In the current digital landscape, businesses are prone to lose significant dollars due to poor audio quality. Moreover, with the rising number of consumers using voice assistants and similar apps, a good audio quality is critical. As per Forbes, it is expected that consumers will adopt voice assistants on more than 8 billion devices by 2024. Given the instance of increasing interactions with customers through voice and smart assistants like Alexa, Google assistants, and other voice commanding apps, inferior audio quality can lead to customer frustrations, frequent uninstallations, switching to competitor apps, and poor feedback. These in turn hamper customer relationships, reduce employee productivity, and lead to miscommunication between parties. A survey commissioned by a global market research firm IPSOS and high-end audio brand EPOS suggests that poor audio quality disrupts a workplace. More than 87% of respondents experienced issues due to poor sound, with background noise, repetition, and interference. Around 18% of people lost a critical piece of work or a business deal leading to lost revenue. Even beyond the business world, for every individual using an audio device, whether a phone or laptop, testing the audio quality is imperative for ensuring optimal customer experience that ultimately leads to good brand value.
This blog highlights HeadSpin's data science capabilities that enable businesses to test audio quality across different mobile applications and ensure superior user experiences.
What is audio quality testing?
Audio testing is a fundamental part of media testing that helps testers, and QA teams determine the overall audio quality of the applications or devices and the user experience it offers. Audio quality testing involves checking the app objectively as well as subjectively against multiple KPIs like audio fidelity, audio delay, packet loss, jitters, network switching, loudness, and many more.
Leveraging an audio testing solution helps ensure optimal audio quality, obtain insights into user behavior, and optimize the overall user experience to drive visitor engagement and maximize revenue.
What are the common challenges testers face to ensure good audio quality in mobile apps?
- Testing across diverse use cases: One of the primary challenges of testing audio quality is the system's complexity. Various factors can impact audio quality, such as the device's hardware and software, the network connection, and the user's environment. Furthermore, consumers engage with a wide range of mobile devices, versions, models, and OSes today, which makes it challenging to ensure consistent experiences across all mediums.
- Identifying critical areas that require improvement: Pinpointing critical areas that need improvement is challenging. Most conventional tools for evaluating audio quality fall short of capturing the audio details end-to-end, thereby leading to several defects being unidentified. This leads to poor user experiences and increased support costs for companies.
- Measuring or tracking user-specific audio quality metrics: Determining the right audio quality metrics to measure can be complex amongst a vast number of mobile device consumers. Various metrics are available, such as audio fidelity, audio delay, jitters, network switching, loudness, and frequency response, each measuring a different aspect of audio quality.
How HeadSpin enables enterprises to improve the audio quality in their mobile apps?
HeadSpin's AV Platform is a holistic solution for extensive audio and video testing on real devices for perfecting digital experiences. It helps to test by capturing critical user experience KPIs on real mobile devices, including actual screen and audio output, to identify and address high-priority audio quality issues and ensure perfect user experiences.
The solution supports multiple use cases like:
- Voice activation
- Speaker-based use cases connected to mobile devices
- Media apps
- Gaming apps
- Smart assistants
- Video conferencing
How does the AV Platform work?
HeadSpin's proprietary hardware, the AV Platform, is at the core of audio testing. The functioning of this Platform involves a device under test and a supporting device. The device under test can be any device ranging from speakers, smart assistants, mobile devices, OTT devices, and many more. The supporting device is placed opposite to it with a high-resolution camera that captures the video, while the microphones and Bluetooth record the audio for analysis and quality enhancement.
HeadSpin offers two-way audio testing capabilities with devices physically in-hand for testers as well as those in remote locations. HeadSpin provides this audio support with the help of proprietary Bluetooth hardware (HSBT). The HeadSpin architecture allows audio transfer to and from the headset, which is then streamed to the end user's browsers. This capability helps users to remotely listen to the audio and record from the phone.
Unique audio analytics capabilities of HeadSpin
1. Audio recording
HeadSpin enables you to record and analyze the audio with its deep analytics and AI models. In the performance sessions captured by the Platform, testers, and QA teams can view the audio being recorded in the timeline of the test that is aligned to the same timeline for screen recording. With all the data captured across the timeline, teams can surface different audio metrics in terms of audio volume for stereo or mono.
2. Audio match analysis
HeadSpin helps you match reference audio clips. Users can upload reference audio via HeadSpin audio API and match that with a specific test session. Users can make an insertion, for instance, expecting audio within a specific time period in the test session. Teams can also leverage automatic audio activity analysis where the audio is injected and the time interval where the audio was recorded is detected automatically.
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3. Audio issue cards
The HeadSpin solution helps obtain audio issue cards that automatically surface based on the ITU standards and follows the LUFS= Loudness Units relative to Full Scale. This metric is a standardized measurement of audio loudness. Testers can navigate the test sessions and obtain an integrated loudness score to evaluate if the application displaying media content with audio volume is higher than most streaming platforms offer. Undesirably high or low volume negatively impacts the perceived sound quality and degrades the listening experience.
4. Real-time audio playback and microphone quality testing
With advanced data science capabilities and a robust AV Platform, and Bluetooth architecture, HeadSpin allows audio playback and quality evaluation in real time. By providing them with immediate feedback on any issues, this capability ensures that developers can quickly identify and address any audio issues before they impact users.
HeadSpin's extensive audio API capabilities help streamline the entire user journey of the audio clip or content. The API allows interaction with the audio interface for the supported devices in the user's device pool and also helps perform different analyses. With HeadSpin's audio API, testers are able to upload external audio resources and obtain crucial information and metadata.
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How has HeadSpin enabled a leading US multinational technology organization to streamline the testing of its voice assistant with HeadSpin's AV Platform?
A prominent multinational company faced severe issues providing remote access to devices for testing teams worldwide. The company aimed to improve its voice assistant to help recognize and understand a wide range of speech patterns and accents and validate communication between different devices for a seamless operation of the smart assistant.
To address this, the company leveraged HeadSpin's AV Platform to test real voice commands and the critical features of their voice assistant to mimic real-world conditions.
With HeadSpin, this client could:
- Test various audio use cases and speaker/microphone functionalities across diverse operating systems, devices, and carrier networks and capture critical performance and user experience KPIs
- Test generic voice assistant features across real Android/iOS devices in diverse conditions controlled by the HeadSpin AV Platform in real-world scenarios like a big hall, noisy room, and others
- Access the voice assistant and HeadSpin's AV Platform remotely through the HeadSpin Remote Control UI and record audio from the device
Audio testing and analytics are critical components of modern mobile applications that rely on high-quality audio. By investing in these areas, developers can ensure that their applications deliver a seamless user experience, reduce support costs, and improve overall efficiency. As technology continues to develop, it is critical that developers keep up with the latest trends and technologies in audio testing and analytics to deliver the best possible experience to users.
Q1. What are the critical use cases of the HeadSpin Bluetooth?
Ans: The primary use cases covered by the HeadSpin Bluetooth include:
- Audio or video playback
- Making a phone call
- Voice notes
- Smart assistant
Q2. How does HeadSpin's AV Platform compare to other audio and video testing tools?
Ans: HeadSpin's AV Platform offers a unique combination of features and capabilities, including global device infrastructure, real-time playback, call testing, and troubleshooting tools, making it a comprehensive and powerful tool for audio and video testing.