What does a successful mobile app do? Here are some characteristics that jump to mind:
- It quickly does what it promises to do (Uber finds you a ride, Waze gives you the fastest route to your destination)
- It's always easy to use and navigate
- It releases regular updates with useful new features
- It has no bugs (and if there are bugs, they're fixed quickly with an update)
- It runs well on all smartphones and operating systems, particularly the newest ones
- It runs well no matter where the user is located
- It sends relevant and helpful notifications (i.e. it doesn't annoy you with frivolous alerts)
Every company with a digital presence aims to do these things, but getting apps and websites into "successful" shape is no walk in the park. Enterprise DevTest teams are grappling with a constant flow of new mobile devices and operating systems. Also, the mobile user is a moving target, switching between Wi-Fi and cellular, getting inundated with calls and texts while battery life is dying and other apps are running in the background.
So when an app succeeds, in many ways it's beating the odds. And that takes a coordinated plan involving:
- A high percentage of test automation
- An understanding of your customers' behavior and then testing for the real conditions they actually experience each day
- Keeping a close eye on the mobile market and planning ahead (do beta testing!)
- A responsive web design strategy
- A testing lab that's flexible and has access to real devices
To gather specific data on what organizations in different industries are doing to release successful apps and websites, we sent out a survey to enterprise-level web and mobile professionals in QA, management and developer roles, and received over 1,000 responses.
Some key survey takeaways:
- Eighty-one percent of respondents view the digital experience as crucial to their business success — 58% see it as a critical competitive issue, while 23% view it as a matter of "do or die."
- Three-quarters of respondents report that they have both a mobile and web presence.
- Eight out of 10 respondents are mimicking real user environments in their mobile testing.
- However, 67% view the delivery of a reliable and consistent digital experience as a major challenge for their team, citing that "releasing new features and functionality fast enough" and "ensuring that testing accurately represents real user environments" are the major obstacles.
Using the survey findings as a baseline, we authored a report entitled "Why Apps Succeed" that includes four key obstacles to digital excellence and our recommendations on how to overcome them.