While humans are ever-adapting, the recent pandemic has forced a complete revamp of how we work and play.

As in-person meetings and conventions remain sparse, networking in other ways has become a new normal. Mobile app developers are applying key lessons and trends of online networking and socializing to capitalize on increasing global demand for virtual connectivity.

Trend 1: Collaborative and communal colleagues

Virtual conferencing is nothing new, but with the steady growth of use cases, a post-pandemic world will only see this trend grow. In fact, before COVID-19, 55 percent of companies allowed for remote work. That’s now expected to grow to 77 percent by 2022, with a market share estimated at $50B by 2026.

Unfortunately, research shows that one of the main challenges remote workers report is difficulty collaborating and loneliness from not seeing their coworkers. As companies worldwide embrace a remote-workforce, they must find ways to increase collaboration and communication in a physically-distant world.

Enter Microsoft’s Breakout Rooms. The feature allows meeting organizers to split a group video or audio call into divergent sessions for smaller group discussions. They can assign users to a room as well as add, remove, and rename individual rooms. Additionally, users can utilize it as a presentation platform for group meetings. They can even super-impose themselves over their presentation to make it feel more formal, similar to an office setting.

So what does this trend mean for mobile app developers?

With live video as accessible as it is, industries are using it for both internal and external purposes. However, it’s essential to diagnose and respond to any issues with overall streaming and potential drops in user impressions. Additionally, ensure mobile app user data is safe and secure to bypass any growing pains (like the and data breaches experienced by Zoom in early 2020). As such, the main issues QA testers must focus on are:

  • Functionality: does the stream slow down with more users?
  • Security: how can you ensure only those with permission can enter into the conversation
  • Usability: is virtually connecting to others intuitive and simple?

Ensure these outcomes with Testlio breakout rooms testing.

Trend 2: Long live live events

Beyond enterprise uses, however, the most compelling case for livestreaming is events. With a stay at home orders in place across much of the world, large-scale livestreaming has become significant. Webcasting events allows companies to expand beyond a physical, local audience. In some cases, events can extend beyond time, too.

Even though organizations cannot convene customers physically, a study from Pew Research shows 20 percent of US adults – 65 million people – livestreamed a concert or event during COVID-19. This is critical for B2B businesses knowing that trade shows are the second-largest source of B2B revenue in the US.

Companies must find new ways to engage customers in meaningful ways from a distance beyond traditional conference and event offerings. For successful events, consider recreating B2B opportunities with virtual exhibit halls and booths. From engaging with attendees via chat to direct emails and live video calls with exhibitors, there are various event features organizers can choose from. This is excellent news for mobile app developers as 78 percent of businesses noted that using an event-specific mobile app contributed to a positive event ROI.

So what does this trend mean for mobile app developers?

With so many working parts, the event app must be tested before launching to a live audience. Test the usability of crucial features with multi-device and various operating system combinations. Additionally, use a mix of manual, real device testing, and simulated tests via automation. Other QA attributes to pay attention to include:

  • Performance of event stream
  • Usability: Do breakout rooms and divided sessions on the virtual campus flow naturally?
  • Functionality: Is the picture and audio quality good? Can everyone join different sessions?
  • Analytics: Where is the event traffic? Who’s spending how much time where?

Learn more about Testlio’s approach to virtual event testing.

Trend 3: Social distance dating via video calls

The pandemic is affecting relationships. Divorce rates were a staggering 34 percent higher this summer compared to last. Whether you’re newly single or been on the prowl since pre-Covid, there’s a good chance you’ve checked out at least one dating app. According to Apptopia, between September and October of 2020, major dating apps grew considerably. For example, they reported that Match.com grew 21 percent.

While the pandemic can’t change the quality of potential mates, it has made conversations easier and allowed the opportunity to slow down to get to know each other. For those wanting to romance during the pandemic, you can no longer just send a few messages and meet up in person. As such, dating apps are retooling their features to fit the new dating landscape. It’s no wonder that many are turning to video chat as a study by UCLA found that video chat – more so than text and audio – heightens a sense of connectivity.

Launched in late 2019, The League first touted video chats as a way to woo one another. The exclusive dating app also recently added League Live, a video speed-dating feature. Users go on three video call dates lasting two minutes each. Additionally, the app launched a video chat feature that allows calls without exchanging phone numbers. Users can also add 10-second videos to their profiles.

Plenty of Fish released an online speed dating game called NextDate. Users can chat with potential matches for 90 seconds, then decide if they want to move to a one-on-one call. Match’s Vibe Check lets daters video chat for as long as they want inside the app, without disclosing personal contact information.

So what does this trend mean for mobile app developers?

Online daters are determined not to let social distancing get in the way of their search for love. In return, mobile dating apps must ensure users can always connect during the coronavirus by verifying functionality and usability.

  • Functionality: are calls being sent and received as expected?
  • Usability: does the video call function sit well with the rest of the UX? Is it easy to use?
  • Analytics testing: can the app-producer track who, when, and for how long people are on video calls?

Related: 6 ways to optimize dating app UX through testing

Ensure these outcomes with Testlio’s video chat testing. Ask for a personalized, guided tour.

Trend 4: Netflix and chill… virtually

Whether it’s a season premiere, the release of a new blockbuster, or the return of sports, there’s just something about getting together for a watch party. Sadly, social gatherings — even small ones — still come with risks. That’s why virtual watch parties have become all the rage. So much so, a study from Pew Research shows that 32 percent of US adults gathered online with friends during COVID-19.

There’s nothing worse, however than watching from afar and being seconds behind the excitement.

With its synchronized video playback and group chat features, Teleparty (formerly ‘Netflix Party’) allows users to stream Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and HBO with their friends.

By giving all group members access to controls, the overall idea is to provide a feeling of togetherness even if you’re not in the same room… Or house. Or country. Additionally, the Chrome extension has a side chat bar allowing members to discuss what they’re watching.

So what does this trend mean for mobile app developers?

Interactive commenting and chat features allow groups to sync their viewing and exchange messages. If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that connectivity and communication aren’t going anywhere. And even after borders reopen and travel restarts, these features will be prevalent and on a more global spectrum. To maintain user experience and engagement on entertainment apps, software developers will want to pay attention to the following testing types and uses:

  • Functionality: does the stream slow down with more users?
  • Usability: is connecting to friends intuitive and straightforward?
  • Analytics: is your data reporting multiple users as one viewer or gaining an accurate headcount?

Ensure the best outcomes with Testlio interactive commenting testing.

Two things have been proven over the last year: (1) you can forecast trends as much as you want, but a global pandemic can change needs in an instant, and (2) said global pandemic has facilitated an even greater need for technology. This combination of adaptation and adoption requires an efficient and effective mobile application testing strategy to ensure user experience aligns with business objectives.

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When you’re ready to dive into mobile app testing to aid in your success, contact Testlio to see how our comprehensive software testing offerings can help.

Dog owner, expat, gin lover. Allegedly wise to the ways of digital marketing, PR, and social media. Currently waging a war on mediocrity in communication and storytelling.