A few days ago, in a galaxy resembling our own, the newest trailer for "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" was released with extreme excitement. As the 2-minute sneak peak into J.J. Abrams' latest film aired, movie-goers and Jedi-lovers around the world flocked to Fandango, AMC and ticket distribution services' websites. With so much pressure on servers, those companies saw their sites explode like Alderaan.
Despite successfully selling a large portion of the new Star Wars' opening-day tickets, Forbes reported that Fandango, AMC, Regal, Alamo Drafthouse and Odeon all experienced server crashes due to an abundance of eager "Star Wars" fans looking for theater seats. In fact, the source noted that Fandango specifically saw traffic increase seven-fold over its previous highs. Of course, many consumers were left in the dark as a result, sitting on a crashed Web page, and they were unable to buy tickets on the first day of pre-sale.
A new hope?
Regardless of the trouble that some faced when trying to buy tickets online, others proclaimed success across social media thanks to Fandango’s mobile app. With a system that carries over user data and favorites, the app was able to provide consumers with a clear trench run straight into theaters — in other words, fans bought tickets on the Fandango mobile app, circumventing the website problems. But, all good things must come to an end and eventually a vast majority of online ticket-purchasing websites crashed and Fandango's mobile app joined the ranks.
"Theaters can use this Death Star-sized catastrophe as an example to improve their mobile apps."
While it's understandable that the rush for tickets crashed servers and mobile apps, last Monday's events highlighted the importance of continuous quality. There wasn’t much that could have been done in real time to prevent the ticketing disaster, but Fandango, AMC, Regal and other theaters can use that Death Star-sized catastrophe as an example to improve their mobile apps and underlying systems with added performance testing of real user conditions and monitoring of the app in production, which will mitigate the chances of a similar event occurring when Episode IIX and IX tickets go on sale in the coming years.
Fandango strikes back
In fact, Fandango performed admirably given the circumstances, and when looking at its mobile strategy, it’s clear why: The company leverages agile testing strategies to proactively prevent bugs and glitches, delivering a great user experience out of the gate.
Variety reported that Fandango uses tools to identify user behaviors and habits, ensuring continuous quality throughout digital interactions with the company's services. "Remove pain points" is a motto at Fandango, according to the source, and it shows: Its mobile app boasts a four and a half star rating on both the App Store and Google Play.
Additionally, Fandango demonstrates an eagerness to perform mobile app testing. Philly.com reported that the online movie ticket seller is developing "scannerless tickets" for mobile devices, and these capabilities are currently being tested around the U.S., likely on a variety of real mobile devices. Given how these new ticketing tools work — GPS and smartphone screen watermarks — rigorous mobile app testing is definitely a requirement to keep up with the Jedi masses.
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