Reflections on Mobile Testing at HP Discover

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but everything is going mobile.   At the airport, on the subway, at concerts an d conventions, it seems like everyone is using a mobile device.    There are applications that will help you find your car (in case you forgot), and unlock it (in case you left your keys in your lost car)  At Discover, I shared the stage with Eran Yaniv, CEO Perfecto Mobile, Todd DeCapua, VP of Shunra and Steve Feloney of HP, where we discussed the challenges and opportunities of mobile applications and mobile testing.  I learned a lot.   Here are my top 3:

 

1. Location maters.   Seriously.  I heard so many stories about places where they tested mobile phones by walking in the parking lot, or simulating bandwidth by testing in the elevator!.  Mobile devices operate on shared networks in many different geographies and conditions.   When testing a mobile application, you should attempt to ensure that the application will function in good and bad network conditions, that it will work correctly on different carriers.  Unless you’re ready to have your testers rack up lots of frequent flyer miles in order to test in different locations, you probably need to look at other solutions.

 

2.  Mobile applications can CAUSE performance problems.   No, I didn’t say they experience performance issues, I said CAUSE.   So, the scenario goes like this.  You add a mobile application for an existing system and a few people start using the new mobile application and then the WHOLE system slows down!   How can this be?   Well, think about **bleep** like this – When a regular user connects and makes a request, the whole conversation is fast, fast fast.   And the system is ready for the next request.   But when the mobile user connects it’s not very fast, perhaps very slow.   So, this request takes a long time to finish (imagine waiting in line at the bank or DMV who’s not ready… It makes it slow for everyone else.  The same thing can happen when you add a few mobile users to an existing system. 

 

3.   The pace of change is hard to comprehend.    I learned that in the last year there have been over 500 mobile devices and or platforms introduced.   Imagine how many different combinations of phones, operating systems, and network providers this makes?   I’m not going to do the math… but  the complexity and pace of change in the mobile space makes it very hard to just wing it.  You really need to take mobile seriously, have a strategy and a plan about how to handle the pace of change  and keep up.   If you don’t, you’ll struggle at best.

 

There you have it, my top 3 mobile insights from last week’s Discover.   If you would like to learn more about mobile or performance testing, feel free to add comments here, or contact me.   I expect we’ll be revisiting more about mobile in the very near future.   

 

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