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Posted November 10, 2022

How to Build a 5-Star Mobile App with Better Error Monitoring and Reporting

Learn how better error monitoring and reporting can help improve your mobile app's user experience and app store reviews.


Note: The content of this post is excerpted from the Sauce Labs webinar How to Build Top-Rated Mobile Apps and Cut Your Error Resolution Time in Half with Vincent Lussenburg, Technical Product Manager at Backtrace.

When it comes to mobile applications, user decision-making on whether to download or skip your app is increasingly based on ratings and reviews—the difference between three or four stars can mean the difference between a new download or a lost user. When the frustrations of other users are reflected in app ratings

Addressing these errors and crashes quickly is more important than ever to reduce user churn. To raise efficiency in error resolution, next-generation error and crash reporting tools provide the support you need to build top-ranking Android and iOS apps. Read on to learn why reducing your organization's mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to resolution (MTTR) can help build a top-rated mobile app.

The Power of App Reviews

App store optimization is growing as a legitimate business model—and the focus is ratings, not just keywords.

One trend in mobile application development is clear across channels: app store ratings matter; perhaps surprisingly so. According to the Sauce Labs 2022 State of User Experience Report, consumers are short on patience and seeking out the experiences of fellow users–nearly one in five (18%) users say they won't wait any length of time for an error to be fixed (they will simply go somewhere else), and 25% of users have written a negative review of a company after a bad digital experience. Interestingly, the top reason consumers gave for flagging an error is to keep another user from experiencing it (58%). Users are increasingly looking at those flagged issues in ratings to gauge the quality of an app.

Frankly, people are not willing to install an application that has one or two stars. According to Apptentive, moving a three-star application to four stars can lead to an 89% increase in conversion. Higher ratings drive adoption.

Now, making a continuous effort to prevent bad reviews has become increasingly important to avoid damage to your brand. We must identify and fix functional errors, app crashes, network problems, compatibility issues, and unresponsiveness as early as possible to eliminate user frustration.

So, how do we keep bad reviews from affecting new user adoption? By incorporating error monitoring and crash reporting across the development lifecycle of your app.

What Is Error Reporting?

What is error reporting? Error reporting is the process of identifying, monitoring, and reporting errors in software solutions, mobile applications, or web services to help companies streamline both development and deployment. While the top-level function of error reporting is to pinpoint key issues, the ultimate goal is to discover the underlying cause of errors, in turn making it possible for IT teams to permanently correct the issue for all users.

Although error reporting has always been a key component of software development, the uptake of more flexible processes such as continuous development (CD) and continuous integration (CI), along with the rise of DevOps teams to help streamline these operations at scale, has increased the need for error reporting tools that can keep pace with enterprise application growth.

In addition, the increasing expectations of consumers mean that companies can't afford to wait when it comes to eliminating errors. The sheer scope and size of application environments create a situation where even small issues can rapidly become big problems.

5 Benefits of Effective Error Monitoring & Reporting

Some of the top benefits of error monitoring and crash reporting include:

  1. Reducing customer churn: If customers encounter application-breaking crashes or issues that prevent them from quickly completing key functions, they'll churn to other options. Pinpointing problems ASAP helps companies reduce the risk of customer churn.

  2. Capturing critical events: Comprehensive error reporting helps your team separate one-off events from more widespread and problematic issues. Complete capture of these issues allows teams to fully investigate them and find a fix.

  3. Creating reliable analysis: Analysis of error reporting data makes it possible to discover trends that are impacting your operations over time. Regular and reliable analysis, meanwhile, empowers teams to understand how errors are impacting your network at scale.

  4. Increasing development speed: The rise of DevOps teams speaks to the need for speed. Employees and end-users want access to new applications and updates as quickly as possible, and teams want built-in processes that empower this effort without compromising security. Continuous error reporting gives DevOps teams the data they need to make adjustments as software is being developed, rather than after the fact.

  5. Identifying root causes: The biggest benefit of error reporting? Identifying root causes. While solving for symptoms can temporarily pause problems, it won't address underlying issues, in turn creating circular concerns. Root cause identification gives teams the tools they need to solve problems permanently.

MTTD and MTTR: Why They Matter

Today, companies are increasingly recognizing that tracking some of the key metrics of error reporting and resolution can help DevOps teams understand their efficiencies and weaknesses.

Two of the most commonly used key performance indicators (KPIs) are mean time to detection (MTTD) and mean time to resolution (MTTR). MTTD is a measurement of the time elapsed between a failure and when relevant team members become aware of that failure–either from internal system monitoring or through user reporting. Similarly, by tracking MTTR, you can understand the average time it takes your team to fully resolve a failure, including any lag times between detection, diagnosis, and repair.

As you may have guessed, as MTTD and MTTR numbers decrease, the user experience improves–not only does your app become more reliable and competitive overall, but your team will be better able to focus resources and strategy on the most important or common issues.

How an Error Reporting Tool Can Reduce MTTD and MTTR

Fixing mobile software errors is a collaborative effort. Errors and crashes will be identified throughout the development lifecycle by developers, QA, testers, customer support, or users themselves. Unfortunately, there is often a time lag and loss of information as these errors get triaged and routed for resolution.

Sauce Labs Real Device Cloud and error monitoring and reporting from Backtrace allow mobile app development teams to capture, prioritize, and quickly resolve application errors in development, test, beta, or post-release. This enables teams to reduce their MTTD, making sure developers have all the information they need to fix the problem and push it to production. For example, Backtrace users have seen their MTTD reduced by up to 90% and MTTR reduced by 50%.

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