How Testers Can Use Social Media to Improve Mobile Apps
Most software products have to worry about customer feedback and user acceptance. The history of software is littered with projects and companies that failed, as evidenced in their customer feedback databases. However, mobile apps have blossomed into a new time of rapid user feedback due to the prominent use of social media.
App sites have user feedback postings. Users or customers post negative and positive feedback in the app store. Then there are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all the other places where people post their opinions, likes, and dislikes.
Apps can explode on social media in either a good way or a bad way. In a good case, apps like Angry Birds and Candy Crush take off due to positive reviews and become the “must-have” app. In the bad case, poor reviews dominate and people decide not to download the app, or they load the app with a negative opinion, which is soon confirmed, and they delete the app.
How does a tester leverage both of these scenarios?
To make the good case happen, we need to provide the project with any information that could be helpful. Functional verification checks are necessary as a start but by themselves are not sufficient. Testers also must determine what nonfunctional elements of an app form factors equating to success and risk.
Testing nonfunctional aspects is much harder than testing functional aspects. We know we cannot test everything, so testers must use strategies such as risk-based, math-driven, and experience-based exploratory testing supported by test attacks to efficiently provide information to the project team at the earliest times possible. Early testing is important for mobile apps because most teams are using agile or DevOps lifecycles and testers must work within the project’s lifecycle.
Though it may not seem like it, the bad case of social media exposure provides useful information for the tester also. Once an app is deployed, the tester can use social media feedback to improve his testing. I use social media to build error taxonomies that I then use to refine my exploratory test attacks. Using social media feedback is an ongoing task for me, both on projects and as a career-building activity. I come to understand my users and customers better, and I view one of my jobs as a tester as representing the user or customer, at least as a surrogate.
There are many ways to bolster your testing, but using social media to improve your test strategies should not be overlooked as a viable and valuable tactic.
Jon is presenting the session Test Attack Patterns for Embedded, Mobile, and Internet of Things at the Mobile Dev + Test conference.