At the start of the 21st century, mobile applications were considered mere extensions of web applications; they offered only a subset of features pertaining to a particular platform. However, the scenario has rapidly changed in no time and enterprises today have realized that the future is mobile. Mobility, for a majority of enterprises, has become a single point of success or failure. This brings about the need to evolve and invest continuously, and systematically, in a robust and future ready mobile strategy.
For mobile application developers, the rules of the game are simple; ensure rich end user experience and introduce new features ahead of competition, at a frequent pace. Adhering to this mantra is where the challenge arises; the onus for success lies completely on a successful Quality Assurance (QA) strategy. Traditional QA methodologies unfortunately tend to fail in the mobility landscape due to various factors due to which organizations need to adapt and transform the way QA is carried out.
What are the current trends in the mobility landscape impacting QA in a major way?
- Volatile Technology Landscape: The need to constantly evolve and adapt
Enterprises focusing on mobile as a major channel of revenue should be ready to brave the following scenarios during their journey:
- Market disruptions such as launch of new platforms
- Frequent introduction of new technologies
- Launch of new devices
- Quick incorporation and introduction of new features
Enterprises should therefore plan in advance for at least one application version release per month; this dramatically increases the number from roughly 4-5 releases annually, to around 10-12 releases per year for an application.
- Customer Experience: No compromise whatsoever
These days, seamless functionality of an application is not enough and there is a need to go a level deeper and explore how a rich "customer experience" can be provided. This has prompted most enterprises to adopt an approach that features platform specific hybrid applications: this allows them to exploit each and every capability or feature the platform has to offer. This in tur has not only resulted in development of an application specific to a platform but also exclusive to every device-the "customer experience" varies for each.
- Hardware interfaces & Devices
Mobile applications are getting more innovative by the day, featuring dramatic growth in functionality and features. Many of these applications have evolved to a level that they require hardware interfaces to function at maximum potential. End users as well are moving away from the concept of having just one device for all needs, towards a connected device environment which provides them with an Omnichannel experience (e.g.: NFC, wearables, low energy Bluetooth headsets etc.) Hence the mobile application should seamlessly integrate with all other .devices in the connected eco-system.
- Frequent version releases and impact on app store ratings
Enterprises, with every new application version update, tend to add new features intending to boost the download count and enhance functionality. They also expect an automatic improvement in app store ratings. Unfortunately though, they fail to take into account the challenges that arise with incorporation of every new feature. The absence of an effective QA strategy in such cases could lead to stagnation of app store ratings or in some cases even a dip, as these features could drastically hinder application performance, souring the organization's brand perception.