Product enhancement isn’t just a means of adjusting interactions, adding integrations or responding to user feedback/issues. Done right, it increases visibility, augments marketing efforts and facilitates wider user reach. How? We explore the 5 tactics to boost software quality management.
1. Take Advantage of the Free Marketing Annual Software Updates Offer
Each year Apple and Google host annual platform events ushering in software and hardware updates. Companies who haven’t prepared and beta tested their solutions can face disabled functionality or crashes reported by users in the first wave of adopters.
But — the companies who DO prepare, can leverage any hype generated by the introduction of new features. The product teams that adapt or integrate existing app functionality with new capabilities often find themselves in articles lauding the “first wave of brand adopters.” Remember all the press smart brands got by publicizing their integration with Apple Watch?
2. Test Against Beta Releases to Fold in New UX Standards or Interactions
In practice, OS heavyweights preview changes product teams can expect several months before the release becomes available. Work with your team’s continuation point-person to start planning your beta test strategy as soon as the first whispers of the annual release become audible.
By planning early, your product team (or software development partner) can begin to keep pace with the release itself and prepare to test the planned update against the more stable later releases, generally the fifth or sixth iterations.
If you do begin testing against an early version and encounter more bugs than expected, don’t panic. The providers are still perfecting the update itself. Often, they will even call out known problems slotted for later development in the release notes.
Annual software updates also give teams insight into the ever-changing aesthetics of modern software. (Think of app icons with the increased depth/relief of five years ago compared to the flatter icons we see today.)
Treat major design updates, like Material Design, with the same gravity as a platform update. Nothing dates your app faster than standards that don’t evolve with mobile UX.
3. Anticipate and Respond Promptly to User Feedback
No product is ever perfect when it launches. As in any complex negotiation, compromises are made to land software within scope, budget or timeline. Edit your work immediately to deliver improvements on any issues found by early users.
A fixes release allows the development team to respond to critical bugs or functionality issues. Many opt to complete a mini release cycle to address most critical issues before tending to the backlog and completing more long-term enhancement.
4. Create the Infrastructure to Understand Users and Improve Software Quality Management
Plan the metrics you want to track at the beginning of development. Data allows you to prolong the longevity of your app even before it’s released by building in the tools you need to understand user behavior and motivations. Why does this matter? An app is never done. By continuing to monitor your users, you can adapt the technology as consumer tastes and needs change.
It’s never too late to add analytics to your app, but it’s a lot easier and cost effective to incorporate them before the app is built. Ask yourself what intelligence drives strategic decisions for your business, and build the infrastructure into your app to collect it. Is performance more important to track than user installs? It depends on the type of app and purpose.
Consider a retail app. If 80% of users abandon with items still left in their shopping carts, that can be a powerful insight that justifies UX/UI decisions or further development to simplify the process and increase ROI.
Common metrics to track software quality management:
- Speed by location
- User installs
- User retention
- Usage by device
- Most-used features
5. Track and Organize All Released Versions to Ease Software Quality Management
Planning doesn’t stop after your solution goes live. Appoint a member of the product team to track and maintain copies of all released software versions. (This includes all assets, code repositories, fonts, colors, should one need to be recreated.) Long after a release, a user may encounter friction due to an unexpected combination of operating system, carrier and version variables. Save sanity and organize releases along the way to ensure you can recreate a bug presenting on a past version.
By collecting the following, you can determine the potential impact of the bug and set backlog priority accordingly.
- Version of OS
Safeguarding Your Software
Revising and re-releasing your app yearly yields two major gains. 1) The functionality your solution delivers expands or adapts with the market. 2) Users are reminded your app exists. Biology recognizes the survival of the fittest. Apps can’t survive without annual enhancement.