Relieving the global mobile testing burden

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Over the last few weeks, I have been traveling in Europe, Asia and North America and  have had the opportunity to meet many of our testers at a series of open house events and with clients in the US, UK, France, India, the Netherlands, Germany Sweden and other international locations. Throughout my travels, it became […]

Over the last few weeks, I have been traveling in Europe, Asia and North America and  have had the opportunity to meet many of our testers at a series of open house events and with clients in the US, UK, France, India, the Netherlands, Germany Sweden and other international locations. Throughout my travels, it became clear that a lack of control in mobile testing remains an area of concern for many businesses.

Various people I spoke with suggested that a lack of control of enterprise mobile applications has led to many businesses launching apps that are not platform agnostic, or are not sufficiently integrated with their back office systems – directly impacting the customer experience and relationships. It seems that this was mostly due to a lack of specialized knowledge within mobile testing, network testing as well as struggling to get the right tooling or tooling strategy in place.

Our own recent World Quality Report 2012 research suggests that organizations are not giving mobile the priority it deserves, with just 31% of respondents currently test mobile applications, and those surveyed readily admitting to being ill-equipped for mobile testing. Two-thirds of organizations (65%) do not have the right tools to test mobile applications, while 52% say that they do not have access to the required devices. A third of organizations also admit they lack the testing methodologies and processes (34%), and specialist expertise (29%), necessary to certify mobile applications.

In every region that I visited, people that I spoke with told me about businesses creating mobile apps designed to work on only specific devices, operating systems and/or selected networks. They were deliberately limiting development and testing to those chosen fields.  The result – the application doesn’t work on many older devices, OS systems, or over slower networks. Perhaps a unavoidable problem bearing in mind the multitude of mobile devices, systems and networks now available, but businesses must now push harder to solve and overcome this.

During one of my visits I came across an interesting example. A European toy manufacturer wanted to launch a mobile app that would support their toy sales and encourage children to be more creative with the ways in which they play with them, as well as deciding which new toys they might want. But when the business started experimenting with its prototype app, it discovered that many children – the app’s target audience – were using older devices inherited from parents, and so couldn’t use the app at all.

To avoid similar situations, businesses need to change their mobile application testing strategy. The current emphasis on innovation is making businesses focus solely on the latest and greatest platforms, but if their target markets are not using those devices, then they’re completely missing the mark.

Businesses that are serious about delivering the best possible mobile application need access to a shared mobile testing lab, with access to tools that simulate a wide and diverse number of devices, operating systems and networks. They need the capability to know how to operate and work with these various combinations in a cost-efficient, standardized, industrialized environment, in order to ensure that testing can be delivered and integrated in an efficient manner to keep up with the fast pace of mobile development.  After all, the most important aspect of mobile app development is to make sure that these things actually work as intended, and for the people they were built for.

Interested in learning more about the World Quality Report? Why dont you join us at HP Discover in Frankfurt, December 4-6.

Stefan Gerstner will be leading a session on the findings from the World Quality Report 2012- 2013 and what they could mean for business’ testing strategies.

To find out more about his session BB1800: “World Quality Report reveals two thirds of companies are inadequately testing mobile apps”  visit the HP Discover website by clicking here.

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