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4 tips to stop zombie apps rise

How can a tester help the application be really effective and not turn into a “zombie”?
14 October 2015
Mobile app testing
The article by Pavel Novik
Head of testing department at a1qa

Most people believe that mobile application tester’s work is rewarding and easy. Nevertheless, all mobile testers do face difficult tasks and challenges. This fact gives reason to state that mobile testing is not as simple as it might seem at first glance.

Zombie apps

Mobile testers always need to be aware of the latest trends in mobile applications. There is a list of applications (such as Facebook, YouTube, Facebook Messenger, Google Play, etc.) that have become the sample in their field. They set up standards of application design and functioning. Along with top applications it is worth mentioning so-called “zombie applications”.

The applications that are available on the store and have hardly any downloads are called “zombie apps”. In short, it is all the useless programs that are collected in application store and prevent new applications from reaching the top. At the moment, 84% of apps in Apple’s App Store are considered to be lifeless. The question is: how can a tester help the application be really effective and not turn into a “zombie”?

Tip 1. Efficient onboarding

In the mobile apps sphere onboarding is a set of instructions for new users, including hints, wizards, context help, etc. Modern users have neither time nor desire to read large and complicated manuals. They want to download an app and use it straightway. If you want the users to run the application, it’s necessary to organize mobile onboarding properly. The most common mistake is to write a lot of instructions at the very beginning. Think of yourself running the application for the first time. If you see a huge instruction, you a looking for the Skip all or Next button, don’t you?

There are some rules of efficient onboarding:

  1. presenting only the real benefits that users can obtain from the application;
  2. showing the process of work instead of describing it in plain text;
  3. giving step-by-step instructions.

Tip 2. Plain notifications

Notifications are also noteworthy. If the application requires special settings, including an access to your camera, microphone or information about the location, the absence of the access makes it worthless. Notifications should have the following characteristics:

  • clear to all users statements;
  • user-friendly manner;
  • behavior based text.

Tip 3. Timely feedback request

Feedback is very important for developers of mobile applications for several reasons. Firstly, it is one of the most significant elements in the applications promotion. Secondly, it is one of the best ways to find out application drawbacks.

Statistics say that only 5% of users leave feedback. The application rating directly depends on how and when the application requests the feedback. There are several ways to ask for feedback.

  1. The most common and risky way is a dialogue or splash screen. Although it is one of the most effective ways, since users can’t but see, it usually leads to an app disruption.
  2. Another popular but less effective method is a request for feedback via a banner, hyperlink, or notification. It does not lead to a disruption, but at the same time users are likely to ignore it.
  3. The last option is to place the request in the application settings. It does not affect the application, but users will hardly leave a feedback using it.

The time when the request for a feedback appears is equally important. Let the user gain benefit from the application ant then call for a feedback. A good example is to ask users whether they like the app first. If the answer is “yes”, then a request should be displayed.

Tip 4. Well-structured login form

A crucial part of many applications is a login form. If the application has the opportunity to use a login through social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter or Google), then it will be a great way to prevent users from the login failures.

Quite common and annoying problem is the passwords and username restrictions. If the application has additional requirements, it is better to place them directly on the form.

Finally, you need to focus on the buttons location. It affects the efficiency of task performing. If users do not find the button, where they expect it to be, they can quit the application. Thus, the Send or Registry button should be near the last field.

As has been noted only 16% of all applications can be called successful. The above-mentioned tips are intended to help improve applications design and functionality and as a result reach the top of an App Store.

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