Why Current Approaches are Falling Short, and What to Do About It
Delivering flawless mobile experiences IS your business. Modern customers spend more than 4 hours a day on their phones, connecting with others, making purchases, getting work done, etc. And when it comes to mobile, user attrition is a constant threat. Less than half of mobile app downloads last more than 30 days. And if a mobile experience fails to meet expectations, users will abandon it — taking their dollars with them — never to return.
Meanwhile, the standards of what constitutes a “quality” mobile experience continues to shift, with user demands and expectations constantly rising to new heights. Impatient mobile users expect instantaneous responses, never-fail reliability, and rich, convenient, friction-free mobile experiences. Every. Single. Time. And if you can’t provide them with that kind of experience, they’ll find someone else that can.
And, by the way, it isn’t just customers that depend on high-quality mobile experiences. Your employees, partners, and the livelihood of your business depend on mobile, too. No pressure.
In today’s always-on, hyper-connected digital economy, providing quality mobile experiences has never been more essential. To ensure the success of your digital business, mobile teams must accelerate mobile experience development and innovation while ensuring continuously optimized performance and functionality. Everything hangs in the balance.
Complex Environments + Siloed Tools = Big Challenges
Delivering quality mobile experiences depends on a complex set of interactions between applications, devices, and networks. (Is your application’s code optimized? What kind of device is being used to access it? What operating system is it running? Are backend servers performing as expected? What about third-party APIs? Carrier networks? Backbone internet, CDNs, and DNS services?) A dizzying number of factors have to come together seamlessly and instantaneously to deliver a quality mobile experience.
Unfortunately, current tools and approaches don’t help much. In spite of increased user expectations, mobile teams rely on disjointed, point-solutions for testing, monitoring, and analytics. And while these tools are usually adequate to serve narrow, specific purposes, they can (and often do) lead to a number of significant obstacles when they are employed at a larger scale:
1. Compromised Experiences
Most damningly, disjointed tools leave your teams unable to manage and optimize mobile experiences, which hurts your users’ experience. For example:
- Mobile users discover bugs or performance issues in production
- Only then does your team discover that important functionality doesn’t work correctly on all network, device, and OS combinations
- Inability to diagnose and reproduce issues means they’re left unresolved and potentially ignored.
2. Compromised Operations
Disjointed tools lead to inefficiency. When a situation such as the one listed above inevitably arises, teams get stuck in an endless cycle of post-production fire drills — reacting to problems with production systems instead of identifying and fixing issues proactively. This situation hurts teams in a number of critical ways:
- Development, QA, operations, and product teams all rely on their own distinct tools and workflows — which means a lot of manual work and interaction to detect, diagnose, and resolve the root cause of problems
- Problem resolution turns into a battle between teams instead of a collaborative effort. Rather than establishing efficient collaboration across groups and teams, digital leads find themselves contending with finger pointing and stuck in emergency all-hands-on-deck meetings.
- Possibly most seriously, this situation leaves teams with precious little time to focus on their more strategic long-term priorities. When everything is important and urgent, it leaves little time to focus on innovation, which is critical to long-term business success and viability.
3. Compromised Insights
Moving past domain-specific visibility requires a lot of work from mobile teams: manually integrating different data sets, running one-off reports, doing a lot of cleanup work, etc. And ultimately, all these efforts lead to problems of their own:
- They consume a lot of time
- They open up room for increased human error
- They erode the timeliness and utility of the data gathered, which limits the value of the insights that can be realized.
Mobile teams end up either not fully trusting the results of analytics and then not acting on them, or (even worse) they do act on them, and faulty intelligence points them in the wrong direction.
The three compromises described above fundamentally stifle innovation and hamstring business success. Focused on fire drills, teams don’t have space to prioritize rolling out new, differentiated features and capabilities. Disjointed, point-solutions to testing, monitoring, and analytics make it impossible for teams to identify and prioritize meaningful efforts that will have the biggest impact in the market. Teams can’t respond quickly enough to rapidly evolving business opportunities and competitive threats. And, ultimately, bugs and issues make it into production, hurting quality of experience. Then user attrition kicks into gear, which is the death knell of any digital business.
What’s Needed: A New Kind of Platform
Given the scope and pervasiveness of the challenges outlined above, successful teams can’t continue to rely on the status quo and expect dramatically different results. Doing the same things a little bit faster or slightly more efficiently isn’t going to solve the underlying problems that face most mobile teams. Ultimately, they need to take a fundamentally different approach if they want to see fundamentally better results.
But what would a new kind of platform look like? What would it offer? Well, it would need to do a number of things:
1. Unified Testing, Monitoring, and Analytics
In today’s mobile experience-driven economy, testing, monitoring, and analytics can’t continue to be managed in isolation. Comprehensive testing (including functional, performance, and load testing) needs to be employed alongside monitoring and analytics to position mobile teams for sustained success. A unified approach should be capable of providing actionable insights about the user experience, and all gathered intelligence needs to be seamlessly integrated with advanced analytics (including predictive analytics powered by artificial intelligence).
2. Comprehensive for Applications, Devices, and Networks
In order for integrated testing, monitoring, and analytics capabilities to be truly useful at scale, they need to be employed across entire mobile ecosystems, including:
- Applications. Your platform should provide deep code visibility, so you can manage and optimize software throughout the development lifecycle.
- Devices. As device diversity increases, it’s increasingly vital to gain visibility into the user experience at the device level
- Networks. Intelligence needs to span all networks that your users and customers rely on, including carrier and backbone networks running across any number of regions.
Check out: How to Test Your Mobile Apps from Anywhere
3. Pragmatic Implementation and Operation
To be pragmatic and foster maximum success, a platform needs to offer a range of critical deployment and management attributes. Businesses need open architecture that maximizes efficiency and flexibility of both deployment and ongoing operation, and an ideal platform should enable deployment on-premises, in the cloud, and at third-party hosting providers. It’s also critical that the platform offers enterprise-grade open source to address security, stability, and scalability requirements.
How HeadSpin Can Help
HeadSpin offers the world’s first Connected Intelligence Platform™, the only platform that provides testing, monitoring, and analytics solutions across applications, devices, and networks — enabling mobile teams to optimize user experience and deliver flawless mobile experiences.
HeadSpin Connected Intelligence™ offers comprehensive testing capabilities, delivering support for functional, performance, and load testing. The solution provides seamless integration with load testing platforms like LoadRunner, BlazeMeter, and Jmeter. The solution also offers support for all automated testing frameworks, including Appium, Selenium, XCTest, and Espresso.
With HeadSpin Connected Intelligence™, you can leverage the most extensive Global Device Cloud offering access to thousands of devices in 90+ locations, running on hundreds of networks worldwide, including support for iOS, Android, Android Wear; Apple, Google, and Amazon TV; audio and video validation; and more.
HeadSpin Connected Intelligence™ offers advanced, AI-driven user experience monitoring. The solution delivers troubleshooting, dashboards, and alert capabilities. By leveraging advanced monitoring and AI-powered intelligence, the solution can automatically alert administrators to impending problems and help uncover root issues, dramatically speeding resolution times, reducing downtime and improving user experience.
HeadSpin Connected Intelligence™ delivers the unified capabilities that ensure comprehensive intelligence is gathered and delivered in a way that makes it easily actionable. The solution offers intuitive, powerful visualization and AI-powered analytics that can track trends and offer predictive insights. The solution also provides flexible integration, offering APIs, webhooks, and business intelligence platform connectors, so you can most efficiently leverage captured analytics and insights.
Delivering quality mobile experiences is an absolute imperative for any digital business. However, delivering quality mobile experiences is becoming more difficult. User expectations continue to rise, mobile ecosystems are becoming increasingly more complex, and siloed, disjoined tools and processes make simply understanding—let alone optimizing—mobile experiences a heavy lift for mobile teams.
Given the scope and criticality of both the obstacles and opportunities facing businesses that rely on mobile experiences, HeadSpin’s Connected Intelligence Platform™ offers unique benefits that are vital for success in today’s digital economy. Forward-thinking mobile teams can’t afford not to take notice.
Q1: What are native, web, and hybrid apps?
Web apps are responsive websites (usually created in HTML5 and a scripting language) dependent on the browser to run. These apps find it difficult to use the hardware and native features of the device. Native apps, on the other hand, are built with the mobile operating system in mind and can use device hardware and features natively. They are, however, created using platform-specific language and cannot share codebase amongst platforms. For example, a developer would use Objective-C to create an iOS app but cannot reuse the code for Android.
Hybrid apps mix the two and are built using technologies like react-native. They have a shared codebase across platforms like web apps and can use native device features and hardware like native apps. However, achieving complete platform independence or using all native features is tricky with hybrid apps.
Q2: What is the difference between mobile app testing and web app testing
There are many similarities between mobile and web app testing, like both apps require performance testing, functionality testing, and regression testing.
The primary difference is that teams test web apps for functionality, performance, and a bug-free experience across browsers. In addition to the above tests, teams test mobile apps for compatibility issues, native features (like network, battery, storage), and user gestures.
Q3: Which is better for testing - an emulator or a real device?
Emulators are very helpful in the initial stages of development as they are much cheaper to use and maintain than real devices. However, emulators do not perfectly imitate the real devices and are likely to give false positives and false negatives. Emulators cannot mimic the hardware configuration like battery, network, and location services.
On the other hand, real devices give accurate test results and access the complete hardware configuration. Real devices are essential In the later stages of the SDLC to reduce production issues.
Q4: Should mobile apps be tested on different networks?
Network connectivity usually has a considerable effect on app functionality and performance. Testers should test mobile apps on all possible networks (2G-5G/Wifi) to accurately simulate real-world usage and avoid production issues.
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