It really is one of the most frustrating things in the world. You download an app, get into the meat of it, and it crashes. You were just “this close” to winning that million dollar Monopoly prize and it all went to heck.
You’ve probably heard that being mobile friendly and having an app is the way to go. And the data backs this up. 89% of mobile media time is spent on apps.
That’s a massive majority. But when there is a large market, there will be competition.
And if you fail in that market, you’ll get buried. So, do it right the first time, and you’ll remain on top. That’s why today I’m going to talk about testing your app before you release it.
1. Design it With The User in Mind
Every app should begin where it ends: in the user’s hands. This should be your whole philosophy when it comes to app design.
The best testers and IT application developers know this, especially when it comes to interface design. Your app should be easy and intuitive when it comes to navigation.
So, begin testing before you’ve created the app. Send out surveys to your most loyal customers and ask them about your blueprint. Also, ask them what they’ve seen in other apps that work and doesn’t work.
If you take this important first step, you’ll know what your users are expecting and what they’ve experienced.
2. During Testing, Engage the User
You see, a lot of app developers only use scripted testing techniques. These are automated testing techniques that take the user completely out of the process.
While it might be easier and more laissez faire, it won’t catch all the bugs and it won’t keep the user in mind. It’s fine for preliminary testing, but until you have the app in an actual person’s hands, you won’t get everything ironed out.
This is where exploratory testing comes in. What is exploratory testing?
It’s the involvement of the individual tester in the process of testing. It’s hands on, but it allows the tester to learn empirically.
They take on the role of the user. And they now can empathize with the user throughout the whole process.
3. Always Prototype or Beta Test
You will not go with the first iteration of your app. Unless you’re an expert coder or developer, you’re not going to succeed at first bat.
You might have to scrap whole versions of an app and start over. Know that this is part of the process no matter how frustrating it is.
You will have to go back to the drawing board often. But once you have a final product, you’ll be highly satisfied with the result and so will your customers.
4. Use a Test Plan With Checklists
Your checklist should start with app usability. Features and functions come last. This is the opposite of what most developers do.
They typically create a list of features and functions they want in an app. Usability be damned! (They probably don’t really say that.)
If you write down your plan and centralize usability, you’re less likely to have a buggy app. You’ll also be less likely to leave out particular functions that are important to your customers and users.
5. Plan for Scalability
Static apps will eventually become obsolete. Just like a business, you want an app that’s scalable.
And you want to test for add ons and future upgrades to hardware and bandwidth. It needs to mold and shape with the times. And if you don’t test for it, you may see your app fail down the road.
Plus, app re-design is costly. You want to save as much future money now as you can.
6. What Are Device Environments?
Alright, when you pick up your cell phone, you’re holding one of the most densely packed pieces of technology on the planet. It can do a billion things for you, most of them you don’t make it do.
But some people do use all the functions on their phone. And some people take their phones out into extreme environments.
If you’re a company that designs an app for say Arctic research, you need to design the user interface and colors for that environment. Scientists will probably be using special gloves that allow them to interact with their phone.
You’ll want to test with those particular gloves in mind.
In essence, when creating a testing plan, make sure it involves the environment. Also look at apps used in similar environments.
If you’re creating an app to be used outside, perhaps on a constructions site, look at apps like Pokemon Go. These kinds of apps will inform you about colors visible outside.
The type of device will also have an impact on how an app will perform in certain environments. Glossy screens are horrible in bright daylight, so you will need to see if your colors are bright enough to stand out behind a glaring screen.
7. Security Is Key
In today’s environment of security and data breaches, one can not be too careful. You have to include security and lockdown in your testing plan.
You need to review security standards if you’re going to be collecting user data. Data encryption is another big one. Look into encryption services if you are selling anything through your application.
8. Don’t Forget the Device
Every device will operate your app differently. And people will use your app differently on each device.
Make sure you include the device in your app testing plan. If it’s on an iPhone, you have to realize how people use iPhones. If you’re hoping to include widgets, know these go on a different screen in the iOS for example.
Also, know the limitations of the hardware itself. Are you going to tax the device? Will your app make it crash? Can your users access everything on a particular device?
These are pertinent questions when testing your app.
Conclusion: Just Get it Working
You’re likely to lose customer loyalty if you produce an app that crashes or is just plain difficult to navigate.
Have any app testing horror stories? Let me know in the comments below!