Software Testing Is More Important Than Ever. Here’s Why.
When Apple launched its answer to Google Maps in 2012, it was met with derision from both the tech press and consumers. Simple address searches would elicit wildly different results and strange defects in the much-hyped ‘Flyover’ feature resulted in missing buildings and bridges that appeared to have suffered some kind of catastrophic collapse.
It was, without doubt, a disaster for a company that had been riding high on the crest of the iPhone wave since 2007.
Eddy Cue, an Apple VP who is now in charge of Maps, recently gave an interview where he delivered a refreshingly honest take on what happened back in 2012. There were apparently only “dozens of people” that had been tasked with working on the app and, most tellingly of all, Cue revealed that it is the sole reason they now offer a public beta test for the iOS mobile operating system.
“The reason you as a customer are going to be able to test iOS is because of Maps,” Cue told Fast Company.
Despite their colossal bank balance, Apple’s Maps failure is indicative of a changing tech landscape. Computers are everywhere, whether they be in the form of iPhones, laptops, traditional desktop PCs or tablets. The Windows PC realm in particular features a whole raft of different hardware configurations put together by both manufacturers and DIY enthusiasts.
Developing software for such a market is therefore incredibly tricky and, without the right testing regime in place, checking for as many potential failure points as possible before public release is challenging.
With development teams shrinking and startups unable to draw from significant budgets, software testing is often dealt a rather poor hand. At worst, it is a process which is left entirely to those creating the software and, as any developer will tell you, the worst possible person to test an app is the one behind the code.
It isn’t possible to spot every potential software bug or predict every user quirk, but a proper testing regime is absolutely vital if an app is to survive in what is now a very crowded marketplace.
Here are 4 quick-fire reasons software testing is absolutely essential.
1. Satisfies A More Tech Literate Audience
Rewind ten years and the word ‘app’ didn’t form part of the common vocabulary. Computer software was something that was used in the office or by techies in their bedrooms.
Now, apps are everywhere. As a result of their prevalence within society, the public at large is far more tech literate. That means they’ll spot software bugs or inconsistencies in user interface design far quicker than before, so it’s vital you get there before they do.
2. Ensures The Original Concept Was Right
Not every blueprint for a piece of software is right. Quite often, its failings – no matter how small – can only be discovered during software testing, and it’s far better to make the discovery at that point than when it lands into the hands of the user.
3. Users Will Do That
Software testing can, at times, seem a silly endeavour. Surely a user wouldn’t click on that tick box followed by that button. Would they?
Someone will. A big part of software testing is allowing for any quirky users who are likely to push the software beyond the intended workflow.
4. Your Reputation Is At Stake
Imagine a car leaving the factory minus an essential part that results in it stalling when it reaches 30 MPH. The company behind the vehicle would be ridiculed and find it near impossible to recover.
The same goes for software; if it heads out of the door in a poor state, word will spread quickly, and in the world of consumer-led opinion and review websites, that’s the last thing any business needs.
If an app fails to deliver, or contains bugs that get in the way of an enjoyable experience, consumers can now move on very quickly. An app store is never more than a finger tap away, and if your labour of love doesn’t make the grade in the eyes of the user, they’ll simply move onto the next app in the search results.
Software testing is perhaps more important than it has ever been before. Don’t leave the success of your app to chance.