Identify bugs, fix glitches and improve your mobile app with a little spring cleaning

By Jonathan Crowl

There's no better time than spring to identify bugs in your mobile app.
IBM

Mobile app maintenance is a year-round job. In addition to operating system (OS) updates, new integrations and the inevitable development of glitches over time, developers also have to continually upgrade their mobile products if they want to meet the rising demands of their user bases.

Enterprise organizations want to identify bugs as soon as humanly possible, correcting these errors before brand damage is done on the consumer side. According to the Ponemon Institute’s “The Aftermath of a Mega Data Breach: Consumer Sentiment,” data breaches are up there with poor customer service and environmental disasters for impacting brand reputation. Though some of this maintenance is performed in response to new variables and changes, it’s also possible for development teams to take a preventative approach through periodic audits, updates and fixing glitches.

Spring is as good a season as any to make time for these tasks. Think of it as spring cleaning for your enterprise mobile app. Here are some simple steps to help you debug your app:

Stay on top of OS updates

When an OS gets an update, software developers have two options: update in response, or avoid making any changes. Updating your OS regularly brings a much higher cost, but it lets you quickly benefit from various OS improvements. This means fewer glitches and a better user experience.

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An OS update is also a natural opportunity to make these changes. You can use the update as justification for folding in several new updates that might expand features or address clunky aspects of the user interface. Plus, app changes coming after an OS update can take advantage of new efficiencies created by the update itself, or simply reap the benefits of a more stable platform that is less likely to lead to app crashes or other malfunctions.

Deploy testing for integrations and new devices

Spring is also a time when some mobile device manufacturers release their new products. According to Boston Technology, these devices can create new bugs and glitches to fix, since they feature new moving parts, different hardware and varying screen sizes an enterprise mobile app is now forced to accommodate. Glitches or defects in the mobile app experience aren’t necessarily the fault of developers, since the apps weren’t designed for these new devices.

Even so, brands will get blamed by their users for apps that suffer from glitches or unexpected crashes. When new devices, or even new integrated apps and pieces of software are added into the mix, developers should waste no time in testing for possible glitches. The sooner you can identify bugs and solve the problem, the less adverse brand exposure you will have to worry about.

Solicit user feedback

Feedback is always vital to the sustained success of an app. Even after beta testing and the onslaught of feedback from a live release, it’s important to continually gather information from real-life users to get a better sense of the strengths and weaknesses of your app. Regardless of whether you’ve recently released a new version of your app, it’s worth reaching out to gather simple information from your active users. This can be through an online survey or a quick form filled out within the app, and it can help you identify bugs as well as simply uncover the more disappointing aspects of your app’s user experience.

Prioritize your fixes

A thorough spring cleaning of your app will probably leave you with a number of fixes, updates and improvements to be made. An important part of successfully navigating this process is prioritizing your fixes. Figure out which bugs and defects are most problematic or pose the greatest risk to your brand, and make these a priority. Smaller glitches affecting a minor percentage of your active users can be put off until more pressing matters have been resolved.

Time and resource management is always a challenge for development teams, and the work of debugging and polishing mobile apps must be balanced with other obligations. Building app housekeeping into your schedule will make it more likely your development team gives the enterprise app the attention it deserves.