There’s an old saying: ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’ Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of mobile development. It’s estimated that most applications lose as many as 77% of their users in just three days, making it vital for developers to focus on delivering what mobile users want.
While most developers try to come up with a plan to achieve this, all too often their plan is based on faulty assumptions and data that only tells part of the story. As a result, no matter how hard they may be trying, many developers are doomed to fail.
What Developers Focus On
Many developers spend much of their time trying to fix crashes. While it’s certainly important to provide a stable, crash-free experience, ultimately focusing a team’s time and energy fixing crashes is a futile endeavor and unlikely to help keep individuals using your app. Why?
Essentially, crashes are a problem that has largely been solved. Thanks to a number of crash reporting and logging tools that have been around for years, it’s a simple matter for a developer to find and tackle a true application crash.
In fact, as the included chart shows, true crashes make up less than 1% of the problems users experience, and as little as 0.5% in some cases. Yet, in spite of this, development teams still spend countless man-hours trying to track down elusive crashes that are having little to no discernible impact on an app’s user churn rate.
Focusing On What Matters
In contrast, there are a couple of high-priority, high-reward areas where development teams should be focusing their time in order to deliver what users expect.
One of the single most important factors in whether an individual will keep using a mobile application vs moving on to a competitor is performance. While people are accustomed to desktop software—especially a large, powerful application—taking a few seconds to load, that patience does not translate to mobile computing.
In fact, the majority of users expect an app to open in 2-4 seconds, a standard that few desktop applications would be held to. Similarly, mobile users expect an app’s ongoing performance to remain high. Yet, despite these high standards and expectations, developers often lack the tools they need to properly measure their app’s performance.
Another high value area where developers are often lacking the information they need is out-of-memory exceptions. This may be as a result of opening a media file that’s too large to open without caching or resizing it, not using streams when downloading files, not properly utilizing garbage collection or any number of other issues. Whatever the cause, an application runs out of available memory and experiences an error or closes.
Unfortunately, to the end user, this looks very much like a crash. In reality, however, it’s something entirely different. Even worse, this type of error may be difficult to duplicate, causing developers to rely on user input to track down and resolve the issue. The problem with this approach is the fact that the majority of users will only give a misbehaving app two or three attempts before ditching it altogether, making it a dangerous gambit to depend on user input to solve elusive issues.
True Performance Monitoring
The above issues are exactly the kind of scenarios that performance monitoring tools help address. While crash analytics tools have carved out a niche in tracking down true crashes, performance monitoring gives you the ability to see everything your app—and its user—does.
This means you get a window directly into any issues your app is experiencing. Even more importantly, by recreating entire sessions, you get to look at all the events that led up to whatever issue was encountered. This gives your development team the information they need to be able to come up with a targeted plan to continue improving your application and keep customers coming back.
Contact Embrace to see how our platform can give your developers the edge they need.