Imagine if that all-important message didn’t get through: “Honey, I’m going to be late at work, don’t wait up!” In 2017, Whatsapp rolled out an update for Windows Phone which had the unfortunate problem of not delivering certain messages. It’s easy to understand how the brand of a messaging app- or, indeed, a previously great relationship- could be badly damaged by non-delivery of a few important messages. You might jump to the conclusion that because this was only a Windows Phone bug, it could be forgivable given their relatively small market share. However, as of 2016, roughly 80 million Windows Phone users reported using Whatsapp; in the hyper-competitive messaging market, that’s a lot of potential disappointed users. And once the trust is gone from a relationship, it’s next to impossible to recover- for people and apps.
Bugs are all but inevitable in modern software development. If you take into account the backend code, Facebook has something like 62 million lines of code in total. A typical iPhone app has around a half-million lines. These huge numbers are pretty impressive in themselves, but for the sake of this discussion, they serve to illustrate one simple fact: there is plenty of room for mistakes. Obviously, depending on the circumstances, little bugs can have dire consequences for end users, as well as companies’ reputations and bottom lines.
Want More Proof?
Earlier this year, users discovered a bug in Facebook Messenger the hard way- by having their batteries drained and, sometimes, their phones overheated. It turns out there was a bug in the way the app was communicating with Facebook’s servers so that, even while sitting “unused” in the background, the app was using enough CPU to quickly drain batteries and, in some cases, to cause phones to get hot. Needless to say, this type of bug will not endear you to customers.
2017 has seen plenty of bug reports from social media platforms alone:
- Instagram outages that prevented some users from being able to upload photos
- Bug in Twitter Ad Studio allowed hackers to post from anyone’s account
- Tinder not giving any matches for certain users
- Snapchat filters making users look overly tired
Ok, that last one was fake- just checking to see if you were still paying attention! So, how do you spare your users heartbreak due to missed communications, the inability to explain fake tweets because their batteries are dead, and lost love connections due to dating app bugs? Testing. Lots of it. You need to be testing your apps on real devices, on all the platforms you support, and with real-world and real-user conditions, as often as possible. Your relationship with your customers- and sometimes their relationships- are on the line!
Make sure your apps aren’t in danger of causing breakups – spread the love, and avoid pitfalls of automated testing.