Mobile apps are everywhere and have become an integral part of every smartphone users’ life. Opportunities in the mobile app industry are getting bigger and better and so are the difficulties and complexities.
— Contus (@contus) November 7, 2014
With more number of opportunities pouring in more contenders are interested and getting involved in the apps business but not everyone emerge as winners. An astonishing fact is that around 80-90% of the apps are deleted after being used once. This figure clearly shows the quality issues which mobile apps are facing due to hardware, software and connectivity related issues.
With a lot of options available end users have become all the more expecting and don’t hesitate to uninstall an app and move on with the next one. The major reason for the dissatisfaction is the poor performance of the app. Delayed response time, poor user interface, crashing etc are those which encourage people from stop using an app.
In order to get your app rid of such performance issues mobile APM (App Performance Monitoring) is of utmost importance. Now let us look into what are the major problems faced by app developers, drawbacks of the existing mobile app monitoring techniques and ways to improvise it.
Device compatibility is a serious issue as there are many mobile device makers in the market. Apart from the widely used mobile operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows 8, there are other OSes such as mobile Firefox OS from Mozilla, Ubuntu etc. This fragmentation of devices and mobile operating systems is a major difficulty which the app developers face.
— Contus (@contus) November 6, 2014
Crash Reporting and User Testing
These are the two most widely known mobile app monitoring techniques which provide developers a view of how and what goes wrong in their apps. Most of the applications crash very rarely contributing 1% of chances for a crash out of 100. So if chances are this much rare why most of the apps get ditched by users. Well, there are a lot happening apart from the crash that encourages an end user to uninstall the app such as poor response time, bugs and so on.
User Testing can be done by deploying a testing team but that doesn’t mean you can get your app 100% error free. Most of the flaws are detected by the end users as they happen to make use of the app in different scenarios. Most of these use cases are something which the development teams could ever imagine. So getting an app tested in all possible use cases and devices is something which will take more time and effort than the development process.
Most of the companies wait for user reviews to perform their bug or flaws fixing operation. App development companies cannot afford to get their apps corrected until they earn bad reviews as it would tarnish their company’s reputation and defame the app. Most of the APM solutions used do not provide a clear view of what are the difficulties faced by the end users. In other words a real time end user analysis is what most of the APM solutions lack.
So, a proper mobile APM is something which doesn’t make the developers wait to get the feedback through customers on app stores or through reviews and ratings. It should provide real-time user information that’ll help a company to offer solutions in real-time to serve the customers better.
Most of the applications have their own backend service which operates using the web for accessing information. In such cases commonly used mobile APM processes deprive developers of getting access to what’s happening at the backstage if an instance takes more than the intended time to respond.
The new APM methodologies can let developers to track the complete travel of the instance from the device to the backend and find the issue’s exact location. The ability to trace an instance throughout its life cycle will help in getting a clear real-time picture of the problem and help in providing a better solution.
Features that a perfect mobile APM tool should have?
Your application’s API may be the one which is having a negative effect on its performance. Choose a mobile APM system that is capable of monitoring all the connection of your app with external services. Mainly it should be able to provide you a clear view of how good the API requests are being processed. For mobile applications which have heavy animation or media contents monitoring of the response time and data transfer is crucial.
HTTP request errors will damage the reputation of your brand and the app as well in no time. When a request is not processed in time, users naturally tend to migrate to another app or at the least ditch the current one. Your APM Solution should be able to track the errors occurring in the HTTP request processing, failures of network and track the error occurring rate. Your APM tool should let you analyze the complete path of the network and locate the errors in order to maintain an optimal performance.
An APM tool that could track down the performance troubles occurring in the carrier and region-wise is the best fit for applications which are distributed over a large geographical area or connecting various locations, like social applications.
By using an APM tool of such kind you can fix the faults by clearly getting to know on which carrier or region the mistake has occurred and how to fix it without affecting the whole distribution network. In core business domain, this type of mobile APM tool will be highly useful for those who host and maintain enterprise applications.
Version analysis is a primary need for application which needs regular updates to keep up with the ever-changing operating systems or those which hold dynamic content. Consumer applications which also need regular upgrades should have a mobile APM tool that will let developers easily compare the versions and find out whether the changes are improving the app’s performance or creating any unwanted hiccups in between, in real-time. This type of real-time version analysis will let users to improve the app’s performance and enhance user experience to a whole new level.
Custom and device-level metrics
Custom metrics are required to assess the performance of applications which have certain functionalities and features that are very unique. For instance applications which are based on wearable technology or connected with a physical object have very unique use cases and functions. In such cases your mobile APM tool should allow you to monitor those functionalities and retrieve useful metrics on its performance. Device level metrics will be useful in checking out the device-specific performance of an application. This will help in making your app adaptable to software, OSes and hardware of different devices and eventually turn it into a versatile one.
Benefits of using an advanced mobile APM tool
Firstly, the problems can be diagnosed by the developers themselves in real-time before the end users could make a report of it. Developers can save time by avoiding trial runs of apps as they can get to know the results and conflicts instantly.
The efforts of internal resources can be smartly utilized. Instead of allotting a dedicated support team for identifying and fixing the issues, companies can easily let them work only at the areas where problems arise.
Apps tested and analyzed through advanced APM tools are sure to offer a better experience for users. Satisfied users result in positive reviews in app stores, word of mouth references and eventually improve the image of your brand. Thus an advanced APM system to tool is sure to fetch you a lot more benefits than you could imagine.