AQuA's top 10 app fails: How many do you test for?

Following the launch of the Quality App Directory in October, the App Quality Alliance (AQuA) has released a list of the top ten failures they’ve encountered in apps.

AQuA, a not-for-profit trade association, is run and funded by its members, including AT&T, Orange, Oracle, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Mobile and LG.

It has drawn on the experience of these members, building up a set of best practice guidelines for producing quality apps, and provides sets of platform-specific testing criteria to back them up.

Inclusion in the Quality App Directory is free, but is dependent on app meeting minimum standards; the app must have gone through and passed a good QA process.

AQuA best practice guidelines and the test criteria give developers a pre-defined set of tests that complement the functional testing every good developer performs as they go along. 

In essence it defines the non-functional tests that many developers might not think to carry out, but things that real users do…like taking the memory card out of a phone whilst using the app, or receiving a phone call in the middle of watching a video…

AQuA has been involved in helping to improve the quality of apps for years, and has uncovered ten most common glaring errors that developers often fail to test for.

  1. User interface inconsistency; make sure menu options, button labels, ‘soft keys’, menus etc are consistent and clear
  2. Lack of clarity of graphics and text; make sure that all the text is readable, clear and not cut off by the edged of the screen or overlapping other screen items
  3. App browsing confusion; although the navigation through the app is obvious if you’ve been working on it for weeks or months, not everyone else may find it so clear
  4. Language inconsistency and spelling errors; if you support multiple languages, make sure that it is consistent and you don’t have the odd label in English hidden away… And use a spell checker
  5. Privacy policy omission; you must always have a privacy policy in the app, this is getting a real hot topic now.
  6. Hidden features; doing stuff behind the scenes without letting the user know will never win you any favours, even if your intentions are good
  7. App crashing; you would be surprised how may apps can be made to crash when even some simple things happen on the device, memory cards, attachments, keyboards are common causes.
  8. Help is not there; whilst it is obvious to some, other people like to read help information and so providing help is a must
  9. Network connection: lack of notification; again, so many people don’t test the phone dropping out of coverage.  If you miss it and the app dies when the connection drops, the user ends up re-booting their device.  With new networks and more handovers between technologies this is going to be a new hot topic
  10. Screen orientation distortion; surely everyone check this one? No sadly not.  Distorted images when changing from portrait to landscape and vice-versa still manages to hit our top ten simple errors that let apps down.

To find out more about getting your app included in the App Quality Directory, visit: http://www.qualityappdirectory.org/

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