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Monitoring Mobile Users Valentine’s Day By @Neotys | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Is mobile monitoring different than normal website monitoring?

Hearts on the Go: Monitoring Mobile Users This Valentine's Day

Millions of consumers will flock to stores, boutiques and florists to pick up gifts for their loved ones this Valentines Day. Just as big box stores will see an increase in foot traffic, web outlets will also see more consumer transactions in the days prior. In fact, the National Retail Federation data suggests that one fourth of this year's Valentines Day shoppers will purchase gifts online, as consumer confidence has risen year-over-year. This holiday's average forecasted spending per household for online shoppers lands at $199 which is 13% higher than last year's online shoppers, and 40% higher than all Valentines Day shoppers.

With increased mobile use, it is important to remember to test both your web and mobile application versions, and everything in between. If not, you may think that your mobile site will be prepared to handle the load, when it might not. We can learn a lot from what happened to Best Buy on last year's Black Friday. They didn't plan for consumers to swarm their ecommerce site via smartphone at the rate that had occurred, which triggered a site crash and forced them to take orders over the phone.

You need to be treating today's mobile users as omni-channel users and they should no longer be seen as a separate entity. In this post, we'll give you some tips for how to do that.

Is Mobile Monitoring Different Than Normal Website Monitoring?
Mobile application performance monitoring is similar to web application monitoring in many aspects, but there a few key differences worth noting. More factors force their way between your product and the end-user when they are on a mobile device, which means that more variation will present itself and lead to different user experiences. They may experience poor connectivity, interruptions on their own phone (other apps, calls, texts) and real world interruptions that will all lead to poor user experience if proper precautions are not taken.

Different Networks for Different Folks
When talking performance monitoring, it is important to realize that wireless networks all over the world have different characteristics. As a developer, you should look into understanding which carriers are producing the most customers and cater to their needs. Once a market trend can be seen across networks, it is imperative to test these carrier networks on high-use days such as Valentine's Day, Black Friday and other holidays that may be tough to plan for. Here at Neotys, we have a great cloud-based tool for real-time distributed testing, that you can learn more about here.

Figure Out the Most Loved Devices
Aside from examining key markets and testing networks, you should become familiar with the configurations of the devices most commonly used. Much of this work is best completed in pre-production testing of your app, when you use a combination of real devices and emulators to test the full breadth and depth of potential user experiences. Remember, there are a wide number of different device specifications (screen size, features, and processing speeds), so you always need to be aware of what people are using to visit your site, especially if there are any problem areas where issues may arise. Once your app is live, you'll probably be best off setting up emulators for live in production monitoring. That will give you the best bang-for-the-buck during simulated user testing.

Why Use Simulated Users?
In the same way that you use simulated users to test live load performance against web applications, you'll want to use them to test how users are experiencing mobile applications as well. Pay particular attention to how mobile users walk through detailed transactions, and what happens when interruptions take place, like phone calls or loss of battery power. Simulated users shield real users from being the ones exposed to a poor experience. At Neotys, our NeoSense product makes it easy to set up simulated users that execute exactly the same tests you run in load testing through its integration with NeoLoad.

Mobile Web vs Mobile App
When buying products (especially on marquee buyer holidays such as Valentine's Day), there is a good chance that users are completing transactions on the mobile version of your website, which they access on their mobile browser. In these cases, system monitoring and testing processes will be very similar to what you already have in place. Your infrastructure will be able to handle both mobile testing and web testing.

However, if users are using a native mobile application to interact with your business, it gets more difficult to monitor. Games with in-app purchases or specialized apps like Facebook messenger are perfect examples this -- apps that don't have a direct parallel on your website, but still can place load on your servers. In these cases, you won't be able to rely solely on the same infrastructure for scripting usage scenarios when creating simulated load for monitoring purposes. You'll have to rely on strategies that involve using the real devices or device emulators.

Keep Mobile User Monitoring Close to Your Heart
Although your ecommerce-based site may be ready for a large amount of users on web, it is important to remember to account for heavy mobile phone traffic reaching out to your website, web-based app or mobile app. Learning more about the monitoring methods, networking, mobile device technical abilities and simulated user experiences is only going to help your efforts and will make it a smooth, worry-free night out with your loved one. Unless you've forgotten it was Valentine's Day, in which case it might not be as smooth after all.

More Stories By Tim Hinds

Tim Hinds is the Product Marketing Manager for NeoLoad at Neotys. He has a background in Agile software development, Scrum, Kanban, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing practices.

Previously, Tim was Product Marketing Manager at AccuRev, a company acquired by Micro Focus, where he worked with software configuration management, issue tracking, Agile project management, continuous integration, workflow automation, and distributed version control systems.