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Can You Ever Be Sure How Your App Will Perform When the Customer Uses It?

App performance always differs at the customer end compared to pre-deployment performance testing. This difference in the performance of an app once deployed at the customer end occurs regardless of the amount of testing that has been done before it is deployed live. The discrepancy in testing between in-house testing and live testing is mainly due to the environment in which the app is run at the customer end.

Roadblocks Degrading App Performance

Network and Connectivity

The connectivity characteristics of the endpoint where the customer logs on to the internet play a crucial role in the app’s performance. Low-quality bandwidth, latency, and connectivity infrastructure while connecting to the host can drastically degrade app performance at the customer end, regardless of the platform or quality of code.

Servers, Cloud infrastructure, and Configurations

Apps have to communicate in some way or the other with server-side software and hardware for processing user inputs, results, and so forth. The infrastructure used in the cloud, the configurations of the servers, load balancing, spike handling, and other such system configurations on the server side can severely affect app performance while processing live requests from multiple users.

Database Design, Server, and Client-Side Code

The quality of code, error handling, and optimizations across the entire app architecture play a significant role in the app’s performance in the live environment. Buggy code, memory leaks, and incorrect legacy application upgrades can result in a severe downgrade of app performance after deployment, even as they deliver the desired outcomes in the controlled development and testing environment.

Endpoint System Configuration and Environment

The state of the smartphone or endpoint, its configuration, and its environment should satisfy the minimum system requirements of the app. Regardless of great connectivity, good quality code, and sophisticated hosting in the cloud, if the endpoint is compromised in terms of resources and speed, the app’s performance will be dismal.

Rigorous performance testing needs to be done to be before live deployment to ensure better levels of user experience.

The evolution in IT infrastructures — Today’s IT Infra is fastly shifting from static and foreseeable systems to software-defined infra that alter and reconfigure on runtime, these complicated environment handling requires novel and dynamic technology and techniques. There are three layers of complexity involved in running such dynamic IT environments:

  1. OS and its allocated resources, which are distributed, modular and  transitory.
  2. High volume complex and unstructured Data on internal ops like logs, metrics, 
  3. Tools to monitor/manage the data/ systems. which are increasingly focused on functions, non-interoperable thus creating data and operational silos.

App Performance Testing and Measurement

App performance testing and measurement are different from functional testing. Functional testing is done to ensure that the app has all the functional features that have been included in the functional specification of the application. Contrarily, performance testing is the process of testing the app for its performance, simulating conditions as that of a customer, and monitoring the results.   

Multiple Device Testing

Since the app is going to be used by customers using varied devices, the app needs to be tested across as many types of devices as possible. It is not possible to physically test across all devices, but test simulations using specialized tools can be run to cover various devices, and the app performance can be measured and monitored.

Crash Forensics

There are sophisticated testing tools that can complement the performance testing of an app and keep logs and forensic details as to why the app crashed. With the specific environment and resource information given by these tools, developers can debug, detect and fix errors faster, thus increasing the overall productivity of the application.

Workload Testing

Performance testing based on the workload of an app for both the server side and client side functionally is needed. Workload testing includes simulating conditions where there are a large number of users and spikes in traffic at a given point in time. Testing tools and technologies allow for the simulation of this kind of loading so that the app’s performance is monitored at different workload levels. Using the results and metrics, the developers can tweak the performance.

Web Browser Testing

For browser-based apps, multiple environments and configurations must be simulated while performance testing the web app. Real-time user action monitoring, JScript error handling, Ajax user monitoring, and session usage are just some of the metrics that need to be tested, monitored, and graded for performance. Software tools are available for web browser testing that continuously monitor and manage the app’s performance – hence enhancing the user experience of the same.

Device Performance Testing

Once the minimum system requirements have been satisfied for the app, several device-dependent parameters need to be monitored during the life cycle of app usage. Parameters such as startup time, battery usage, memory consumption, background processes, behavior with other apps, etc., need to be monitored and graded. 

Hardware and OS combinations also need to be included during the performance testing of the app. App performance monitoring tools log these metrics and give a detailed idea of app performance based on the state of the device, which can then be used to plot a path of enhancing the customer experience of the app.

Location-Specific Performance Measurement

App performance can be greatly impacted by connectivity issues influenced by the geographical location of the customer’s device. Synthetic Monitoring tools allow for the performance testing of the app based on cities, branches, and regions. The performance of the system can be monitored with a global view with these tools.

Network and Connectivity

The level of user experience is directly related to network characteristics and connectivity available to the customer when using the app. Inconsistency in proper network connectivity can hamper the application’s performance and degrade the customer experience. Simulating connectivity and network environments to monitor the app’s performance under prevailing conditions is a crucial task in the performance testing checklist. 

Response Time Monitoring

Good customer experience is based on the response time of the app. Once the customer has requested information or queried the system, the response time to get the results is crucial. Performance testing must include transaction time monitoring and metrics that could weed out slow response times. This response time monitoring can be done with the aid and assistance of 3rd party app performance monitoring tools.

Crash Monitoring and Profiling Tools – Getting Closer to the Customer

Optimized app performance on the customer end is crucial for a good user experience. The usage of profiling and analytic tools for testing and debugging is necessary to improve the performance of any app and ensure the desired level of customer experience. The more performance testing is done before live deployment, the more accurate the forecast of app performance at the customer end. But of course, even that will not be completely adequate. You also need to supplement these testing strategies with a robust approach to defining the performance of the application when it’s in the hand of the real users. Real User Monitoring thus becomes an absolutely crucial piece of the puzzle if the end goal is to deliver an outstanding user experience. This strategy should cover the applications as they work on user mobile phones as well as browsers to ensure all scenarios are addressed. The tool employed should be comprehensive, powerful, easy-to-use, and designed to deliver clear insights. That’s the best way to ensure that the rest of the application testing isn’t in vain.

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