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Don’t Skip the Most Important Step in Mobile App Development

12th May 2014

IT leaders across most industries prioritize mobility for both workforce and consumers. Implementing successful mobile app development is challenging, involving performance and quality optimization on top of development of app functionality. Slow, bug-riddled apps negatively affect return on investment and can harm a company’s reputation too.

Great mobility solutions boost ROI and brand reputation.

Sure, there’s a “cool factor” to many great apps, but users mostly want them to work properly. Mobile app development begins with knowing your target audience through usability studies and group testing so you can define your objectives clearly. The “backend” of mobile app development has to be tailored to users’ particular needs. Apps may look simple, and they may be designed to do simple things, but there’s plenty of complexity within its supporting infrastructure. Support for your app, including performance monitoring, tuning, and bug fixes are also critical to successful mobile app development.

What Users Expect from Their Apps

From 2011 to 2012, the average mobile user went from having 32 apps on their mobile device to having 41, according to Nielsen. An overwhelming majority of smartphone users (85%) prefer mobile apps over mobile websites because they’re more convenient, faster, and easier to browse, and app users don’t put up with problems. Seventy-nine percent of app users in a Compuware survey reported they would only give an app one or two more chances if it didn’t work on the first try. Only 16% said they would give an app more than two attempts.

The most common performance issues annoying app users are crashing, lagging, and sluggish load times, and these factors account for around half of all poor reviews on app stores. Appfigures analyzed 25 million English-language app reviews and found that in one-star reviews, the most frequently used words (“work,” “time,” “fix”) referred to poor performance. By contrast, five-star reviews tended to focus on user experience, with descriptors like “easy,” “great,” and “fun.”

The Critical Factor in Mobile App Development You Shouldn’t Neglect
Successful app development hinges on thorough and proper testing.

Getting those four- and five-star reviews right out of the gate can determine whether your app soars or sinks into oblivion, and if you want the best shot at great reviews, you cannot ignore app testing. Thorough functionality testing should be a priority from the very beginning of mobile app development. But functionality testing is just the beginning. Developers should also examine things like audio and video playback, script and library compatibility, and calculations performed by the app.

Mobile app development testing should include provision by your app developer of diagnostic logs including crash reports, CPU usage, and power consumption. Users expect their apps to work correctly, quickly, and consistently, starting from the first use, and to please users, you need to test every component of your app that helps the user achieve any type of result, from calculations to the display of content.

Testing User Interface and Usability

User interface and usability are critical to successful mobile app development, and that means you have to thoroughly test app navigation, help features, cross-browser compatibility, error messages, and general program layout. A quality front-end experience for users is the key to getting those great reviews that keep your app high on the list of popular downloads.

Your mobile app development team has to test their programs under the conditions that users actually experience. Does your app developer have a mobile app testing platform that gives them realistic test environments, real-time analytics, and the data they need to not only solve problems, but make use of the app a hassle-free experience? They should.

The Difference a Star Can Make

App store ranking has an exponential correlation with sales, accounted for by recommendations from one user to another and from coverage on app review sites. Conversely, an increase in app performance problems and response times correlates to a drop-off in user adoption. With app store reviews, an app with a 4.5-star review will be downloaded nearly four times more than an app with a 3.5-star review. Only comprehensive testing of functionality and user experience can reliably make the difference in how well an app is appreciated by users.


Squareball Studios (SBS), is a creative, design, and development agency of mobile applications and software systems. SBS has helped develop solutions for Fortune 500 companies and partnering with startups on initial ideas and seeing them succeed.

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