand with its own unique set of problems.
Fret not, though, as we have identified five challenges that developers and testers should be aware of before a mobile application is released to the market.
1. Device Fragmentation
This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges when it comes to mobile app testing – a plethora of mobile devices spread across various platforms Unfortunately, this also means that it is nearly impossible to test your mobile app on every device out there. For instance, OpenSignal reported in 2014 that they saw almost 19,000 distinct Android devices download their app. Just to put that in perspective, check out the graph below:
As you can see, that’s almost 19,000 devices that differ in shape, size, screen size and performance. Moreover, with all these different hardware specs (e.g. screen resolution, CPU, memory, etc.), you simply cannot guarantee that your mobile app will function across all devices.
2. OS Fragmentation
Another tricky aspect of mobile app testing is the sheer amount of different operating systems available. Ensuring a seamless user experience can prove difficult when both iOS and Android release 1-2 major OS versions a year. This means that sometimes a bug or two can pop up on your mobile app when deployed on the new OS.
3. Types of Mobile Apps
Because a mobile app is either considered native, web or hybrid, expect the implementation and testing process to be different for each.
4. Various Carrier Networks and Connection Types
Nearly all mobile apps require network connectivity at some point. Unfortunately, not every carrier’s network is either speedy or reliable, especially when the user is moving from one area to the next. As such, the user experience and usability may suffer. Since this goes beyond hardware and software, keep in mind that this is just one of the many scenarios to consider when testing.
5. The Mobile User and Their Experience
Suffice it to say your mobile user will vary. They may either be a child, teen, or adult and their skill level may range from basic to advanced. Be prepared to create and test for this. Ensure that your UI (user interface) accommodates all types, and is easy to use and navigate. Additionally, be aware of factors that can affect user experience, such as font size, color, readability, click area size and more.
Mobile applications are a fantastic way to communicate with your users and they create much opportunity for business. With that said, they also come with many new challenges that developers and testers don’t often face. To combat that, stay on top of any new changes in mobile, create a solid mobile testing strategy, and use the right tools and your organization should find success with its new mobile app.