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What Are The Key Factors Of A Performance Testing Strategy?
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With businesses getting onto the online bandwagon in a big way, users have started using the online medium to access various products and services. This often leads to situations wherein a website (read eCommerce) or mobile app experiencing a sudden rush of traffic leading to consequences such as system latency, disruption, or downtime. Such an eventuality leaves the users frustrated, businesses losing their brand value, and competitors stealing a march ahead. For example, the eCommerce giant Flipkart suffered a loss in its brand image when users flocked to its site on October 6 to be a part of its Big Billion Day sale. The traffic was huge given the sales pitch promising products at a low rate of 1% of the actual selling price. So, when users responded to the call, the site collapsed with users greeted with broken links and a 404 error message.
So, what does a business do when faced with such an eventuality?
The answer lies in conducting a robust performance testing exercise beforehand. However, it is easier said than done given the number of factors businesses should keep in mind while approaching the job of performance testing.
Factors influencing performance testing strategy
#Identifying the goals: The approach of testing the performance of a system or application should be in alignment with the business goals. The QA tester should be in the know about a few things such as system architecture requirements, similarities in the test and production environments, and the type of users among others. Before testing, the tester(s) should take into account factors such as business requirements, key performance indicators, hardware architecture etc.
#Simulating the test environment: Before writing the script to test the performance of an application the real world scenarios should be simulated as well. The scenarios would include the type of users and their browsing patterns, user expectations, peak user loads, touchpoints and their impact on traffic, and technology constraints etc.
#Testing for mobile responsiveness: With mobile usage growing by the day, eCommerce and other businesses selling products or services should make their sites mobile responsive and apps robust. Efforts should be made to enhance the scalability of the sites or apps by simulating their peak user load using load generation tools. The challenges surrounding a performance testing strategy can be immense given the multiplicity of digital elements. In other words, the concerned mobile app should be tested for performance across a range of devices, operating systems, browsers, frameworks, and networks. The aim of application performance testing should be to validate each and every functionality across digital platforms.
#Testing for cloud adaptability: Cloud provides a suitable platform to test the scalability of a product or service. This is done by simulating the number of users and testing their impact on the functioning of the application. On a cloud platform, it becomes easy and cost effective to conduct application performance testing across geographies and other diverse media.
#Optimizing performance testing services: If time and cost constraints hinder the testing (performance) of an application, then select a few high volume or business critical functionalities for testing across devices and browsers. For example, since users are wont to conduct product searches more than any other form of digital interaction in an eCommerce site or app, the performance testing services should validate the same across channels. In the absence of the same, critical operations of the website or app can fail impacting the users in a negative way.
#Testing workflows across geographies: Users of a specific geographical location should not feel let down by the poor performance of a site or app. This calls for conducting performance engineering over testing to validate the software’s architecture. The QA team should see if the functionalities of the application perform well across devices and browsers. Moreover, it is important to validate the quality of an application in terms of its performance before the onset of any peak holiday season.
# ROI: Any business website or app should generate revenue either in the short or long term. However, the same is underpinned on users receiving a great browsing experience. If the features and functionalities of a site/app perform well even when the user load exceeds beyond the normal levels, the impact can be positive on the brand.
Businesses should create a robust performance testing methodology to ensure their sites or apps perform to their optimum levels while witnessing a surge in the user base. This helps the site or app to gain brownie points from users and the business to stay ahead of its competitors.
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