Philips, an industry leader in connected devices and services, recently released a faulty version of their iOS Hue app that instantly crashes when you launch it. Instead of controlling lights from a phone or tablet, as is the primary selling point of the Hue connected lighting platform, this faulty update is a small but significant reminder that a lack of testing comes at a price to brand and customer experience.
Considering that early last year, Apple acquired TestFlight, a service to help companies beta test iOS app releases, this sort of thing could have been prevented with minimal impact to release date or cost. Even after Apple strategically discontinued Android support from TestFlight, there are still plenty of alternatives like HokeyApp and Appaloosa that cover multiple platforms.
Moral: there is no excuse left for not properly testing your mobile apps.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that Philips hasn’t released any information on why the app is now crashing (I wouldn’t, I’d just fix it and say sorry). That said there are a few things we already can be done to avoid this kind of embarrassment:
- Test both the first-time install and upgrade processes for known/supported device models
- Automate testing key user stories in your mobile app, which by definition include launching the app
- Plan out a release (even minor ones) to include enough time for solving issues and re-testing
- Beta test (validate) with a representative set of users and devices before releasing it to everyone
For those who think this will all take too much time, just consider the cost of people uninstalling apps, returning devices, and tweeting your failure to the world. The best way to ensure that connected services, apps, and devices will provide an excellent user experience is to build them well and test them thoroughly.