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Millions are invested in a business application. The website is rolled out. Mobile apps are downloaded from the app store. But all this effort, and all this expense, will be for naught unless the end user experience is acceptable. That is where mobile performance testing comes in.
Understanding the different types of performance tests, and the importance of measuring not just the performance at the network level but also measuring the end user experience when the system is under load is vitally important. This blog will examine mobile performance testing at every angle and discuss why integrating system monitoring information in performance charts to understand all aspects of the app’s performance is a key to a successful app.
An interesting approach to illustrating why mobile performance testing is important is to look at examples of when it was not used and the resulting repercussions of not using it. For example:
1996 — FoxMeyer Drugs went bankrupt due to a failure to conduct performance testing of their new ERP system; a company with $5 billion in annual sales suddenly disappeared due to lack of performance testing.
2010 — When Facebook rolled out the “Like” button, overwhelming traffic caused their servers to fail.
2013 — The original rollout of HealthCare.gov experienced site failures almost immediately upon release.
2014 — Customers of Lloyds and TSB were unable to withdraw money or use their cards for more than three hours.
2018 — The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, and Ulster Bank experienced a disruption that prevented users from accessing their online and mobile accounts for more than five hours.
As you can see, the importance of mobile performance testing lies in what happens when you do not do it. The quickest way to lose a customer is to provide a user experience that leaves them feeling frustrated. If these companies had leveraged performance testing at the outset of their projects, these catastrophic pitfalls would have been avoided.
Traditionally, mobile performance testing was conducted when the components were done. So, naturally, this created problems within the development team when issues inevitably arose. Team members tended to blame each other for the errors in the code. Ultimately, when performance testing was conducted in this manner, more often than not the issues that arose were not solved yet the product was released anyway.
Now, as teams have moved away from that approach, performance testing should be undertaken with a few considerations in mind:
When in the development cycle should performance testing be used.
Who should be doing it (hint: it does not always need to be the testing experts).
Where outside the user interface layer should be tested.
What data is needed to successfully conduct performance testing.
Mobile application development is quickly outpacing the demands for web application development, which thrusts it to the forefront of the minds of developers. That means conducting successful mobile performance testing is equally important. To do so, here are the key steps of a winning mobile performance testing strategy:
Determine whether you will be testing the mobile gateway or the mobile app. For testing the mobile gateway, you must define its capacity and how many mobile devices it can handle simultaneously. For testing the mobile app, you should know how it behaves when the mobile gateway is slow and if the performance varies depending on the device type.
If the mobile gateway is not fully operational for mobile app testing, you can use mock services to fill in those gaps.
Simulate the traffic generated by both web users and mobile apps. By using a tool like BlazeMeter to simulate web users and Perfecto to simulate mobile, you can begin to understand how your application can hold up under the strain of overwhelming traffic depending on the source.
When your performance testing has concluded, you will have both server and mobile performance data to review. You will be able to see how each function operates under a defined number of users and the time it took to perform that function.
Mobile performance testing is critical to the success of an applications rollout. Without it, your app could crash and burn before it even gets off the ground. Proper mobile performance testing should be conducted at every level of the development process and employ an intentional focus on proper test data.
Use system monitoring metrics to diagnose the cause of any performance issues as they arise throughout your testing. Luckily, using Perfecto and BlazeMeter together handles all aspects of mobile performance testing than any other platform in the industry.
Do not just take our word for it — see how Perfecto and BlazeMeter can help you release a high-quality app with mobile performance testing with a custom demo!