Load Testing For Your Application: Why It’s Important

Load Testing For Your Application Why It's Important

You’ve been waiting for this day all year, and now that it’s finally here, you’re determined to make the most of it. After hours spent crafting your business plan and securing funding, you’re ready to put it all into action and launch your innovative new product or service. But you can’t do it alone. You’ll need an experienced team with deep product design, development, and testing knowledge. 

While hiring a low-cost offshore development team might be tempting to crank out your product as fast as possible, this rarely leads to a successful product. Hiring good coders is great, but you also need people who understand your product, how it works, and, most importantly, how to improve it.

We are constantly reminded that the most important aspect of any product is the user experience, which you should always take seriously. Suppose you’re serious about wanting to build a successful product. In that case, you can’t cut corners, and you can only reduce the quality of your user experience by losing customers and potentially going out of business. 

This is why you must extensively test your product before making it available to the general public. This testing serves two purposes: developing an idea of what to expect from the product in terms of quality and function and providing you with valuable information on the strengths and weaknesses of your application.

Three Types Of Load Testing

As your product evolves and you add more features, you’ll need to update how you test it. The first load test you’ll perform is called scenario testing. In scenario testing, you use a set of documented tests, also known as a scenario, to exercise your application. A scenario is a set of instructions that guides you through several steps. 

For instance, let’s say you’ve created a travel agency that helps clients make travel arrangements. You’ve specified in your scenario that the user should be able to log in and access their account information. 

When you run your scenario test, you’ll trigger this series of events, and the tester will judge your application’s response time and other metrics against the written guidelines. A good tester will also point out any improvement you can make based on the test results.

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The second type of load testing is known as functional testing. In functional testing, you test the complete functionality of your application, which means that you’ll be using automated tools to exercise the application and watch for any errors or exceptions that arise during this process. 

For instance, if you’re running a hotel search engine, you might want to test the ability of the search engine to return hotels based on the search term provided. Or maybe you’ll want to test the hotel’s website to see if it handles searches correctly and if its online presence is up to date. In these cases, you’ll want to run functional testing on each platform (mobile and web) to ensure that the information is displayed appropriately.

The third type of load testing is known as performance testing. Performance testing, or simply ‘load testing’, is a broad term that encompasses all the ways you can measure how long it takes for your application to perform a certain task. This can be anything from measuring your application’s time to load or respond to a user request to checking out how many transactions your e-commerce store can handle without crashing.

The most important consideration here is selecting a task representative of the load your site or application will receive and the amount of time it will take to perform. For example, if you’re an e-commerce store that wants to test the performance of your web server, you’ll want to select a task, such as checking out a product, that is as complex as possible and represents the kind of traffic you typically receive.

Why Performance Testing Is Critical

Even if you have the most reliable software and experienced developers, your product will still fail if its performance is bad. User experience is only as good as the last click, and in today’s world, that last click happens way too often before the user gets a chance to see exactly what they’re clicking on. While performance testing doesn’t occur during normal operation, a tester will go through each step, including the data collection stage, to ensure that your application functions the way it’s supposed to and checks out each criterion listed. 

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This allows you to pinpoint errors before launching your product, leading to fewer customer complaints and much happier users. In addition to helping ensure the quality of your product, performance testing enables you to find areas where you can improve and offers you a glimpse into how your application will perform under real-world conditions. This is why every software engineer worth their weight in silicon should know how to perform performance testing.

Why You Need To Test On Multiple Platforms

This is one of the most important things to remember if you’re serious about load testing. Each platform will only be able to replicate the variety of devices and systems your application will encounter. For example, if you’re developing an android application, you’ll need to test it on tablets and phones with a range of screen sizes and hardware specifications.

 Additionally, the operating systems of those devices will vary, so you’ll want to ensure your app functions correctly on each platform. If you’re developing for the iOS platform, you’ll need to test on devices ranging from the most recent generation of iPhones to older models with slower processors and less memory.

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Multiple platforms enable you to find and address these issues before your application is released to the public. While there are drawbacks to having your application run on multiple platforms – mainly the additional code you’ll need to maintain – it’s a necessary evil in today’s world. The key takeaway is that you can’t cut corners if you want to create a successful product. Working with experienced tech support to get your application working on multiple platforms is one of the best investments you can make.

What To Test

When deciding what aspect of your product to test, you need to consider three things: reliability, usability, and functionality. While some products focus exclusively on one or two of these areas, the best products are designed with each area in mind and work together to create the perfect user experience. This is why looking for a tester with experience in all three areas is important.

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Reliability is your application’s capacity to perform the function it’s designed to perform. If you’re building a financial application, you might want to test investing and withdrawal functionality. If you’re developing an e-commerce store, you might want to test the checkout process and ensure that items are not out of stock when the customer clicks the purchase button. In both cases, the testers will run through the scenario step-by-step to check out each criterion, providing you with detailed information on how well your product meets the requirements.

Usability refers to how easy it is to use your product. If you’re developing a hotel search engine, you might want to test whether the search results are displayed correctly and if the hotel’s website is user-friendly. In this case, the tester will be required to click through each result link and evaluate how easy it is to navigate the site using only the keyboard. In addition to testing the usability of your product, you should also be testing its accessibility – accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they have a disability. Building an inclusive product is one of the best ways to create a successful product, and making it accessible is an excellent place to start.

Finally, functionality tests whether your product functions the way it’s supposed to, according to the documentation. If you’ve built a travel agency that helps clients make their travel arrangements, you might want to test the ability of the system to process a flight charter or a hotel booking request. For these tests, the tester will use automated tools to send requests to your application and watch for any errors during the process.

Create The Perfect User Experience

To create the perfect user experience, you must test throughout the development process, paying close attention to detail. From the first line of code to the last, you should test your product to ensure it meets your rigorous reliability, usability, and functionality standards.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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