Using the Cloud to Build the Perfect Mobile Tester: An Interview with Rachel Obstler


In this interview, Rachel Obstler talks about her upcoming presentation at STAREAST 2014, the future of mobile, building the perfect mobile tester, and improving the efficiency of mobile testing.

Rachel Obstler will be presenting a presentation titled "Mobile Testing in the Cloud" at STAREAST 2014, which will take place May 4–9, 2014.


About "Mobile Testing in the Cloud":
Today, organizations are rapidly deploying mobile versions of their customer-facing and internal applications. With the prevalence of more agile-based approaches and the challenge of an ever-increasing diversity of devices and OS versions, testers are being asked to accomplish more testing in less time. Rachel Obstler shares how leading enterprises are improving the efficiency of their mobile testing using automation, and how they identify the right processes and tools for the job. Sharing some fascinating statistics from their recent mobile quality survey of more than 69,000 mobile app developers and QA organizations in the top US enterprises, Rachel dives into the challenges identified in the survey and shares five clear ways to improve your testing process: implementing a collaborative agile process, optimizing with a development tool that naturally facilitates testing, using a combination of real and emulated devices—and when to use them, and more.


Cameron Philipp-Edmonds: Today, we have Rachel Obstler. She will be speaking at STAREAST 2014, which is May 4 through May 9, and she is giving a presentation titled "Mobile Testing in the Cloud." Rachel is the senior director for Keynote's DeviceAnywhere platform. Rachel has more than ten years of experience in the wireless industry working for companies ranging in size from startups to multinational corporations.

She most recently managed the wireless data quality products at Telephia Inc. Rachel spent three years working with Lucent Technologies, where she managed and launched a billion-dollar product line of CDMA-based stations. Anything to add to that?

Rachel Obstler: No, I think you covered it.

Cameron: OK, sounds good. Since you're doing a session titled "Mobile Testing in the Cloud," I'd like to ask you about improving the efficiency of mobile testing. Why is the testing of mobile more important than ever before?

Rachel: Obviously, over the last couple of years mobile has increased in importance. We call it the mobile imperative. What we're seeing out there is not only our people demanding access via mobile, but they are demanding quality access via mobile. I'll throw a couple stats.

What we're seeing is that 80 percent to 90 percent of apps were actually deleted from users' phones last year. If you don't like an app, you get rid of it. People are saying that apps should load within three seconds. I've also seen stats that say apps should load within two seconds. So their expectations of how quickly you want to have an app available to you are really drastically changing.

Another stat: Only 16 percent of people will try an app more than once if it doesn't work the first time. So that's the bad side, the side that if it's not working well, people won't come back. The good side: There's stats like two-thirds of users are more likely to buy if they have a good experience.

It's ever more important that you provide, again, access for your mobile, and not just access, but quality access.

Cameron: The consumers are more strict and stringent with their demands when it comes to mobile than they are with other platforms.

Rachel: We are seeing that somewhat. It's changing a bit. We're going to talk a bit about a survey that we did but we see that at least in QA groups, the expectation of mobile quality is actually higher even though they have the same time to test and the same or less resources to do it with.

Cameron: How has cloud affected the ability to test mobile?

Rachel: Cloud gives you a lot of options, and one thing I'll talk about in my presentation as well at STAREAST is not only can you use a cloud to do things like host data, you can actually use the cloud to do things like host devices. You can have devices available to your testing groups in the cloud.

What that means is that you don't have to have a device or thirty devices or ten devices sitting at everyone's desk. You can enable all of your employees, and a lot of our QA teams today are located all around the world, so you're not going to have just people in one office. You're going to have people in multiple different offices that all need access to devices.

What it allows you to do is give them access to devices from wherever they are and not have to keep the headache of managing sets of devices for every employee.

Cameron: Your tutorial also mentions five clear ways to improve the testing process. Can you identify just one and kind of elaborate briefly on why it's important for improving the process?

Rachel: Sure. Using cloud devices is one. We've already talked about that, so maybe I'll talk about test automation. Getting back again to this idea of the expectations of quality being higher for mobile, but the testing time not getting any longer and the resources not getting any larger. What that means is it puts incredible pressure on the testing team to be able to deliver quickly and with quality.

When you have that type of pressure and testing, a really good way to help that is to automate as much as you can. And especially automating the more repetitive tests.

User Comments

1 comment
Mukesh Sharma's picture

Thanks for the nice read, Rachel and Cameron. It is always exciting to hear what's in store in the mobile world, with such a dynamic landscape. Rachel - we have been working with a lot of clients and have been helping them with their mobile testing and test automation needs. What is your take on when and how to differentiate between using a real device and using one on the cloud, for testing? And also, good luck with your presentation.

April 16, 2014 - 5:51am

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