SimplyHealth, a private company health insurance plan provider in the United Kingdom, saw its mobile web traffic trending upward with no end in sight. “While this was good news, there was concern whether the customer experience and the company’s ability to provide continuous application delivery on mobile devices might erode as a result,” said Chris Dale, information technology test and release manager at SimplyHealth,
A good half-dozen challenges in mobile testing and development stood at the crossroads between mobile customer demand and SimplyHealth’s mobile development speed and ability to respond to needs for improvement.
With some help from Mobile Labs, a provider of internal cloud mobile device testing for software, SimplyHealth allayed its fears of customer dissatisfaction.
Mobile Web Test, Dev Challenges
Dale noted SimplyHealth’s challenges to mobile web test and development were many. Among them:
- Testing came late in development, causing the testing team to find issues at later in the development process and leading to costly rework for developers.
- The vast array of mobile handsets that needed to be tested against, which affected productivity and increased expenses because of the time spent searching for, ordering and waiting for devices to be shipped to SimplyHealth for testing.
- The development team’s use of mobile device simulators for testing mobile software on different device platforms—a process that did not represent accurately the behavior of actual devices.
- The differing behaviors of Apple and Android devices in some functional areas, which made it impossible to do cross-platform testing with a single script.
- Testing eventually became a bottleneck, jeopardizing SimplyHealth’s award-winning customer service levels for its mobile customers.
- The digital marketing team had difficulties in verifying customer experience on mobile devices.
An all-encompassing solution for the SimplyHealth mobile web testing team would enable early testing and cross compatibility with the needs of all affected departments, including marketing.
Dale said the tool would have to meet 34 requirements, including:
- Allow for the highest levels of security and compliance with the Data Protection Act (similar to HIPAA regulations in the United States)
- Provide the ability to use the existing automation framework and toolset and hook into SimplyHealth’s continuous integration solution for automatic test execution
- Offer a way to swap devices in and out quickly and easily
- Provide easy accessibility from any location
- Have a simple user interface
- Maintain high levels of performance
- Offer scalability for future growth
- Come with backing by dependable, knowledgeable support and a solid development road map
After looking at four possible testing solutions based on products listed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, SimplyHealth decided on Mobile Labs deviceConnect to manage mobile devices for testing software. This on-premises cloud solution provides the accessibility and flexibility of the cloud and the security of on-premises technology, protected by the security measures available to the enterprise for its other assets, such as firewalls.
The physical installation largely amounts to a mobile cart and rack for plugging in many different mobile devices for testing. “DeviceConnect enabled SimplyHealth to have a product-agnostic virtual lab so we could all easily test software on the devices using our own in-house testing scripts,” Dale said.
Mobile Labs was willing to configure and demonstrate a proof of concept mobile device web application test setup using deviceConnect to show the SimplyHealth team how it worked to manage apps and devices for testing. “After we thoroughly evaluated this configuration, we concluded that Mobile Labs deviceConnect was the best choice,” Dale said.
Mobile Labs implemented the entire solution for SimplyHealth, from setup to installation to ensuring it integrated well with SimplyHealth’s existing Hewlett Packard Enterprise testing tools, Dale noted. “We were immediately writing automation scripts to use with it. We had it working in production the next day.”
All affected teams and departments have fully adopted and use the Mobile Labs tool, including testing, development, branding, user experience and support teams, he said.