If you bought a coffee and on the way out of the store, the cup started leaking, would you continue through the door or turn around and ask for a new cup? If you bought a shirt, but when putting it on for the first time, it tore into pieces, would you return it?
Clearly, no consumer wants a broken product. Customers have a right to receive exactly what they purchased or asked for. Mistakes don't fly in any other sector, but in mobile app development, shipping a platform full of bugs and glitches has become all too common.
According to an Evans Data Corporation survey of 500 software developers, three-quarters of mobile apps are released with as many as 10 software glitches and only 5% of apps are bug-free on Day One. Even more frightening, 20% of mobile apps have up to 50 bugs.
Updates Come Too Late
While the mobile app development and testing process is never easy, there's no excuse to launch a broken product. Unfortunately, many companies try to pass off glitch-ridden mobile apps as complete experiences. And then, weeks later choose to fix those bugs. Evan Data Corporation explained that 80% of mobile developers release updates on a monthly basis.
Take Apple and iOS 9 for example. While the new features and capabilities of the operating system are great and the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are cool devices -- the camera takes some gorgeous photos -- here we are, not even a month since launch, and Apple has needed to release two updates for iOS. According to Gadgets 360, both updates patched glitches, and some of these problems should have been caught months ago.
When Apps Break
At least iOS 9 worked. TouchArcade reported on the iOS game Bioshock and the conundrum that quickly spread across the Internet: In late September, Bioshock, a PC game from 2K Games that was ported to iOS last year, was pulled from the App Store without a word from the developer. As it turns out, once users downloaded iOS 8.4, Bioshock -- an app that costs real money, mind you -- stopped working.
What followed could be summed up as purely negative. TouchArcade explained that everyone from gamers to iOS users to the media took to the Internet to complain. Given the premium quality of the Bioshock experience, this is sad news, especially considering that many who purchased the game now probably perceive 2K Games to be a company that doesn't treat its paying customers very well. As of mid-October, 2K Games hasn't re-released Bioshock, although the source stated that a functioning version of the mobile app is on its way for iOS 9. The question is whether or not the return of Bioshock to the App Store will be praised or ignored.
Mobile app developers and testers cannot catch every single bug. However, it's clear that the industry is not above taking consumers for granted and shipping broken mobile apps. If brands continue to shoot themselves in the foot with poor mobile apps, negative publicity and user exits are the inevitable outcomes.
Mobile app testing goes a long way, but developers must also do testing on a variety of physical devices and operating systems to meet customer demands. Another way to keep pace with a fast-changing market is to apply an agile workflow that uses automation to speed up testing and catch defects before they go live.
All it takes is one user group to become disgruntled, and from there, the brand perception hill is hard to climb.