The shift to mobile application development is impacting companies of all shapes and sizes, making it one of the most competitive ventures. From social media to shopping, navigation, and so much more, digital users spend hours utilizing the millions of apps available literally at their fingertips. With so much choice, users aren’t likely to give any app a second chance, and many people don’t. In fact, almost 35% of mobile app engagements last less than a minute, suggesting users don’t take long to make judgments.
As per Perfecto Mobile, a mobile application testing and monitoring solutions firm, 2014 report – It is estimated that 44% of the defects are found by the user (24% from direct feedback, and another 20% from public user reviews in app stores). The biggest issues cited were User interface problems at 58%, performance at 52%, functionality at 50%, and device compatibility at 45%.
Mobile application development | Why do most Mobile Apps fail?
We all know about successful Mobile Apps like WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Flipboard, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Ever thought what keeps other apps like Viber, WeChat, etc. on the similar theme suffer disapproval and losses? While competition in the mobile application development market is high, failure isn’t always a result of bad luck. In most cases, there are other contributing factors. So, why do most apps fail?
The same reason most projects fail: lack of planning and strategy. Mobile app failure goes far beyond a bug or flaw that can be remedied. Luckily, there are common categories of problems most likely to cause an app to fail. Knowing them won’t necessarily make your app immune to failure, but it will help you proceed intelligently and look for the signs that things could take a nasty turn.
- The Myth of App’s need – Poorly Researched Market & Audience
- An idea that won’t work
- Poor Mobile App Strategy
- Incompatible with existing Business Strategy
- Monetary constraints & Outsourcing
- Ignoring different Platforms
- Poor User Experience
- Ignoring platform-specific best practices
- ‘It is time’ Myth – either you are early or late
- Poor Marketing Strategy – Users don’t know it exists, or why they need it
- Diverting from App’s core functions – too many features
- Overlooking the Importance of Post-Launch Interactions (User Feedback)
- Neglecting the Competition
- Lack of proper Monetization Strategy
These are just some of the reasons why your App can fail. One of the most critical protocols that should top the list but is often overlooked is “Mobile App Testing” prior, during and after launch. Too many apps of low or high value are released without sufficient quality testing and control, making it important to tighten up testing and certification processes if a brand is to avoid the financial or reputation damage of seriously disappointed and angry end users.
As a mobile application developer, there are many components in building an app that needs to be considered to ensure its success. The mobile experience is dependent on a combination of factors including battery, memory, CPU / GPU, network connectivity, screen size, sensors and even app style. The worst nightmare for a developer is to launch an app with bugs and errors that taint the user’s experience. Ensuring quality in mobile application development requires enhanced testing, complex analysis and client side visibility.
Rapid Innovation & Time to Market
The fast pace of change in the mobile application development market is putting pressure on development and operations teams to adopt rapid development and deployment practices. New devices, OS enhancements, wearables, sensors and third-party plug-ins are continuously being released into the market. Mobile application development teams must constantly update their release plans to ensure compatibility with a growing number of variables.
Certainly, time is not on the side of today’s development and QA teams, as they must adapt to a number new dynamics emerging in real time. Speed is the key to app’s success. Not accounting for the rapid changes in this tremendously fast-paced, fragmented market will guarantee user abandonment and app failure.
Skyrocketing User Expectations / Experience
78% of enterprise mobile apps are abandoned after the first use. Mobile users expect faster results. Users will quickly abandon applications with response delays & usability issues.
In order for any particular app to become an integral part of a smartphone or tablet user’s daily routine, it’s important for that app to feel intuitive and easy to use. The user experience is different in almost every scenario, each one contributing to an endless possibility of use-case issues. The testing needs to consider how the app will perform on different operating systems (Android, iOS, etc.), OS versions, carrier networks and devices. If a user struggles to perform basic functions on your app and can’t figure out core functionalities easily, the result is very poor usability. A polished UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) are key similarities that nearly all successful apps share.
If the mobile applications are found bad performing worse in the targeted users’ mobile devices than it can be the reason of failure. Therefore the testing done as per the target audience’s mobile devices is also an important point to be considered.
In order to determine the right mix of devices for testing, enterprises need to research and understand what devices are in the market, what devices are being used by their customers and what new devices are coming to the market. In addition, enterprises must be a step ahead of the market and keep continued tabs on relevant market analysis. It’s important that Mobile App Test Strategy has an optimal device mix for testing.
Neglecting the Basic Design Principles
One thing to pay particular attention while mobile application development is platform-specific UI / UX best practices. However, the majority of app developers still haven’t adopted these standard methods. They continue to invent new ways to do things, either because they haven’t noticed the standardized methods or they think creating a novel UI will differentiate their product. In reality, most novel UIs confuse users so it’s more effective to implement a standard UI when possible.
Some mobile apps are doomed from the outset due to fundamental design and development flaws. According to Apple, 6% of all app submissions to the App Store are rejected on the basis of bad design alone. While app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play work to keep their marketplaces free of truly awful apps, many sub-par applications still make their way through Apple’s vetting process. Nonetheless, these applications rarely make a sizable impact, simply because they’re unpleasant to use. Consumers quickly discard these apps in favor of other applications that deliver better results.
It doesn’t work Everywhere
While improving, mobile networks still don’t offer 100% reliable coverage – a fact that must be accounted for in your mobile application development. Unreliable apps get abandoned quickly. Business mobile apps must contend with slow and intermittently connected networks.
Creating Elaborate and Complicated UIs
Your average user is no geek – he or she just wants to enjoy the basic features of their mobile device. Hence, most users are not looking for a UI that is over-the-top and very difficult to understand. The very first version of your app should use an easy-to-operate & intuitive User interface. The UI should preferably be such that the user learns to use it quickly, without having to refer to the user manual. The UI, hence, needs to be simple, to the point and well-laid-out.
One more thing to remember is to make your UI consistent and homogeneous through all the future versions of your app, so that your users need not keep adjusting to different types of UIs in the coming app updates.
Trying to be the Beta tester for your own App
A mobile application developer has tested and confirmed that it works, thereby concluding it SHOULD still work once deployed. “Why have someone else beta test your app when you can do it yourself?” If you’ve ever asked this question while mobile application development, you’ve probably been burned by the outcome. There’s a reason why beta testers are important: They offer valuable outside perspective that will help to catch issues with your app.
It’s not just the bugs that matter, either — some of these ideas can be crucial for making your app user-friendly. For instance, maybe your in-app purchases aren’t communicated clearly enough, or maybe the use of advertisements is making the entire experience feel a bit jarring. Because you built the app this way, it’s harder for you to be able to pinpoint these high-level flaws.
Insufficient Test Coverage
The top challenges faced by the Mobile application development community can be summarized as insufficient Test coverage. It is critical that an app is launched with the same quality experience across all mobile platforms for every unique user. Mobile apps need to effectively perform well across a broad range of mobile devices, operating systems and networks.
Functional test coverage increases exponentially due to the multiple devices, platform and browser combinations that must be tested. Non-functional test coverage also increases as non-functional requirements expand into security, privacy, and network connection speeds and data usage.
Lack of reliable Automation
Implement a tool that supports continuous, unattended testing, Automating device testing enables developers to test more with fewer resources and greater consistency. It’s also important to select an automation tool that can develop cross-device, keyword-based automation scripts and run them across real devices in parallel, while connected to live networks. The tool should be a scalable and dynamic solution which integrates with existing tools. Deploy a monitoring system providing early detection of performance issues before they impact users will help to improve quality for users.
While it’s rare that an app will be without minor bugs upon launch, making sure you test properly before shipping can ensure there are no major issues. If an app isn’t tested properly, it’s bound to be rife with bugs that impact user experience and is prone to crash. A single crash is more than enough to stop users from ever using it again. In fact, some of the most common negative reviews on app stores are related to apps crashing.
Just because you know how the app is meant to work, not all users will approach it in the way you expect. Testing is the only way you can really go about avoiding such errors, and so, annoying as it can be, it’s better to do a thorough job of it than not. Without proper testing, users are likely to come across many unexpected bugs and errors which developer simply didn’t think of.
Mobile App testing must be done thoroughly, with a documented process in place, in order to ensure that your application is as market-ready as possible. It’s unlikely you’ll get a second chance if you fail to entice users the first time around. Pre-production testing is necessary to avoid common pit falls, including UI glitches, cross-platforms inconsistencies, poor performance and excessive resource consumption. A positive end-user experience is only possible when testing strategies can effectively navigate these common pit falls.
Mobile apps aren’t without risks. Some of the most common issues include user interface issues, inconsistencies across platforms, and excessive consumption of resources. Mobile App development can be a big investment, and ‘Mobile App Testing’ presents a new set of challenges over typical application testing. You can refer our previous blog post “Mobile App Testing | Key Challenges” for more details…
In today’s landscape, it’s not just about having a “cool” application; users are more likely to abandon a program if it has functionality problems, no matter how promising it seems. Even the simplest apps can be lucrative for an organization if they work correctly. If you need to confirm the accuracy and effectiveness of your strategy, agility and consistency, keep the application tested and checked at different stages and engage people to come and play around with different features and consume the facility before you actually launch the app. Embrace automation to improve efficiency, test more with fewer resources and greater consistency. Testers must work closely with developers and usability designers not only to understand the requirements, but also to make the types of suggestions that will expedite the mobile application development process.
Mobile Application development and then testing it for quality just doesn’t work – you need an agile development strategy where testing is going on simultaneously – Test early, Test often, and test before your mobile app is in the wild. “Mobile App Testing” is a MUST if you want that top spot in App downloads.
So, what do you think? Is there anything you would add to this list? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.