A recent Gartner report estimated that a mind-blowing 102 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2013. And according to recent research from app analytics firm Flurry, overall app usage surged 115% in 2013, led by messaging and social apps, then utilities and productivity, and followed not far behind by the growing use of streaming music, media and other bandwidth-hogging apps. Globally, there are now more than a billion app-enabled mobile devices, upon which Flurry recently measured users performing 4.7 Billion “app sessions” in a single day.
But just as the mobile platform's user base continues to expand exponentially, user expectations are rising in tandem. Any performance errors or quality inconsistencies can quickly and permanently damage the prospects of a newly launched app or mobile website. With greater smartphone adoption and the increased use of advanced mobile apps and data services, such as streaming video, multiplayer games and VoIP, user demands have stretched mobile network capacity and the underlying infrastructure to its limits.
But consumers have shown that they have little patience for the glitches caused by this steady increase in traffic, nor do they care what the cause of those glitches may be. In light of this harsh reality it has become increasingly necessary for app developers and IT teams to take control of quality of experience where they can by committing to a rigorous testing and QA process to ensure the highest levels of excellence in their mobile assets before they go live.
With this in mind, Keynote recently teamed up with Software Quality Engineering (SQE) and conducted a survey of more than 1,600 mobile website and app developers, IT and quality assurance professionals, to help determine the state of mobile testing practices and tools. The survey, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, asked respondents about the structure of their organizations, their most pressing challenges, and what tools and processes they are utilizing to address those challenges and assure the highest levels of mobile quality.
The survey found that despite accelerated development cycles and limited resources, users' expectations of mobile app and website quality were the same or higher than desktop, forcing testing and QA professionals to do more with less.
As visualized in the accompanying infographic, other findings illustrating this challenging mobile testing environment included:
- Testing time allocated to mobile releases is the same as non-mobile releases
- However, 90% of respondents said quality expectations of mobile are same or higher than desktop
- When asked about the challenges they face as mobile testing and QA practitioners, respondents indicated that lack of availability of mobile testing tools remains a challenge and more specifically that access to tools for functional testing is the biggest challenge in testing on mobile.
Additionally, the survey revealed that mobile website and app testing groups are often distributed across large organizations instead of being in one centralized group, further stretching already limited resources and sometimes contributing to the unnecessary duplication of efforts.
Today’s mobile users are difficult to satisfy and apps are easy to uninstall. However, as revealed in our survey, the testing tools, processes and resources available to today's mobile QA and Testing teams haven't caught up with users' – or management's - high expectations. In order to meet those rising expectations and take advantage of the growing market demand for next-generation mobile websites and applications it is clear that IT departments need to immediately begin implementing QA and Testing processes that include real device testing and increased automation capabilities.
ABOUT Josh Galde
Josh Galde is Senior Marketing Manager and mobile testing evangelist at Keynote DeviceAnywhere.