Consistent Quality across all Media
Our digital world is expanding every day. Due to the nature of its content and its innovations of course, but also from its platforms of distribution. Each created universe has to interact with the audience through multiple interfaces. This is a challenge.
Whatever the medium, PC, tablet, smartphone, TV, the user experience must be total. To do so, the product must adapt to support, and get the best out of it. Each platform has its unique characteristics, such as the latest Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the iPhone 7 Plus, a smartwatch or an Android TV.
Know its market and its users
Above all, it’s important to know your market and audience. For example, let’s have a look at the mobile market, more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, an average penetration rate of over 60% for Western Europe, and up to over 85% in South Korea. More than 330 million smartphones are just out of the manufacturers factories for the first half of 2016. While statistics suggest a stabilization of these numbers, imagine the number of different devices, from different OS, fragmentation is huge with over 24,000 different Android devices on the market only in 2015 according to Opensignal.
It is not possible in a viable measure to carry out tests on all these combinations, and it would be useless. It is much more efficient to run tests where the users are.
Adapt its approach
This approach separates targeted devices into whitelist, blacklist and greylist.
- The whitelist identifies the best devices of the core target and allows by overlap to cover an optimum share of identified market users.
- The greylist includes devices with known issues (bugs), that code changes will solve, to be able to move them to the whitelist.
- The blacklist regroups devices that are not covered or where it is not a priority to make resolutions.
These lists are built by combining the targeted users and a necessary coverage strategy. This is especially true in the case of Android: it's smarter to build an optimized matrix of resolutions, pixel density, OS versions and underlayer of UI and Kernel, to be able to confidently move forward with the objectives of a multi-platform presence.
These lists are scalable and are living at the rhythm of the product positioning. It is therefore essential to integrate data analysis tools, in addition to marketing research to track user habits, and so ensure that digital products like apps and website are functional on target devices. The "run anywhere" approach is very dangerous because it does not prioritize efforts and do not adequately increases the market share of the digital product.
The life cycle of digital products must integrate this tests approach to structure its development. These compatibility tests are conducted from two different angles, automatic and manual.
The automation and manual approaches
Automation approach allows to cover optimally functional testing on a multitude of smartphones simultaneously. Scripted scenarios are developed on Selenium, for example, a scripting integration on mobile app is done using interface as Appuim, and both are coupled with solutions such as Testdroid to make waves of tests. An effort is needed before the project but quickly pays off and because the tests can be triggered, overnight, on hundreds of devices, and to be repeated as many times as necessary.
The manual approach, conventional, can cover the organic user experience, and is very suitable for development phases. Functional tests plan and tests plan scenario structure this approach and ensure optimal coverage for all development phases and different types of tests, such as ‘user's organic' tests or interruptions scenario.
This example on smartphones is true also on web browsers, tablets, TVs and IoT. Each of these families require a similar and specific approach, but with a shared central idea: The user experience best suited for his market.
You need to be organized with a strategic outlook and a clear marketing positioning to efficiently move forward with an operational structure and technically cope with the increase diversity of devices.