Failure to launch: Why most mobile apps fail

There’s nothing more frustrating than a mobile app that continually crashes, hangs or freezes. Slow performance (or in some cases, no performance) is the number one reason why users abandon a mobile app.

Here’s the proof: A recent study found that 79% of users said they would retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Only 16% said they would give it more than two attempts. And data from Applause (a mobile app analytics tool) shows that reviews with the word “crash” are roughly 8X more likely to be 1 or 2 stars than the average review.

How can such a critical step be overlooked in the QA process? Two reasons:

1. Not testing on real devices: Emulators and simulators are great for checking certain features and functionalities, but they generally lousy at simulating installations. Mainly, because there are a lot of variables that aren’t accounted for, such as battery life, connection type (4G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi) and strength (# of bars). There are also a lot of device specific bugs in this regard, particularly that of the Android operating system.

2. Not testing with real users: Mobile apps sometimes require users to complete several (unnecessary) steps. This can lead to users getting confused and selecting the wrong options, or getting frustrated and abandoning the app entirely. Again, emulators and simulators rarely get confused (and they certainly never give bad app store reviews).

Most apps don’t have the luxury of unconditional user loyalty. That is to say that most apps have a close competitor that users will go to if their app doesn’t work. Keep this in mind at all times.

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