With so many mobile apps on the market your app certainly won’t last long if it is flawed. Anything from bad functionality, poor usability, slow load times or subpar security can sink your app. So how do you make sure your app is up to the task? By paying attention to testing from start to finish. Here are a few particular testing steps you can take from inception to launch.
The Brilliant Idea
You have a brilliant idea and recruit some awesome developers to make it come to life. At this phase of the process you should also recruit an awesome tester. Incorporating a tester into the team before the product is built can save you a lot of pain down the road. A tester looking over plans may be able to highlight potential problem areas that will require special care, or even identify ideas that flat out won’t work as designed. Being aware of these problems before developers spend time coding the application will save you time and hassle, making the entire SDLC run smoother.
You may want to also to bring in specific testing experts to look over designs. Specialized testers like security experts or usability experts will offer similar benefits as having a general tester on the team, but on a much more micro scale. It is easier to build a secure app from the beginning than going back and trying to patch vulnerabilities after a product is built. A security expert will know the most common vulnerabilities and can help you design around them before development begins. Similarly, a UX expert has a deep understand of best usability practices and what end users tend to like and dislike. Having a UX expert review design plans before a build can ensure you’re heading down a path that will lead to happy users.
Your Product is Ready for Testing
When you get through the planning and development phases and get to the point where there’s an actual app to test there are a few things you can do that will make your life easier and your testing more complete.
Find the Right Tools
Invest in tools that take limited maintenance and have an extended return. If the effort to maintain and run a testing tool is great than the benefit the tool provides it’s not worth it. Consider a versatile tool that fills multiple needs – and thus provides multiple benefits for a single cost.
Apphance is a mobile testing tool that will carry you from version to version and through launch, offering multiple benefits along the way. Once you add the Apphance library your app you will be able to distribute builds to testers over the air and collect crash reports, bug reports, feedback and device information. After launch, Apphance continues to offer benefits by giving users a way to provide feedback directly to you from within the app.
Find the Right Testers
Testing in the lab is an important part of developing a mobile app. Having your in-house team find obvious bugs (assuming they weren’t caught earlier) will save you time and money. Equally as important (and a great compliment to lab-based testing) is testing in-the-wild. The simple truth is that your ultimate users won’t be sitting in your office and won’t have an intimate knowledge of how the app is supposed to work. In-the-wild testing puts your app in the hands of testers out in the real world – testers who will be using the same mish-mash of devices, OS versions and networks that your real users will be accessing. Plus, crowdsourced testing lets you select a group of testers that mimics your target users. Designing an app for new moms or traveling business people? You want to make sure the app makes sense, is usable and meets the wants and needs of those people, not your in-house testing team.
Launching Isn’t the End
Just because your app is live and available to the public doesn’t mean you’re done. To ensure you have a successful app you’ll need to keep monitoring and tweaking the app’s performance. Unfortunately, things don’t always work as planned in the real world and you need to keep an eye on how your app is performing to ensure an unforeseen issue doesn’t creep up. A few metrics you’ll want to monitor post-launch are real-life load times, system response times and any APIs you’re using (in case one of them unexpectedly changes).
Being aware of the different roles testing plays in the life of a mobile app will help you be prepared throughout the entire process, instead of scrambling right before launch. Plan ahead, use the right tools and techniques and your app stands a chance of being an app store success.