One bad App can ruin your health

How do users react when their mobile applications aren’t performing up to expectations? How frustrated do they become? These were answers we sought out to find when we started the App Attention Span Research with the University of London. We wanted to find quantitative proof to see how poor performing apps affect our emotions, and discovered some exciting results. We all know how it makes us feel but we needed to take a more scientific approach to understanding the emotions poor performing apps drive.

So last month we conducted a joint study with the University of London to discover how users react when the performance of mobile applications aren’t up to expectations. We took actual app users as case studies and put them in a scientific lab – with some really lousy apps for company. No need to have a clandestine “mood” study without users knowing (cough, cough, Facebook, cough), our participants were willing and provided some compelling results.

The study gave us great insight into how glitchy, slow, and unstable apps affect users’ app preference, and how terrible performance impacts their emotions. Sure, we expected the lab research to reveal a certain level of user frustration. However, frustration levels were much higher than we thought. And, as we later found out, this directly leads to a sharp spike in users deleting and uninstalling apps that don’t meet their expectations.

App makers, take note.

The University of London’s Director of innovation Chris Brauer – our research lead – observed, “Users experience a lot of negative emotions and frustrations when trying to complete some digital tasks and apps or Web pages are slow to load.”

It is also clear that our patience wears thin in today’s app-enabled world. As Chris Brauer puts it; “Our attention span demands have adapted dramatically to the available technologies.” In short, if we’re not getting the performance from one app we’ll simply move onto another. Despite this lack of patience, results from the study demonstrated that in many cases, people are now becoming more loyal to an app than a brand.

“Consumer expectations regarding apps are really high, so when people’s experience is not satisfying, they are going to go elsewhere and look for an alternative. It’s therefore very important for app developers and service providers to test and optimize.”

Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology, University of London, and Managing Director of i2 media research at Goldsmiths

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 9.26.18 AM

Don’t stress me out.

One thing we found especially surprising was the level emotional distress that inferior mobile app performance caused. Despite how melodramatic this may sound, the impact on our guinea pigs was substantial. The three most common reactions were frustration, stress, and disappointment. Yes: stress.

As one of our UK case studies, Will Marshall, put it: “It is very frustrating and can make you anxious that apps often don’t work just when you need them to be there, like on a train. Disruption of digital routine can also be very stressful.”

In short, frustrations stem from the high expectations we have for the apps that are never far from our fingertips. We expect them to respond instantaneously and perform without any stalls or crashes; which means the margin of error that app developers have to work with is quickly diminishing. As a result, mobile application performance has never been more critical.

We’ve also created this infographic showcasing some of the interesting data points from the study:

To check out the full report and detailed data, click here.

Relieve your users’ frustration by gaining visibility into the performance of your mobile applications with AppDynamics Mobile RUM today.

For a introduction to AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring, watch our On-Demand Webinar now.

Game of Phones – All Apps Must Thrive

As the fourth installment of HBO’s ever popular hit series, Game of Thrones, premiered this past Saturday, millions of viewers were frustrated to find out HBO Go crashed due to overwhelming demand. A discouraging sign for fans who wanted to watch the highly-anticipated premiere.

An HBO Go representative confirmed the technical issues in a statement to TechCrunch:

“HBO GO did experience issues due to overwhelming demand around the premiere of Game of Thrones. The service has returned to several platforms and we are working hard towards full recovery, which we expect soon.”

TechCrunch also points out this isn’t the first time HBO Go has experienced issues because of overwhelming demand. There was a brief outage last month during the True Detective season-finale.

But as fans, as technical folks, we must ask: why?

Similar apps, like the AppDynamics-monitored NBCUniversal, experienced little to no trouble with increased demand — over 700,000 tuned in to watch the USA vs. Russia hockey game during the past Winter Olympics.

AppDynamics also recently announced our Mobile APM solution – monitoring both iOS and Android apps. HBO, it’s time to let us help. You missed a great opportunity to surprise and delight Game of Thrones enthusiasts who were hoping to stream the premier episode glitch-free.

With the ground-breaking end-to-end performance detection technology and reporting capabilities provided with AppDynamics Mobile Application Monitoring you can proactively see and respond quickly to application degradation, crashes, hangs, and failed network requests. You can also understand crash metrics by device, geography, OS and application version. So HBO’s outage could have been proactively avoided altogether, or at the very minimum resolved in a fraction of the time.

Take five minutes to get complete visibility into the performance of your production applications with AppDynamics today.


Introducing AppDynamics for Mobile Beta, Available for iOS and Android

According to a report from Kleiner Perkins, mobile applications now account for 15% of all Internet traffic, with 1.5 billion users worldwide. This means that the performance of mobile applications is more important than ever both to the end users and to the companies that depend on them for their revenue. So we are very excited to announce that AppDynamics now offers end user monitoring for mobile applications! With AppDynamics for Mobile you can now get insights into the performance of your native mobile apps for iOS and Android, allowing you to ensure that your mobile users have a great experience from the moment they open the app.

The complexity of modern applications makes end-to-end monitoring essential for all production applications, whether they’re run in a browser or on a smartphone. A typical architecture for a mobile/web application consists of multiple services:

Mobile SOA Architecture

With AppDynamics for Mobile, you get complete visibility into the end user experience across mobile and web with the end user experience dashboard:

AppDynamics For Mobile

See the performance of API calls from your mobile application to the server side:

AppDynamics for Mobile

Get a better understanding of your audience and where to focus development efforts with analytics on device, carriers, OS, and application versions:

AppDynamics For Mobile

Want to start monitoring your iOS or Android application today? Sign up for our beta program to get the full power of AppDynamics for your mobile apps.

Mobile APM

AppDynamics for iOS and Android Applications

mobileUp until 6 months ago, I owned a Droid X cell phone. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life–18 months of my life controlled by a cell phone operating system that crashed more times than Windows 95, and that’s an impressive statistic. So when I finally got my hands on an iPhone 5, it felt like I got part of my life back. Mobile devices and apps have become central to my life, both from a work and social perspective. My end user experience, lack of patience, and general happiness is therefore dictated by vendors and providers of such devices and apps.

For example, the other day I downloaded one of several iPhone apps available for I was actually looking to buy a car and wanted to browse quickly through all that data without having to click, scroll, and browse through pages of data. Anyway, I opened the app, waited 10 seconds and it froze before it eventually disappeared into thin air. No error message, no apology, just a broken useless app with a crap user experience. I did wonder if the vendor who created this app actually knew their app was crap from any logging code they might have embedded in the app to notify them of crashes. Anyway, I went back into the App Store and downloaded another app and that worked–which goes to show a competitor is just one download away.

It therefore fills me with supreme excitement to announce that AppDynamics will be able to inform these vendors of how their devices, OS and apps are performing–and more importantly what the end user experience is for their customers. It will help them deliver more happiness and goodness to people like me. Yup, that’s right: AppDynamics will be able to monitor the performance and health of native iOS and Android apps, the handset operating system, and the interactions these entities have with remote service providers and server-side application logic when they request and process data.

Mobile applications can differ significantly in UI and architecture; they can simply operate through standard OS web browser like Safari or Chrome, which then connect to backend server-side logic. The vast majority involve native application code running on the device that are downloaded from places like Google Play or App Store. You even have native application code that wraps around the OS web browser to give the user experience or impression that you’re surfing the web, thus allowing vendors to re-use existing server-side content through their mobile apps.

I drew this pretty picture to visualize the complexity of this challenge:

Mobile RUM You might think monitoring mobile apps or their devices is a walk in the park. The reality is that the monitoring agents used to collect such data from iOS or Android apps is the simple part. The complexity is taking all that performance data from thousands of applications across billions of devices and converting it all into information, so vendors can understand and enhance their end user experience with it. That’s why we at AppDynamics designed and built a brand new data collection service so it could support data from billions of devices and crunch several hundred billion events a minute. There’s no point delivering a new monitoring service for our customers if it didn’t scale and perform, that would be like Porsche delivering a new 911 Turbo that did zero to sixty in 10 seconds–totally unacceptable.

AppDynamics is laser-focused on helping customers understand their mobile end user experience. Stay tuned–there’s a ton of cool sh!t on the way.


When Mobile Applications go Mad (and Crash)

Apple has done a stellar job with their development platform and iOS. In fact, they’ve done a stellar job turning my living room into an apple showroom. If you asked me 10 years ago whether my laptop, mouse, keyboard, monitor, phone, music player, TV and tablet would be colored white with an Apple logo I would have probably laughed in your face. The only Microsoft thing left in my house now is an XBOX, and it won’t be long before that turns white as well. Being married also presents a problem in that I now have two of everything, because sharing isn’t caring when it comes to Apple gadgets. With Apple technology being “cool” and widely adopted by millions of users, you can see why every business is migrating their applications to iOS for an improved end user experience. One of our customers recently made the move, and here’s a story of how their new iPhone app crashed their entire mission-critical web application….and I bet you weren’t expecting me to say that, were you?

An unusual spike in performance

Below is screenshot from AppDynamics that shows monitoring data for the customers online web application over the last month. The application has approximately 250 IIS instances, a dozen databases, a dozen web services and a distributed cache.