Eliminating the Curse of App Crashes

by July 13, 2018

Put an end to dreaded app crashes with CA App Experience Analytics 

 

This is the era of technology where the invention of mobile applications has led to the enablement of a new kind of market that sits right in your pocket. The clear evidence is the companies investing heavily in bringing B2C applications to the market.  And with the surplus of mobile apps available to choose from, it is more important than ever that your application delivers a great user experience.

For application stakeholders, an app crash is likely their worst nightmare. Depending upon the criticality of the application, a crash, or even slowness, can have the potential to completely damage the reputation of the business. With the advent of social media negative reviews are like wildfire, causing both damage to the brand reputation and indirect monetary loss.

In order to avoid this, it’s imperative that you have the proper tools in place to monitor and collect the data needed to remediate issues before your customers are affected.

What causes an application to crash?

To avoid issues, we must first understand the potential actions that can cause them. There can be a lot of reasons for an application to crash, but the most common are:

  • New Releases
  • 3rd Party dependencies like APIs
  • Poor memory management due to device fragmentation
  • Slow User Carrier Network causing timeouts to the back-end or poor app responsiveness.
  • Inadequately tested Beta releases (Immediate Bug fixed app version without significant testing)

How to recover from crashes with app analytics

We understand that crashes are sometimes unavoidable and occur when you are least expecting it. Hence it is important to have a watchful eye over its occurrences and take the necessary steps for remediation asap.

CA App Experience Analytics (CA AXA) is a unique analytics solution that provides complete visibility into digital performance and customer experience across web, mobile, and wearable devices – allowing for proactive, real-time insights into user behavior, buyer trends, and Omnichannel performance.

The CA App Experience Analytics SDK collects the device details at the time of an app crash and uploads them to the CA App Experience Analytics server when the app is launched the next time. The uploaded stack trace of the crash provides insights into crash-related data and helps you analyze the crashes to identify problems in the code or services.

Crash behavior identification

The moment you log in to CA App Experience Analytics you will immediately be able to see any problematic apps (ranked by the number crashes).

CA App Experience Analytics – Analytics Overview

 

You can then click on the problematic application to drill down further. Here, you can see a app overview, which includes key performance data.

CA App Experience Analytics – App Overview

App Crashes & Errors: For crashes specifically, CA App Experience Analytics is helpful in identifying the crash pattern across the application’s distribution in the marketplace. We can see useful information which helps us in isolating the issues such as:

  • Crashes by Platform: Segregation of crashes depending on the type of end user’s platform e.g. (Android, iOS)
  • Crashes by Devices: Segregation of crashes depending on the type of end user’s device model e.g. (Apple, Google, Samsung, iOS)
  • Crashes by Carrier: Segregation of crashes depending on the type of end user’s cell phone carrier e.g. (Vodafone, Orange, AT&T etc.)

CA App Experience Analytics – App Crashes

 

  • App Version: Segregation of crashes based on the app release version. This is helpful to identify if any newly released application is the culprit for all the crash occurrences.

    CA App Experience Analytics – Crashes by App Version

  • App Flows: This is a very immersive feature that allows business owners (using CA advanced analytics) to understand the user journey. It also shows if there are crashes for a particular screen in the user journey.

CA App Experience Analytics – App Flows

 

Clicking on the screen also gives us the crashed session details for the user flow. This is helpful in pinpointing the exact session that experience a crash and understand the events leading to the error.

CA App Experience Analytics – Session Details

 

  • App Sessions: A session is a user interaction recorded activities which capture the overall application events. We can easily select Crashed from the App Sessions Menu and see all the Crashed Sessions (marked as red).

CA App Experience Analytics – App Sessions/ App Crashes

 

This feature allows you to which customer experience the crash and also provides an option for the user to leave feedback after experiencing an error to better help stakeholders understand the problem.

CA App Experience Analytics – Crash Session Details

 

The most awesome feature of CA App Experience Analytics (in my opinion) is the ability to see a video replay of the crashed session, demonstrating exactly what the user did to generate a crash.

CA App Experience Analytics – Session Video

 

Crash Alerting and Remediation

CA App Experience analytics also enables proactive monitoring by allowing you to set Alerts on the number of crash occurrences for your applications. You can then set alert notifications via email to the administrator or execute a shell script to take necessary remediation.

CA App Experience Analytics – Alerts

 

The alerted administrator would receive an email with the crashed session and a link which will directly take the individual to the crashed session on the admin console for further perusal of the crash to determine the cause of the issue, through stack trace analysis.

By clicking into a specific crash, an admin can quickly see key information such as user feedback, crash type, etc. and export the crash details to dev for remediation.

CA App Experience Analytics – Crash Details

 

In the below screenshot stack trace, a developer can quickly understand the cause for the crash and the erroneous line number in the crash. E.g. In the below line a developer can see that line number 361 in ‘CrashViewController.m’ is causing the application to crash.

CA App Experience Analytics – Stack trace

 

The developer can quickly navigate to the Application project, fix the erroneous line and roll out a tested version of the working copy, stopping further crashes from occurring within its user base.

 

Get started today

In all my interactions with customers, I have experienced that crashes are the most dreaded form of a failure for application stakeholders. This is where CA App Experience Analytics can help to not only proactively alert you to crashes, but also help you quickly determine the root cause and remediate the problem.

To truly experience the power of CA App Experience Analytics, I encourage you to get started with a free 30-day SaaS trial – available through CA Digital Experience Insights.