My App is Already Released – is it Too Late For Crowdsourced Testing?
The app marketplace is a competitive one. Statista reports as of March 2017, Android users could choose from 2.8 million apps, while Apple users could choose from 2.2 million.
To meet consumer demand and keep up with the competition, many developers rush to release and forego proper testing. While this does accelerate the time to market, it can also create app vulnerabilities.
According to a 2015 study by the Ponemon Institute, “65 per cent of respondents say the security of mobile apps is sometimes put at risk because of customer demand or need.”
Besides security risks, this can also create issues with usability and functionality for a diminished user experience.
Whether you forewent testing due to a rush to release or any other reason, it can put you in a precarious position. The three core elements of your app – security, usability and functionality – may be compromised. It’s not a good situation, and you may be seeking app testing post-deployment.
This begs the question. Is it too late for crowdsourced testing if your app has already been released?
It’s never too late for testing
The short answer is no. You can still utilise crowd testing post-development once your app is already live. In fact, the Ponemon Institute points out, “Mobile apps are rarely tested in production. Most often they are tested in development or post-development.”
While this isn’t necessarily the ideal route to take, it’s definitely feasible.
It’s important to point out that performing testing prior to launch tends to be more effective because you can identify flaws and vulnerabilities before actual users do. You can ensure a more fluid, streamlined and intuitive user experience.
This is especially critical from a security standpoint because registered ethical hackers can provide intelligence on susceptible areas that are prone to malicious attacks. In turn, you can address those issues and tighten security prior to deployment. This ultimately equips your app for success right out of the gate.
Nonetheless, crowd testing can still be performed even when your app is live and uses the same strategies and techniques that it would pre-release.
When it might make sense to test post-deployment
A common concern among developers is maintaining the confidentiality of their app. This concern is heightened when there’s proprietary information on the line. You obviously don’t want sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
Although serious measures are taken to ensure the utmost confidentiality (e.g. testers are screened and required to sign NDA agreements), it’s understandable that some developers are still a little wary. In this type of situation, it may actually make more sense to wait until your app is already live before performing testing.
This is also beneficial because it enables you to crowd test with a broader pool of testers who haven’t signed NDAs. In turn, you can subject your app to more rigorous testing and often expedite the process.
Regardless of the stage in which you decide to crowd test, know that confidentiality is a top priority. Here are some specific ways that sensitive information is safeguarded:
- Full-time staff are required to sign formal confidentiality agreements, which cover all of your testing projects
- Freelance testers must agree to keep all client information confidential
- You’re allowed to specify that all freelance testers have signed an NDA and have had their identity checked
- Information about your project is only shared with the testers who will specifically test your project as opposed to the broader crowd testing community
What does the process involve?
Let’s say that your app is already live but you’re interested in crowdsourced testing. You’re probably wondering what type of methodology is used and what you can expect if you choose for your app to undergo testing.
Here’s a brief overview of what’s involved:
1. Sign up and provide the briefing
First, you sign up and provide some basic information regarding your app, your company and what your expectations are. Next, you’ll need to fill out an online Requirements Questionnaire, which discusses some of the key elements of your project (e.g. project description, device requirements, demographic requirements, etc.).
2. Approve your customer requirement document
This information is passed along to a Delivery Manager and Test Manager who will create a Customer Requirement document. You’ll then read over the document to ensure that the proposed testing process meets your requirements and covers all of the bases.
3. Let the testing start
At this point, crowd testing will commence and a team of testers will analyse your app. They will look for flaws, glitches, vulnerabilities and so on. You’ll also be able to track the testing process in real-time.
4. Check your report with results
Finally, you’ll receive detailed reporting on the results. This will provide you with all of the information you need concerning your app’s defects. You’ll know precisely which issues need to be resolved and receive recommendations on how to do so.
In terms of duration, a test cycle typically ranges anywhere from three to six days. The length is contingent upon the specific testing package you choose and how comprehensive you want it to be.
For instance, a starter package, which only involves up to seven testers takes a maximum of three days. However, an extensive package, which involves up to 40 testers can take up to six days. No matter how exhaustive the crowd testing, it still greatly exceeds most forms of traditional testing.
As previously mentioned, there are three primary areas that are addressed during testing. The first is security.
This is extremely important considering the number of cyber attacks is on the rise. Expanded Ramblings reports, “51 per cent of U.S. adults suffered some type of security incident between December 1, 2015 and December 1, 2016.” They also the global cost of cyber attacks annually is $400 billion.
Security testing is essential for mitigating risks as well as for protecting your reputation. It lets you know how vulnerable your app is to malicious attacks and resolves problem areas before hackers can launch an attack. In turn, this helps prevent common threats such as denial of service, data theft and network trespassing.
Next, there’s usability. One of the most critical features of a great app is it being comfortable for your users. It needs to “feel right.” You want to ensure that you’re providing a solid interface with an intuitive layout, simple navigation and so on.
There’s also the issue of speed. It needs to load quickly, and users should be able to access content with ease. Usability testing covers a wide range of factors and generates reports on how your app fares. After completion, you can expect to attract, acquire and retain more customers.
Finally, there’s functionality. This involves a quality assurance process that examines your app’s core functions such as inputting text and analysing menu and shopping cart performance. Functionality testing ensures that the nuts and bolts of your app are up to par and will meet user expectations.
It’s better late than never
In an ideal scenario, every development team would have their app undergo comprehensive crowd testing prior to launch. Even the minutest of issues would be brought to light and every defect resolved.
However, this just isn’t realistic. There are several reasons why developers may not have the chance to crowd test an app pre-deployment. Rush to launch, budgetary restrictions or concerns over protecting proprietary information are just a few possibilities.
What’s important is that crowdsourced testing is ultimately completed. In other words, it’s better late than never.
When you consider the number of vulnerabilities that plague many apps, it’s clear that testing is a good idea regardless of the phase your app is in. The 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report discovered that the median number of vulnerabilities in the average app was 20 that year. This was more than triple the median number in 2013, which was only six vulnerabilities.
The Trustwave Global Security Report says the median number of vulnerabilities in the average app more than tripled from 2013 to 2015.
Looking at this data shows just how critical testing can be.
The big picture
When it comes to the quality of your app, you want to do everything within your power to deliver the best possible user experience. Not only is this important for remaining competitive in your industry, it’s necessary from a long-term brand equity standpoint.
Loyalty only goes so far, and it’s quite common for app users to jump ship to another brand/vendor who’s able to offer a better and safer user experience. By investing in crowd testing – even if it’s post-deployment, you’re upholding rigorous quality standards.
This can make a huge difference in the long run, and you can be confident that your app is secure and highly functional.
No deadline for crowdsourced testing
As mentioned earlier, testing an app before it goes to market is ideal in most cases. This allows developers to spot pitfalls before they become major problems.
However, this isn’t the path that you have to take. You’re by no means limited to crowd testing pre-launch, so you shouldn’t be discouraged from having this process completed even if your app is already live. A provider will work with you to assess your specific needs and ensure that all of the necessary areas are addressed.
The important thing is that you take the time to have your app tested regardless of the phase it’s in. This is essential for optimal security, usability and functionality.
Why take risks when you can test your app for 50-70% less than traditional testing?