News Feature | August 6, 2014

Survey Reveals Why Mobile Apps Fail

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Why Mobile Apps Fail

Who’s doing the heavy lifting when it comes to testing mobile apps? Turns out, it’s end-users.

Perfecto Mobile, a mobile application testing and monitoring solutions firm, conducted a survey to determine the top challenges of both testers and end users in the mobile app sector. Perfecto received 900 responses across a range of geographies and verticals that are summed up in their report “Why Mobile Apps Fail.”

Key Findings

The survey brought about three key findings:

  • A large majority of QA is performed by end users: according to their research users detect nearly half (44 percent) of app defects. This finding signifies a need to improve the work of development/test teams.
  • Device compatibility is suffering: device compatibility was cited as an issue by 45 percent of respondents. The solution to this problem is relatively easy, and would address one of the main complaints found in the survey.
  • Testers are overloaded: mobile is moving too fast for testers to keep up — 63 percent of testers stated they were not able to cover the number of test cases or test across all the different devices and OS versions required for full coverage support. The survey suggests addressing this by implementing an automated testing platform with real device access.

Respondent Demographics

The survey covered a relatively balanced mix of organizations over and below 1000 employees (53 and 47 percent respectively). The Americas accounted for 45 percent of the respondents’ home bases, with 20 percent coming from EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), and another 35 percent from Asia. Of respondents who identified an industry, 19 percent were in high tech, 18 percent were in financial services, and 9 percent were in telecommunications.

The Issues

The biggest issues cited were user interface problems at 58 percent, performance at 52 percent, functionality at 50 percent, and device compatibility at 45 percent.

User Burden

Of the 44 percent of defects found by users, 20 percent were pulled from public user reviews (like in app stores) and 24 percent came from direct user feedback.

The survey also revealed some of the reasons that this testing weight might be falling on users. It cites insufficient device coverage as the number one reason testing suffers (63 percent of respondents named this issue). After that, a lack of reliable automation was cited by 48 percent of respondents and time constraints by 47 percent.


Perfecto recommends three critical measures to reduce mobile app defects: more functional testing, more device/OS coverage, and more performance testing. The company further recommends three steps to a better user experience overall:

  • Focus on testing: the use of a cloud-based device-as-a-service solution will provide access to any device/OS/network combination on-demand, so resources will be focused on testing instead of managing devices.
  • Embrace automation: this will improve efficiency, allowing app developers to test more with fewer resources and greater consistency.
  • Deploy a monitoring system: a monitoring system will allow developers to stay one step ahead of users, providing them with early warning signs and altering them to performance issues before users encounter them.

Go Deeper

For a look into ways to improve apps in the healthcare industry, check out our article on building a better healthcare app through implementing best practices here.