Are Your Mobile Apps Ready for the Real World?
August 08, 2013

Eran Kinsbruner
Perfecto by Perforce

Across multiple industries, mobile applications have become a key business asset and an invaluable direct channel to the customer. However, the opportunity for reward does not come without risk. Mobile applications can be detrimental to an enterprise if not executed properly. Bugs or poor performance in business-critical applications can have severe business consequences. Moreover, end users have a variety of competing options readily available and will not settle for a subpar mobile application; they will switch brands without a second thought to avoid inferior mobile apps.

A major challenge facing mobile application developers is the need to predict the end user experience in production and ensure positive business results. To prepare their mobile apps for the real world, enterprises need to conduct performance testing under real network conditions and using real mobile devices. But it doesn't end there. Once a mobile app is released to production, it must be monitored in order to detect and correct performance issues before they affect the user experience.

Prepare for the Real World

According to the World Quality Report, 67% of enterprises rated efficiency of performance as their top priority today for mobile. Surely, real-world performance cannot be accurately measured if you are testing your mobile apps on simulators. In reality, mobile users almost never have the luxury of a foolproof internet connection – they are traveling underground by train, fighting for a connection on public WiFi or going to a website that is overloaded (think of the traffic around March Madness).

In today's complex mobile world, you need to test on a wide selection of real devices (smartphones and tablets) in real-life scenarios. Different devices behave differently in response to various network conditions and server loads – each has its own threshold (i.e. iPhone will react differently than Android on a loaded server).

As part of your company’s mobile strategy, you need to be ready for any and all scenarios. To make your mobile application ready for the real-world, it must be properly prepared and measured for performance.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Effective performance testing enables teams to methodically measure application availability and transaction response times across mixed network and application server conditions. This data provides the insight needed to optimize performance, set service level objectives and ensure a predictable user experience.

By measuring what users care about most, you can be sure that your mobile apps are always ahead of the curve – enabling you to reduce risk and avoid financial loss.

Adopt a Continuous and Iterative Testing Cycle

Continuous application improvement should be built into your mobile testing process. A mobile app is far from completed after launch; in many ways, the work at that point has just begun.

A comprehensive, yet agile, process should include both functional and performance testing prior to launch. Once the app is released into production, the process continues with real-device monitoring of the application.

A "continuous delivery" approach allows developers to release software versions as frequently as possible, allowing for continuous updates and improvement as the market evolves. Given the pace of change in the mobile market, shortening the testing cycle is imperative for minimizing the risk of "missing the market".

Better Testing Makes for a Better User Experience

At the end of the day, it's all about maximizing your end user's experience. The increasing centrality and dependence on mobile devices has raised users’ expectations with respect to quality, performance and availability of their mobile apps.

End users expect nothing less than an outstanding experience at all times. They don't care about the technical details - the application simply needs to work.

Eran Kinsbruner is Chief Evangelist at Perfecto by Perforce
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