05.12.2021 10:00

Application support: a necessity or a waste of money?

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Until lately, both customers and developers focused only on application development. Today, the competitive situation dictates different rules.

An application cannot be left unchanged after its release. After the publication of a mobile application, work with it is just starting. 

Let’s look at three stages of the life cycle of a mobile application:

  1. Plan. Idea, research of competitors and users, checking the viability of the idea, the first prototypes.
  2. Design and development. The most expensive and important part.
  3. Testing and QA. As a rule, software testing is carried out in parallel with the development stage, but some companies may put this stage in a separate task.
  4. Deploy
  5. Support and maintain. After the release, the life of the product is just beginning.

The product must live and change with the environment, respond to threats, adapt to changes in devices and operating systems, react to user feedback about its convenience and functionality. 

There is a need to add new features during the performance, change existing features, fix bugs and vulnerabilities. That is why developers and business analysts need technical support for the mobile application. 

In the sphere of mobile technologies, operating systems are updated every year, and new devices appear once in two-three months. 

That’s why there is no need to be afraid to go to the store with an app with minimum functionality. Work on applications should go in a format of continuous improvement by short iterations (no more than a month for updates) and with well-established feedback.

The main tasks to be solved after the publication of the application are:

  1. getting feedback from the end-users and solve their problems;
  2. improving stability and adding new functionality;
  3. adaptation of the application for new devices and OS versions;
  4. tracking the degree of satisfaction of the business needs of the customer company;
  5. adjusting the product development plan.

But, remember – warranty and technical support are different things. The guarantee is set out in the main development contract. Warranty works mean bug fixes or functionality enhancements to the specification.

Support goes beyond the scope of the terms of reference and requires a separate document with prescribed tasks, conditions, response time. 

In fact, technical support is an urgent solution to problems that interfere with a digital product’s quality functioning.

Let’s divide these problems into three categories:

  1. Level 1. These are force majeure situations, which are solved first of all. For example, users can not send an order, register, or login.
  2. Level 2. For example, interface errors that do not critically affect the ability to send an order or other important action. Such problems are usually solved during the working day if there is no emergency.
  3. Level 3. For example, minor bugs in features and screens that do not relate to any critical service functionality.

Now let’s talk about one of the most important points – testing, especially pre-release testing.  Oleh Sadykow (Co-Founder at DeviQA – leading automation testing company) says, “Before releasing an app, you need to make sure there are no bugs (at least big ones) for certain.”

Regression testing must be done first. Ideally, the development process should be designed so that there are only small features left for the test before the release, the bugs of which do not take much time to fix. 

It is also important to consider that possible fixes cannot affect other parts of the product and its behavior in principle. 

After all, there is simply no time to fix everything before the release. After the regression, the tester should check if there are any negative consequences from fixing bugs found with the regression test or not. And also whether the developers even fixed these bugs.

The next step is a unit test. If an application’s reaction is not the same as planned, the test is considered not successful. 

But the developers understand what part of the code the bug is in and fix it. This is not the whole benefit of unit tests. They can be very helpful in striving against bugs after updates. The last step is the final testing of an app. 

It involves checking all application functions against the specification or backlog that the team has agreed with the customer.

In application development, problems of this sphere, competitive features are constantly being identified, new ideas and feedback from users appear, which require a prompt response. 

The right solution in such a situation is the timely organization of technical support for the professional development team’s mobile application.

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