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How to Measure Mobile App Performance?

In the digital age, where mobile apps drive most user engagement, enhancing optimum performance is not just crucial—it’s expected. Dive into our guide on mastering the art of mobile app performance testing and staying ahead of the curve.

How to Measure Mobile App Performance?

In today’s tech-driven world, a mobile app’s performance directly impacts users’ experience and, subsequently, brand reputation. Streamlining the flawless operation of mobile apps on diverse devices, operating systems, and network conditions is an art as much as it is a science.

Whether you’re new to mobile app performance testing or a seasoned expert, it’s always beneficial to revisit and update your knowledge.

Let’s delve into the comprehensive steps to enable your app to stand out in a crowded marketplace through the best mobile application performance testing possible.

1. Define Vital Metrics for Mobile Performance Testing

Performance metrics are like signposts, directing our testing efforts in the correct path. Without them, we might stray.

For instance, the time it takes for a mobile application to load impacts the user’s first impression. If your app involves transitions or animations, monitoring the frame rate is essential for enhancing smooth visuals. High CPU usage might exhaust the device’s battery life quickly, and excessive memory consumption can cause slowdowns and potential crashes.

For a practical example, consider an e-commerce mobile app. Users expect fast load times when they access product pages, and a slight delay in this can influence their purchasing decisions. Performance metrics can help to pinpoint such potential bottlenecks.

Click here and keep learning about Performance Testing Metrics.

2. Consider the Vast Array of Mobile Devices and Operating Systems

The mobile device ecosystem is vast and varied, which can introduce challenges when conducting performance testing.

A feature running seamlessly on Android devices might experience glitches on iOS devices due to the distinctions in the underlying hardware or software. For instance, a game might use device-specific features on one platform that are absent or differ on another. Always consider testing on real mobile devices over simulators for a genuine representation of performance.

While simulators can provide insights during early development phases, real devices expose how an app truly performs. This is especially crucial given the variations in mobile operating systems and even within their different versions.

3. Curate Performance Tests Tailored for Various Network Conditions

In a bustling café downtown, network performance might be optimal, but what about a user on a mountain hike with a sporadic internet connection? Network conditions fluctuate greatly based on user location, making it imperative to account for these variations.

For example, consider a streaming app. While users in urban settings with robust 4G or Wi-Fi connections may stream videos seamlessly, those in remote areas might face buffering due to unstable network connections.

It’s essential to simulate varied network conditions during the mobile app testing processes, from congested network traffic scenarios to shifts between Wi-Fi and cellular data, enabling the mobile application to be able to adapt and maintain its core functionalities.

4. Incorporate Automation to Streamline Performance Testing

Given the dynamic nature of apps and their frequent updates, functional testing may not be enough. Automation testing, hence, becomes indispensable in the modern, fast-paced development cycles, providing swift and precise feedback.

Why automate functional testing? To sum it up, automated functional testing brings efficiency, consistency, and scalability to the testing process. It allows for extensive test coverage, minimizes human error, and offers quicker feedback loops during the development process. It also complements other testing methods, like unit testing and regression testing, rather than replacing them.

To illustrate, imagine running regression tests after every update. Automation testing can quickly check if new changes have impacted previously functional features. By integrating continuous integration platforms with automation tools, you can conduct performance tests with consistency, particularly after code revisions, helping in the early identification of performance issues.

Discover how our automation experts worked on developing a scalable mobile app automation framework that enhanced the functionality and performance of PedidosYa’s native apps.

5. Weaving Security Observations into Performance Testing

In the landscape of mobile apps, performance can sometimes overlap with security. As we test how an app behaves under different network conditions or user loads, we might encounter behaviors that raise security questions.

In light of this, Matias Reina, CEO of Abstracta, asserted that, while it is important to ensure cyber security testing at the highest level across all aspects, “it is more relevant to focus on mobile than desktop”, as part of any mobile application testing strategy. You can read this article to keep learning about this topic.

Consider a scenario where an app behaves erratically under a heavy load. Is it merely a performance bottleneck, or could it hint at a potential vulnerability? Observing such behaviors and sharing them with the security team might unveil hidden risks.

While the primary goal remains to enhance the app’s performance across conditions, a vigilant eye for anomalies can serve as an early alert system for security considerations.

Don’t miss this article! Mobile Application Testing Strategy: How to Take The Security of Your Mobile Apps to the Next Level of OWASP. You also can connect with Apptim to immerse yourself efficiently in the OWASP universe and mobile security.

6. Center on Real-World User Scenarios and Enhance the End User Experience

Simulating real-world user scenarios forms the crux of mobile app testing processes. How does the app fare when a user juggles it with other apps? What happens during an unexpected interruption, like an incoming call?

For instance, in a communication app, if a user switches to another app to check a message and then returns, they’d expect the call to continue seamlessly. Also, when multiple users, say in a multiplayer game, access the app concurrently, it’s vital to simulate this to find potential lags or disconnects.

It’s not just about speed but the entire user journey, enhancing all features to be consistently accessible and functional across various devices.

7. Regularly Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as a roadmap, shedding light on the efficiency and user-centricity of your app.

For instance, response time is crucial for interactive apps where users expect immediate feedback. If a fitness tracking app takes too long to display heart rate readings after a workout, users might get frustrated. Monitoring such KPIs helps in enhancing the mobile application’s effectiveness.

What is Observability and How is it Relevant to Software Testing? Find out here.

8. Embracing Accessibility Alongside Mobile App Performance Testing

Performance testing aims to optimize our app’s responsiveness and efficiency, but what about its accessibility? As we work to improve speed and stability, it’s equally essential to enable our app to be usable by everyone.

Imagine an e-commerce app: while it’s crucial that product images load quickly, it’s equally important that screen readers can interpret these images for visually impaired users. Integrating accessibility checks alongside performance testing provides a universally optimal user experience.

Don’t miss this article! 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Accessible Mobile UI Design.

9. Emphasize Load and Stress Testing

Understanding how your app behaves under varied loads is pivotal. Stress testing helps to identify how the mobile app responds to sudden spikes in traffic, while load testing examines its behavior under consistent, expected user loads.

Picture a flash sale scenario. A shopping app might face an overwhelming amount of simultaneous users. Stress testing under such circumstances helps identify and rectify potential performance issues before they manifest in a live environment.

We invite you to read this article to know the most common types of performance tests, with an explanation of the differences between them.

10. Understand the Importance of Testing Environment Consistency

Maintaining a consistent testing environment is crucial to produce reliable results. Without consistency, it’s challenging to determine whether performance changes are due to code alterations or environmental fluctuations.

Consider an example: A social media app is tested in one environment with a certain set of network conditions and then in another with different network conditions. Inconsistencies might lead to misleading results about the app’s performance.

It’s beneficial to have dedicated performance testing tools and infrastructure, making sure tests are executed in the same conditions. This will help to isolate performance issues more accurately.

Get to know our TOP 10 Best Mobile Performance Testing Tools!

11. Implement Parallel Testing for Comprehensive Coverage

Parallel testing allows multiple tests to run simultaneously, usually on different devices and operating systems. In today’s tech world, where rapid feedback is paramount, parallel tests streamline the testing process, making it faster and more efficient.

For example, when updating a mobile browser-based application, developers might need to verify its functionality on both Android and iOS devices. Parallel tests expedite this process, verifying app performance concurrently on different devices, and ensuring no device or operating system-specific glitches arise.

We invite you to read this article to keep learning about Mobile Application Performance Testing.

12. Continuous Feedback and Iteration with the Development Team

Performance testing isn’t a one-off task. It’s a cyclical process where feedback from one cycle enhances the next. As testers identify performance issues, they need to collaborate closely with the development team to rectify them.

Take, for example, a scenario where a tester identifies high CPU usage in a specific app feature. This feedback, when communicated promptly to the development team, can lead to optimizations that enhance the overall app performance.

Moreover, performance metrics such as response time can be continuously monitored and fine-tuned to enable a seamless user experience. Such collaborative efforts between testers and developers are the cornerstone of building and maintaining high-quality mobile apps.

How to Integrate Mobile Performace Validations in a CI/CD Pipeline? Check it just here.

In a Nutshell

Testing the performance of mobile applications is no small feat in today’s tech-driven landscape. As user expectations rise, so does the need to enable our apps to be able to withstand the pressures of real-world usage.

By following these steps and continuously refining our testing strategies, we can provide users with a seamless, responsive, and enjoyable mobile experience. After all, in the world of mobile apps, performance isn’t just a metric; it’s a promise to our users.

If you are interested in the future of the future of mobile applications, don’t miss this episode of the Quality Sense Podcast, with our host and COO, Federico Toledo, and our guest, Eran Kisnbruner, DevOps Chief Evangelist for Perfecto.

Remember, these steps represent a holistic approach to mobile app performance testing. But as with any process, it’s crucial to tailor it to the specifics of your app, your target audience, and the unique challenges you face.

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