The rising popularity of smartphones presents a wealth of opportunities for app developers and publishers. As with most opportunities, there is no shortage of challenges. We’ve noted some of them below.
The primary challenge and the one we will go into the most in this post, is testing these apps, so that they work in all your target market environments.
Now, while a tester who is used to testing web applications gives them a leg up on other testers with no experience, mobile testing is a completely different ball game. In the web world, a tester might have to test a handful of web browsers. When the complexity of different devices, operating systems, and models is introduced, this creates a challenge of paramount proportions.
This is especially the case with the Android and Windows mobile platforms, where companies such as Samsung and Nokia dominate the market. We are not just talking about different devices. We are talking about the multiple operating systems that are resident on the devices of your target market.
One way, which is highly common in testing the array of devices, is by using device emulation. While emulation is less expensive, there is a reason for it. Nothing beats the real thing. With emulation there is always the high chance that your testing might not come close to a real life environment that is needed to test.
Research. Research. Research.
One way to cut down this hassle is to research your target market. Say, you are releasing an app to the Swedish market that delivers meatballs to you door, hot and ready to eat.
You discover that by conducting some research that Swedish mobile users mostly have Samsung and Nokia issued devices. In this case, you should test on the most used device models, indicating it in the app store description. You might want to say that specific devices have been tested and more are being tested. You cannot guarantee the successful use of the app on phones not specified.
Another important thing you should research are the most commonly used network protocols. You wouldn’t want to have built your app with the 3G network in mind for connection, when 3G doesn’t even exist in one of your primary target markets.
The Mad App Rush
Because bringing an app to market is almost always based on timing, there are mad rushes to the app finish line. With this release frequency, comes the heightened confusion regarding testing among the team, which could lead to a buggy release if things are not done precisely. Remember, there is no room for error. If you release a buggy app, you might just get booted out of the app store where you are publishing.
Additionally, functional testing isn’t the only type of testing you should be conducting. After the app is launched, utilizing an in-app analytics tool is key to optimizing the mobile user experience.
Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression. This statement looms large over the mobile app sphere. If your app doesn’t work upon launch, as the user perceives it should, you may have just lost a customer, never to return.