Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...
Posted by Ed Bryan on Nov 14, 2012
A visualisation of all of the code and asset file changes made in the service of creating Nosy Crow apps over 6 months (taken from this blog).
We’re busy putting the finishing touches to Rounds: Parker Penguin and my time is now being spent fixing bugs. Bugs can be parts of the app that aren’t working properly, art assets that don’t look or move quite right, and features we can tweak to be even better.
Whilst an app is being developed we are always testing to make sure that each build works better than the last and we regularly let children lose with our iDevices to see how they respond to the app. I’ve found that simply standing back and watching the children using the device and apps is the best way to get valid feedback about the parts they enjoy and the parts they have trouble with. We can then use these observations to shape what we’re doing.
Before we release anything to the App Store we spend many, many hours doing a lot of final testing to find and fix every bug we can to be sure the product is ready for you.
There are two parts to this final testing. Firstly we want to make sure that everything we’ve put in the app functions correctly, like collecting all the items needed to make Cinderella’s coach, or making sure all the name changes in Franklin Frog happen at the right place in the story and checking that you can’t push all the frog spawn out of the pond and leave it floating in mid-air!
The second thing we do is try really hard to break the app in as many creative ways as possible. A good example of this is the famous child-puts-all-their-fingers-on-the-device-at-once trick, which can be sure to cause an app to freeze or quit out! I’ll find myself going backwards and forwards through the app, tapping and swiping in silly places, seeing what happens if I try dropping the pumpkin on Cinderella’s head instead of giving it to her Godmother, or making all the characters in a scene talk at once, or sending the device to sleep then waking it up and doing it all over again until the app crashes!
As the developer, you’re doing everything you can to put your software through a lifetime of use before you release it.
Of course, we have to do all this across an ever increasing selection of iDevices with different versions of iOS, and we’ve just added Android into the mix too. It’s a critical job for us and one that is growing all the time!
We want children to enjoy our apps again and again and again, in the same way that many children have a favourite book or favourite toy. Testing is vital to make sure that when you’re sitting with your children helping Bizzy Bear to build a house or finding out what frogs eat with Franklin, you know the app will delight rather than frustrate.
If you do ever have any issues with our apps, please don’t hesitate to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to help. And if you’d like to be kept up-to-date with all our app releases, you can sign up to our app announcement mailing list here.