One thing mobile users across markets, countries and continents do have in common is intolerance to poor app and Web site performance. “There is absolutely no loyalty,” says Dignan. “If an app crashes or takes too long to load (between four and eight seconds on average), the user will move on – and even delete the app before they go.” Because there is such fierce competition, there is significant pressure on companies to go live as soon as possible. “The opportunity for mobile is massive, but organisations have to make sure their systems and applications are fully tested – and the errors fixed – before they release. Errors become compounded with each new update and it gets harder to fix each time,” explains Dignan.
A changing landscape
There are clear statistics that show a massive transition from user access via desktop and laptop to mobile devices (including tablet), while the consumption of data has moved significantly from laptop to mobile. Mobile devices are not only used to access apps; they are becoming the platform of choice to access Web sites. This makes Web site testing as important as app testing, as an estimated 63% of users worldwide now use their mobile devices to access Web sites. There is much more likelihood of someone completing their cart on a phone than on a laptop or desktop. In addition, says Dignan, the emergence of responsive Web sites – Web sites that shrink down and respond to the size of the screen – made mobile browsing much easier, while many companies are now releasing apps to augment their Web sites, to provide an interactive user service. Progressive Web applications that look and load like ‘normal’ Web pages, but offer the functionality of an app, are also becoming standard practice.
These shifts are creating massive opportunities in the mobile space, and consequently, a significant explosion in mobile testing, says Fouché, particularly in industries such as fintech, logistics and retail. Automated mobile testing has become an area of specialisation in itself, and mobile testing is no longer a sub-set of testing, but a category in its own right.