Key Considerations for Mobile Testing Today: An Interview with Genefa Murphy

[interview]
Summary:

In this interview, Genefa Murphy talks about how to test a mobile app in a real-world environment, how much of your testing should be automated in a given project, and the differences between hybrid and native apps in the world of testing.

Josiah Renaudin: Today I am joined by Genefa Murphy, the VP of product and partner marketing at HP Software. We'll be discussing the key considerations for mobile testing today. Genefa, thank you very much for joining us.

Genefa Murphy: Excellent. Glad to be here.

Josiah Renaudin: That's great. First, could you just tell us a bit about your experience in the industry?

Genefa Murphy: Definitely. I've been in the software industry probably for about the past ten years now. Worked on various different activities, everything from doing traditional IT, like SAP upgrades, all the way through to now focusing on things like mobile, Internet of Things, and also looking at the full application lifecycle management. I've covered everything from strategy to product management to product marketing, and it's definitely one of those interesting, exciting industries that you can just keep on evolving every time. There's always something that can surprise you with software.

Josiah Renaudin: Let's start with a broader question. How can extensively testing mobile apps increase revenue, customer loyalty, and brand image?

Genefa Murphy: Definitely. I think the important thing to think about here is we've seen a resurgence in the past few years around the value of user experience and what credibility people put around user experience. Some examples of this, if you look at the examples that people always quote. People like, companies like Uber. Uber has a ... is expected to have an annual revenue run rate of $10 billion by the end of 2015, according to Business Insider. That's a huge number.

How do you access Uber? You access it from your mobile phone. There are so many companies out there. Uber's just one example of them, where their primary revenue stream, their primary interaction point with the customer, is via a mobile application. I think the reason why is because we live in a society now where everybody's on the go, everybody's moving. The mobile device, whether that be a tablet or a smartphone, that's the primary way often in which people often interact with the vendors that provide them services.

Josiah Renaudin: You mentioned Uber a little bit ago. No one could have imagined how big Uber got and be able to test that load, that pressure, with all the people accessing that app. How can you test a mobile app's real-world performance and not just how it reacts in a more controlled environment?

Genefa Murphy: Definitely. There are a few different pieces to it. Of course, with mobile, you have to test the three core pillars that we talk about. You have to test the functionality, you have to test the performance, and you have to test the security of the application. The other element that mobile brings into the piece is network. When we're working on Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G environments, networks introduce a lot of different variables that often people don't account for—things like jitter, or noise on the network.

One of the key things that I've definitely seen with customers, if you want to be successful in testing the real app's performance, it's not just looking at the core fundamentals, but also looking at network conditions and the context of how that user is going to use your mobile application. We're not always going to be connected to a super-fast 4G environment. There's going to be times where we're on the go, and maybe we're moving between different types of connectivity. Being able to simulate or virtualize those network conditions in the testing side of the house, before you go to production, that's the real key to making sure you're testing the full context of the app.

Josiah Renaudin: In virtualization and testing in real-world environments, that's an issue that has to be dealt with in a lot of different platforms. What are some of the unique challenges brought about just through mobile?

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