Create or Edit a Mobile App Journey

New with AppAssurance 1.2: The journey recorder has improved ways to interact with an element. This makes it more accurate on replay and can allow you to use different devices for the same journey.

Overview

Create tests to validate analytics tags, simulate user journeys, test critical action paths, or verify external data calls in a mobile app. Critical action paths are those most important steps taken by users in an app. AppAssurance can help you detect if users have a bad experience with your app because they cannot do some critical process, such as create an account or make a purchase.

App journeys execute a series of steps (taps, swipes, keystrokes, etc.) to navigate and simulate how an actual user would interact with the mobile app. The first action in a test always launches the app. As you interact with the app on-screen, it records all your interactions, such as logging into the app, searching, navigating from screen to screen, using gestures, waiting for a video to load and play, and running the app in the background. In addition, any of your custom or pre-defined rules can be run during a step for tag validation.

Normally mobile journeys are run during the development cycle to:

  • Validate analytics and other tags
  • Validate user journey interactions
  • Monitor tag deployment and validate against your Solution Design Reference (SDR) or variable map.

During your mobile app's development phase, each major version of your code should be tested for tag regression, user journey, and SDR validation.

In addition, once a mobile app is deployed, the app should still undergo regular testing even though the code would not be changed until the next development cycle. Periodic testing assures you that web calls to analytics proxies or external data sources are still online and working. If an analytics or tag management vendor makes changes to the API that the mobile app calls, the data collection could also change. Or an external data source may change and not deliver the same content into the app as when it was first deployed. A regularly scheduled test helps identify these issues in a timely way. And, with ObservePoint’s alerting system you’ll be the first to know if an issue does arise.

Setting Up the App Journey

A Journey consists of a name, device configuration and at least one step. Rules to validate the steps or analytics values can be added, but are optional. Upload the mobile app (see Mobile Uploads) before trying to configure a journey.

Click Add New -> Mobile App in the left navigation bar to start creating an app journey.

Journey Name (required)

  • A good strategy for naming the journey is to add the app version number (or indicate if it is a beta version) and the operating system. This will help you easily identify what mobile app your journey is testing. Use labels (see below) instead of long names.

Select App (required)

  • Choose the app to which this journey should belong. If you have multiple versions of an app uploaded, you can create copies of the journey and apply each to a different version of the app by changing this setting.

Select Device (required)

  • The list will show all supported ObservePoint emulator devices for your app. The devices will display depending on the operating system of the uploaded app file. The device you select will decide which operating system you can select in the next step.

Select Operating System (required)

  • Choose the operating system you want to run the journey on. You might consider running the test on multiple operating systems by copying the journey and choosing different OS versions for each.

Select Location (optional)

  • Choose a regional proxy from which to run the app. This can be helpful for testing geographic restrictions on the app. When a geographic restriction is not configured to accommodate the testing location, an error will most likely appear in your app.

Select Keyboard Language (optional)

  • Choosing a keyboard language affects the type of keyboard that displays on the app screen during the journey. Use it to simulate a user with a French, German, Japanese, or English (default) keyboard. If you need additional Language Options please contact your Data Governance Consult to make the feature request for you.

Add Labels (optional)

  • Use labels to help you organize your journeys by applying common descriptions. This allows you to keep your journey names short while making it easy to categorize your journeys in multiple ways. See Best Practices: Labels.

Exclude List (optional)

  • The Exclude list allows you to specify network requests that should not be run through an SSL proxy. For example, many apps have secure requests that trigger a security alert when running through a proxy. If you are experiencing security alerts while trying to run an App Journey, speak with your organization's security team about network requests that may be triggering these alerts within an App. This field uses regular expressions.

Schedule (required)

  • Choose the frequency to run the journey and the number of times to run it. You can run it up to 3 times, which helps identify inconsistent data issues. The runs begin simultaneously at approximately the same time.

Finish Webhook URL

  • A webhook is a way to set up a notification system so that when the ObservePoint servers have completed an app journey, another application can be notified. The field to enter the Webhook URL is under Journey Setup for app journeys. Whatever URL you enter for the Webhook URL, the journey triggers that URL when it is complete. The URL entered for the Webhook must be an HTTP endpoint that receives POST requests.

Launch Application from (optional)

  • Apps can be launched to show their home screens or another landing screen deeper within the app. If you choose Deeplink URL, be sure to specify the actual link. If your app requires authentication, it will redirect you to your deep link landing page after successfully logging in. See Deep Linking for more information.

Recording Actions

Once you've filled out the general Journey Setup tab, click Continue to record the actions. The app automatically launches when you open the Actions tab. The launch is always the first step.

Now, interact with the app just as if you were holding it in your hands. Use the mouse to tap, swipe (hold and drag), press keys on the virtual keyboard and so forth. All your interactions are recorded on the right side of the screen as steps. You can rename, add rules to, and delete any step by hovering over the step and choosing the option.

You can record the following Actions:

Launch Application

  • This will always be the first action in your action list. This launches the application in the simulation to start a journey. You cannot change the first action.

Input Text

  • Click into a text field to begin typing. Be sure to press Enter on the device keyboard or create a tap action on the screen to save the text.

Swipe

  • Click on the screen with the mouse and drag. Releasing the left mouse button to create this action.

Tap

  • This is a typical click action. Click with the mouse on a button or select characters on a keyboard. If you tap on a button and expect a screen to take a few seconds to load, the best practice is to add a small wait time after the tap action.

Home

  • The App recorder allows you to press on the Home button for iOS and Android. On an Android device, the step saves as a "Tap"; on an iOS device, the step saves as "home".

Click the name of the step to rename it. Click Rules to add one or more rules from the Rule Picker. Hover over the step to see the delete icon (x).

Controlling Playback

The left sidebar has additional controls:

app journey action control panel
The side panel has options for controlling the app journey.

 1: Playback

 This starts at the beginning of the journey and plays each step through to the end. Or if you select Playback at a step other than the first one, it will playback starting from that step. You can watch each step execute to verify that you've captured each one as you intended. The best practice is to playback the journey before saving.

 2: Pause

 Pause on a step to make the journey stop so you can edit, delete, or insert a new step.

 3: Next Step

 Use this to manually step through a series of actions step by step. The journey must be paused first before you can step through manually with this button.

 4: Restart

 This deletes all the steps and resets the emulator back to the launch screen.

 5: Device Scale

Move the slider up and down to zoom the device in or out.

6: Device Rotate

  This adds a step to rotate the screen to landscape or portrait.

Note on Wait Steps: As of release 1.2 (October 2019), the Wait option was discontinued. Journeys created before then with a wait step have retained them for backward compatibility. See Adding New Steps below for instructions on pausing the journey.

Editing App Journeys

Once an app journey is saved, new steps can be added to or inserted into the list. The step actions cannot be directly edited because they are saved in x,y coordinates, but a step can be removed and a revised step inserted into its place.

Preparing the App

Open an app journey and click into the Actions tab to see the list of steps. Wait for the journey to automatically play through the steps. This prepares it for adding or inserting new steps. You can't edit the journey until the playback finishes.

Click on the Add New Steps button when the journey completes playing and the app is ready to insert or add new steps.

Adding New Steps

Add new steps by interacting with the app. New interactions will be automatically recorded and appended to the end.

The app recorder tries to wait until all activity is stopped, but sometimes an interaction needs additional time before the app goes on to the next step. When this is the case, you can manually add a timer to a step that will delay the next step. Hover over the step itself and type in the number of seconds to pause on that step. The pause takes place at the end of the action, just before going to the next step.

Inserting New Steps

Insert a step by hovering over a step and clicking on the plus icon (+). This inserts the step after the one you've hovered over. The journey immediately plays the journey to that point, preparing for the new step. Any interaction you make with the app after the playback will be automatically recorded at the insertion point.

To make sure the inserted steps work as expected, replay the entire journey before saving it. Then save it and run it.

Removing Steps

Discard a step by hovering the mouse over any step and clicking the trash can icon (+). Discarding a step permanently deletes it. If you make a mistake, click the Cancel button in the bottom left corner and exit without saving.

To make sure the inserted steps work as expected, replay the entire journey before saving it. Then save it and run it.

Additional Notes

  • You may either use the virtual keyboard or your regular keyboard as an input device for entering text into a text box.
  • When the Home button is pressed, the app is sent to the background. You may return to the app the same way you would on your actual device (such as by double-clicking the home button or clicking the app's icon).
  • If any screen takes a long time to load fully, consider adding a wait step in order to give the screen time for all activity to take place.
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