Mobile APM: The Catalyst for User Experience Management
In the era of millennials and Gen Z, there's an app for everything. In fact, Apple trademarked the sentence, "There's an app for that," nearly 10 years ago. Today, with more than 2.47 million apps available across the App Store and Google Play Store, they're not only a convenient and affordable means to access a service; they have become extensions and expressions of ourselves and our personalities.
But not all apps are essential to a person's life or lifestyle. While an average user has over 80 apps installed on their phone, they use only nine apps on a daily basis, based on taste, requirements, and services. While app engagement varies from user to user—what works for me may not work for you—the overall experience of an app is crucial for user retention.
In the realm of social networking, a negative review can spread quicker than a positive one, so maintaining a positive user experience is the need of the hour.
Understanding User Experience
To sustain a satisfying user experience, two things are imperative: stability and performance. Understanding user experience is all about being in the customers' shoes.
Some studies show that user tolerance for problems is low, with only 16 percent willing to give an app another try after experiencing more than two crashes, indicating that stability is a crucial part of user experience. The sheer number of vendors and OS versions make it hard to simulate and study the stability of an app in the development process. Additionally, whenever an OS is updated, it usually increases the chances of breaking an existing app, so app updates should keep pace with the OS updates.
On the performance front, factors like network connectivity, third party libraries and dependencies influence the performance of an app, thereby affecting the end user experience. In brief, the reputation of the app could be damaged by various external factors and measuring performance becomes hard. It's usually up to the app developers to define and identify key metrics to analyze their impact on performance. This emphasizes the need for developers to utilize mobile application performance monitoring (APM).
The Benefits of Mobile APM
Mobile APM allows app developers to choose which metrics to monitor depending on the application. Most tools also provide support to track the user's location, app version, OS version, device model, and ISP details that enable deeper understanding of performance bottlenecks. Some tools even enable session recording when the app crashes, making it easy to reproduce the issue in a development environment. This aids in resolving issues proactively, ensuring a positive end-user experience at the end of the day.
In short, since the code runs on a wide variety of hardware, the device information and other environment details become crucial in finding a solution, along with the key business metrics. This is where mobile APM gives the developers an advantage.
The Road Ahead
Given the complex and competitive nature of mobile app development, mobile APM is an important tool to measure and analyze user experience. The app market is maturing, which means that the tolerance levels of users are decreasing, and many apps are going to compete to provide similar functionalities. The key to staying ahead is having a well-defined system to measure user experience and monitor it continuously. A mobile APM tool can give you the head start you need to come out on top.