Best Practices for Application Development Performance Testing

There is more to delivering a complete digital experience than just page load times and speed. Performance testing is critical in any application development process and software testers and developers are quickly adopting multi-layered testing techniques above the regular application performance tests conducted on a specific schedule.

In this article, we will review some of the most important and some of the best practices for application performance testing.

Focus on User Experience

App developers must set a baseline for user experience when it comes to application development performance testing. The question you should be asking yourself is: How satisfied are my application users? Performance tests should be geared towards improving the overall user experience.

Ensuring application performance stability is key to improving the user experience. Rather than simply looking at app page load times, your performance testing plan should be more holistic. Other factors like the test environment, performance acceptance criteria and app configurations also impact how you can improve user experience through performance testing.  

Realistic Tests are the Way to Go

Having millions of clients on a server cluster may be the perfect environment to conduct stress tests, but it’s not going to accurately measure how your application or site performs in a real-world scenario. Your testing environment must clearly reflect the variety of devices used to access your website as well as client environments used to access the system.

With variability in mind, developers can expect to learn a lot and face fewer surprises once the application or site is put to real-world use. As applications are developed, updated and rolled out, systems they’re running on will be under load. Being able to conduct real-time performance tests during the various stages of app development in varying test environments is key.  

Performance Issues Must be Correlated to Underlying Problems

Let’s say you’re now measuring app performance from a user’s perspective and have a robust testing environment in place. What’s next? To ensure that your app development performance tests are effective, your testing plan should correlate performance issues with the underlying problems. Without doing so, improving app performance will be hard.

The first step to addressing application performance problems is to fully understand the root cause or causes so that appropriate steps can be taken. App developers must conduct deeper analysis during tests to get better visibility over application performance using the right APM tools.

Performance Testing as Part of Agile Development

Many times, application performance testing has long been isolated as a separate step, usually at the end of an app or site development project. The problem with this approach is that if a problem is discovered, it will likely be too late to fix it. This could significantly delay your project by throwing your development team into a frenzy.

To avoid such issues, performance testing needs to be integrated into the development process. Performance engineers must be tasked with the responsibility of measuring and tracking application performance as the code is developed, one step at a time, within the entire development cycle. This ensures that issues are fixed in real-time.

Putting it All Together  

The key to effective application performance testing is taking a broad view of performance. Have you thought of what users are looking for most? How about the infrastructure you will need to conduct realistic tests? How can you trace problems to the source? Do you have a way to collaborate with your developers?

Incorporating user analytics into your performance testing strategy is key to improving your testing efforts. If you’re uncertain about what kind of testing you should be doing or where to focus your testing, you should simply look at what your application users are telling you.