We’re thrilled to launch a new blog format – tech talks with remarkable IT professionals, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders across industries who also happen to be QAwerk clients.
In this interview, Jonathan Pass, COO of Magic Mountain, will look back on the journey the Magic Mountain team has taken to be where they’re right now. He talks about the product concept, what works and what doesn’t, where the fitness app development is headed, and shares a ton of other valuable insights. So stay tuned!
What is Magic Mountain?
Magic Mountain is a UK-based startup that came up with an idea of a social fitness app. Finding the motivation to work out or be active is often what people lack, especially if we’re talking long-term. The Magic Mountain app offers a solution to this issue by uniting people around fun challenges and making it feel like a game.
Magic Mountain syncs with wearables to automate activity tracking, yet inputting calories burned manually is also available. Magic Mountain’s motto is “Connect, Collaborate, Compete.” And that’s exactly what the app does – keeping family, friends, or colleagues competing for the highest spot on the virtual mountain, creating their own challenges, socializing, holding each other accountable, and showing off their results.
Magic Mountain is developed with inclusivity and human psychology in mind. It brings value not only to individual users but also to:
- companies introducing or redesigning their corporate wellness programs
- personal trainers trying out new ways to keep their clients engaged
- gyms building large fitness communities and getting them excited
- charities hosting movement challenges to raise funds
Magic Mountain helps people become better versions of themselves by giving them a reason to stay active, all while socializing and supporting other fitness enthusiasts.
Magic Mountain turned to us at the stage of redesigning their iOS and Android apps. QAwerk is known for its mobile testing expertise, so it was a perfect match.
Our primary goal was to help Magic Mountain polish both apps before launch, ensuring the user experience is on a par with that of tech market giants. Another important aspect was to thoroughly test the integration with wearables because that’s where things may get annoying for users, for example, when their hard work is not synced, and some data is lost.
Last but certainly not least is the challenge functionality, the app’s specialty. Since it presupposes interactions among multiple users using different devices, we needed to recreate all those scenarios and report any collaboration bugs or deviations from business logic or UI designs.
All our efforts were aimed at enabling Magic Mountain to up their game and become a subscription-based product. If you’d like to learn more about this partnership, be sure to request a free case study at the end of this interview.
According to Statista, health & fitness apps have just 4% retention rate on day 30. Do you believe investing in QA helps reduce customer churn?
— Yes. And number one, it doesn’t surprise me that there’s kind of a small percent standard in the market. We’re lucky enough to see much, much higher numbers than that. And I think that is ultimately down to two things. And one, as I mentioned previously, is around the app being engaging. But ultimately in the modern world we live in, people aren’t comparing a fitness app to another fitness app. They are comparing a fitness app to Facebook, or they’re comparing it to how Google runs the world.
And what they expect from Facebook, Google, Netflix, all of the big players, is that your app works. Your app works all the time. And the only way you get that is with really thorough QA. You just can’t without a decent QA team. You just can’t test all the possible scenarios. So many types of phones, platforms, you know, it’s impossible. So these days, if you are an app that crashes more than once on a user, people will just stop using you.
So having a really solid QA team backing up the developers, is one of the most important things in the development cycle.
— The fitness app market is projected to hit around 30 bln by 2026. Are there any developments or trends that may hinder this growth?
— I mean, look, you never know what’s going to come around the corner. I think, you know, COVID has taught us that apps in general and their ability to kind of democratize a process are just going to keep growing. You know, Joe Wicks with his kind of videos of homes wherever in the UK and around the world was fantastic. But actually, it was kind of specific. And the minute it went on to YouTube and came on demand, it saw massive growth, I think.
You never know what the next big thing is going to be. Certainly, I think for startups, the big players, Apple, Google, Strava are all moving rapidly into the more gamified fitness space. I think you have to be really unique to compete against those, yeah.
— Please introduce yourself.
— Hi. I’m Jon Pass. I’m the COO of Magic Mountain. Responsibilities right across the business from finance, legals, but kind of what we’re speaking right here today, I’m in complete control of our technology development and QA.
— What was the most valuable in this cooperation?
— I’ve worked with quite a few agencies in my time and I would say the biggest differentiation of QAwerk was their productivity and their communication. Lots and lots of good engineers and creatives I’ve worked with do an incredible job of taking a testing script, reading it, testing it across multiple devices, platforms, and writing very detailed steps to reproduce and issues when they arise. And that’s great. And it does a very good job of just making sure that functionally and technically your product works well.
What QAwerk did that I was really pleased with is as well as that they really embedded themselves in the team. You know, it wasn’t like we had a QA testing team and we had the Magic Mountain team. It was one team working together.
And as well as the technical – yes, this does what it should do. They stood up actually yeah, it does, but I’ve been playing around with this, and I don’t think that this user flow works that well. I don’t think these buttons are in the right place. Here’s the reasons why I think that is and, you know, proactively came back to us, the business, to say, I think we should change your designs or I think this user flow needs to be tweaked or actually have you thought about this additional feature?
Now for me, that goes from being, you know, a QA testing team into the development and design team. And all of that is just absolute value add. The communication was incredible from the very early stages when we met with the team, very proactive in discussing with us what the costing would be, very open about the cost model, very open about who they are bringing on and what the skills were of those people.
And then on the project, PM Christina was fantastic, continually gave us great feedback throughout. And the testing team we had, you know, due to world circumstances, which I think QAwerk did fantastically to continue working through. By the way, we had not many, but a small revolving number of testers. Everyone when they arrived knew what the product was and they met with us, they instantly landed in the team and we were just really happy to have them as team members, not as a kind of outsource service. They definitely feel that way.
Work With Ukraine
We’ve worked with Magic Mountain before and through the war and continue consistently delivering our QA services despite the trying times we’re living in. More so, all of our clients firmly stand with Ukraine. They extended our partnerships, never doubting our resiliency and ability to keep our word and deliver what’s expected.
So if you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of your app, retain more users, and make your product subscription-based, consider hiring a Ukrainian QA agency. You’ll get great results from people who are not afraid to work under pressure and who are now focused on work more than ever because that’s what keeps our economy afloat and helps us stay sane. People who’ll be genuinely invested and grateful for the trust and the ability to continue doing what they do best.
By hiring a Ukrainian IT vendor, you also make a tremendous contribution to supporting the local communities dependent on businesses like QAwerk that create jobs, volunteer, help the needy, and donate to nonprofits.
Stand with Ukraine by working with Ukraine!
See how we helped Magic Mountain
transition from MVP to Premium
with subscriptions growing daily
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What have you heard about Ukraine?
I’d actually been to Ukraine.
Probably about 15 years ago or something, we went to Odesa and Kyiv for a few days. I remember Odesa was really cool with all these clubs by the sea, that was fun.
This summer I was there three times, and I was like super relaxed. With, like, super crowded bars. I was sure I would bring back the coronavirus, but I didn’t.
Yeah, so it was just no more.
No, maybe because it’s a southern city, or I don’t know why. But many people from Kyiv went there for holidays and for weekends, and it was full of people from Kyiv, actually. But everyone came back super healthy.