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Ho ho ho! QA to enable crash-proof streaming platforms for Holidays season

Isn’t it high time to forget about the Christmas rush and truly enjoy the pre-holidays season? Read the article about how to put peak-load anxiety behind by applying rigorous testing of your streaming solution.
30 November 2021
Cybersecurity testing
Functional testing
Performance testing
Usability testing
The article by a1qa
a1qa

Who likes to “Wait”? Well, of course, no one does. Neither do the viewers.

Imagine their families together in front of the screen. Hot pizza, sweet cocoa for kids, and… the beloved Christmas movie loads for minutes, crashes, or they can’t log in to the streaming account. Here are kids watching Tik Tok. Adults chat and switch off the platform. This evening could have been a lot nicer, right?

Back to reality, let’s recall the Disney+ subscribers who rushed to watch the season finale of the Marvel series WandaVision. In return for their excitement, all they saw was the platform crash. It is likely one of the reasons of undermined customers’ trust and their churn.

Just in April 2021 alone, the industry giants HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ had $80.2M of losses due to canceling subscriptions.

Quality assurance with load testing at the core helps avoid similar challenges and maintain a customer base. Discover the major factors of success in the streaming market and 5 testing types to introduce.

Factors to keep in mind to win the “streaming wars”

The worldwide streaming market is growing. Novel solutions emerge every year that allows end users to select a suitable service among dozens of alternatives. And just the streaming market offers an immense number of apps and platforms to choose from. Only the video streaming industry revenue is expected to reach $28.1 billion in 2023.

Is digital transformation to blame? Well, mostly. Cloud-based solutions, AI, ML, etc. — all these trigger the necessity to introduce innovations into streaming platforms.

Another factor for the high demand for OTT services is a stay-at-home norm. Moving all the entertainment activities to home proves that 51% of Internet users watch more films on streaming platforms. Thus, companies should ensure that their apps withstand the load of the increased number of consumers.

As for means of content viewing, the mobile channel is the most preferable among end users. These are phones and tablets that make it happen while gradually replacing PCs and laptops. Amazon’s Twitch is a notable example. According to Polygon, the company has witnessed its view hours surging 101% due to COVID-19 for the whole of 2020. And near 33% of all Twitch users watch live streams on their smartphones.

The growing acceptance of portable devices in combination with an extensive range of high-speed Internet technologies such as 4G, 5G, and LTE has caused the increasing use of video streaming.

With all said above, how to prepare a streaming platform for heavy loads to let your subscribers enjoy Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts this winter? Software testing comes to help.

Top 5 testing types to fine-tune streaming solutions for the Christmas time

If there is no time to compose a QA plan from the ground up, it’s never too late to perform sharp QA activities in time for the winter holidays. Let’s find out the relevant testing types and why they are worth applying.

1. Performance testing

Performance is a key driver to the success of any streaming solution. As a result of performance testing, companies get ready for a large-scale influx of users while eliminating load bottlenecks and ensuring flawless navigation of the platform under a range of traffic load conditions.

Key metrics that impact the performance of streaming solutions include:

  • Bit rate — to display whether a customer receives high resolution of both audio and visual content by calculating bytes per data transmitting to an end user. Different geographical locations affect the parameter because of latency presence.
  • Play rate — to show the number of consumers who viewed the content.
  • Buffer fill time — to figure out the time spent on filling in the buffer when a video begins while understanding how long your users are waiting before a video starts playing.
  • Post-buffer lag length — to identify users’ experience when they are watching a video. Within technical issues, network contention, or overloaded server, sometimes, the player doesn’t have enough data to load the video, so it stops playing and waits for data to be buffered.
  • Lag ratio — to measure the overall buffering time of a user. It assists in monitoring the quality of streaming media.
  • Play length time — to learn the time spent on consuming the content on the platform. It helps know about users’ outflow as early as possible and timely apply improvements.

Considering all these parameters, QA engineers analyze the system under expected and heavy loads while capturing its characteristics. Mimicking the activity of a given number of concurrent users helps companies find the upper limits of the load capacity and evaluate the system stability in the long run.

2. Functional testing

When end users face any error in the platform, be it inappropriate video playing or problems with logging in, customers are likely to close the app and move to the competitor that took care of it in advance.

Testing the system within the pre-defined requirements and timely detecting software defects enables a high-quality streaming solution while rising the app rates.

3. Cybersecurity testing

Working on a fee basis, some of the streaming platforms need users’ sensitive data that should be highly protected. By introducing cybersecurity testing, ethical hackers penetrate the system and search for possible loopholes to prevent the expensive fixing of data leakage, which helps companies strengthen customers’ trust and build a reliable long-lasting relationship with them.

4. Compatibility testing

Millions of subscribers, various devices used for content consumption, billions of configuration options — all these scenarios reflect the streaming solution quality and its popularity among consumers.

Checking the platform against a wide array of devices, OSs, browsers, etc. makes it available pretty much for every user’s gadget with low risks of bugs in production.

5. Usability and GUI testing

It’s no longer enough to rely on good content only, it needs to create experiences. Sophisticated search options and advanced tech features probably frustrate end users, especially less tech-savvy ones. So, testing the platform for usability and simple navigation helps retain the customer base and improve CX.

Final note

The long-awaited Christmas holidays are coming soon. Don’t let your subscribers wait any longer by introducing comprehensive testing of the streaming solution’s performance, functionality, cybersecurity, compatibility, and usability.

Alongside delivering high-quality content, open-minded streaming companies delight customers with faultless means of media consumption while winning the streaming wars and reinforcing their positions in the market.

Feeling like the Grinch is stealing Christmas from your subscribers? Contact a1qa’s experts to prevent that and provide your customers with a stellar performance streaming platform.

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