Everyone, it seems, is talking about the importance of mobile. And the case is easy to make: Last year’s mobile data traffic, according to a study conducted by CISCO, was nearly twelve times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. The same study projects the number of mobile-connected devices exceeding the world’s population in 2013. Earlier this year, South Korea passed the 100 percent barrier for mobile wireless penetration. Google has found 73 percent of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversions. And for some retailers, according to the latest KPCB Internet Trends Report, transactions on mobile have climbed to 45 percent of the total in just two years.
At the same time, the move to mobile optimized—let alone customized mobile—experiences has been slow. A full 90 percent of websites—according to a 2012 survey—are not ready for mobile. This represents an obvious opportunity but that doesn’t necessarily mean rushing to mobile is a good idea. You have to make sure you’re ready to make the move—and keep testing along the way.
So what do you need to start testing on mobile? Here are six prerequisites:
1. Technical Support
Mobile testing is, without a doubt, advanced territory. Though there are a few tools that offer turnkey solutions, creating, implementing, and analyzing mobile tests is much more difficult. This means it requires a deeper time investment by analysts and developers. It’s essential that this support is available before testing can begin.
And having a developer available may not be enough. Responsive designs, unique mobile sites, and dedicated apps all have requirements that demand special skills and knowledge. It’s important to verify that your development and IT team has the time and experience to handle the demands of a mobile testing program.
2. Design Experience
Whether the design is responsive or a mobile app interface, it will require specialized knowledge and experience. This means that not every designer will be ready to begin developing concepts for mobile tests. Just as important is experience with user experience and user interface design, since mobile experiences will lean heavily on these skills.
3. A Tool That Can Handle Mobile
Most testing tools can handle mobile testing to a certain degree, but it’s important to verify that the service package you subscribe to or the implementation you are using is ready for the extension. If you’re just getting started, this is an important question to ask when evaluating tools.
4. A Mature Program
Segmentation, targeting, personalization and velocity are all important to master on the desktop before diving into mobile testing. Being able to segment traffic, for example, is essential for isolating mobile from tablet and desktop users.
5. Enough Traffic
Low page or site traffic doesn’t necessarily preclude testing, but it can slow the process down significantly. This is particularly true of mobile sites, which still tend to receive only a fraction of the traffic a traditional desktop site receives.
6. A Mobile Strategy
Before mobile can become a focus of testing, it needs to have a place in the business strategy. This means real goals must be associated with mobile—or the learnings from mobile tests must contribute to developing a future KPI.
As mobile use increases, testing and optimizing these experiences will be critical. Because of this, addressing these challenges to mobile testing now is important.