Do you believe in the myth that every test case or scenario can be automated completely and effectively, and that manual testing is no longer necessary? If you don’t, that’s good news. But if you do believe in that myth, it’s time to reassess your approach towards software quality. Not all test cases or scenarios can be automated properly, and at times though automation is possible to achieve, it will not be the right path for you because of factors like ROI, repeatability, and so on. We know for a fact that manual testing is still an irreplaceable and integral part of software testing that one has to master to attain maximum quality. It has been instrumental in helping us deliver the best Mobile Testing Services to our clients. So we have curated this blog by covering the various effective manual mobile-app testing strategies we have been using over the years.
Let’s lay a roadmap first and then work around the other aspects that one should concentrate on to perform effective manual mobile-app testing. You might have the greatest tool in your hand, but it will be of much use if you don’t use it correctly. Likewise, we should know when to use manual testing and when to use automation. The very first step would be to create an effective plan, and you should know the possible resources you can use to fulfill your vision.
Develop a Plan:
You have to understand the app very well to know what tests have to be run and where automation has to be used. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
- What makes manual testing stand apart from automation is the manual tester who is in control. Only a real human will be able to identify the usability issues in the app. Ultimately, it is not about passing a test that sees if the app is user-friendly, it is about if the app feels user-friendly.
- Exploratory testing is another approach where the tester at the helm plays a more significant role in comparison. The intuition and domain knowledge of the tester will be able to guide them through effective tests. This type of testing is almost impossible to achieve with automation.
- Make sure to analyze your test cases and see if it has to be run only once or if it has to be run multiple times. If it has to be run just once or twice and doesn’t consume much time, there is no point in spending extra effort to automate the process.
- Localization and Internationalization make the app more accessible across the globe. Manual tests can be preferred here as when different languages are used, the UI might be affected by the change in font and word lengths.
- Black-box tests that are done during the early stages of development will also benefit from manual tests. If frequent changes are being made to the app, then implementing automation can become cumbersome due to the constant changes you’d have to make to your test scripts.
- If you are tasked with checking the compatibility of the app across different devices, then manual testing will also come in handy as there will be many test cases or scenarios that aren’t repetitive.
Types of Mobile Apps
Your test strategy must also consider the types of mobile app that is being tested. There are 3 basic categories that we would have to know about, and they are,
- Native Apps – They are applications designed specifically to work on a specific platform like iOS or Android.
- Web Apps – They are actually a responsive version of the website that can work on mobiles through a browser instead of installing the application. So they are independent of the platform.
- Hybrid Apps – As the name suggests, it is a combination of both the above types. They do have traits of a web app, but it is ultimately merged with a native app that makes it possible to be downloaded onto the phone.
Use a Wide-Range of Devices
Now let’s take a closer look at how you can combat one of the biggest challenges when it comes to testing mobile apps (i.e.) the wide range of different mobile phones that are available.
Major players in the arena have their flagship mobile launches once a year, but they also launch mid-range and budget options at more frequent intervals and these are the models that are mostly used by the people. Apart from the fresh launches, people would also be using the older versions and the app must work well with that as well.
When it comes to software, they are primarily split into iOS and Android. Android is further split into brand-specific skins like OneUI, ColorUI, and so on. Hardware options are also innumerable as Apple has started using their own M1 chips, whereas Samsung has its own line of chips (i.e.) the Exynos and also have the Snapdragon variants. Mediatek chipsets are also becoming prevalent. We could keep going if we list all the variations in the devices. Now let’s progress move on to the solution.
Purchasing every single device in the market is not a possible solution. So it is more practical to opt for cloud-based solutions like BrowserStack that gives you a wide range of real Android and iOS devices that you can test with. It is also not that complicated as you can just upload the apk or ipa file of your application and choose the device and software version you want and begin testing as though the device is with you. If you are looking for a list of the best Cloud Testing Platforms that will suit your needs, don’t miss out on our blog where we have covered this topic in-depth.
So we can basically test the application on every single device that is available on the platform. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Even with the right tools, it is important to use an approach that identifies the devices you should use to test your app. Here are a few tips to keep in your mind.
- Do proper research to identify the most widely used mobile variants in the market.
- Make sure to use mobile devices with different screen resolutions and sizes.
- Identify the target audience of your app and look for data that shows the type of devices used by them.
- Your device selection should cover the various OS options available in the market. We have already discussed the different variations in Android. So make sure it is not chosen as plain Android and iOS.
- The same applies to the hardware aspects and the various features like compatibility, memory size, connectivity, and so which vary from device to device.
A more cost-effective way would be to use emulators that mimic the actual devices instead of using the actual devices. But the reduced cost does demand additional time and effort. The reason is that you would have to download emulators of all the devices you want to test with. The other major disadvantage is the reliability issue as emulators will not be able to mimic the real-world scenarios that might happen in the real device. In fact, you won’t even be able to perform basic gestures like pinch, swipe, long press, and so on. Network operations also can’t be tested in emulators.
But as stated earlier, emulators can be used if you are on a tight budget as there are various open-source options. Since emulators will be in your local machine, they will be better in terms of speed and function without the latency that can be seen at times with cloud-based options. You could go with emulators if you have very basic testing needs or if you will use them only during the early stages of development. If not, it is better to choose one from the list.
Documentation is a very crucial aspect of software testing itself. But when it comes to manual mobile app testing, make sure you create a well-defined click path. A detailed click path doesn’t just avoid any confusion while testing, it also optimizes the time needed for each test session. Once the bug is fixed, you can refer to the documentation to recreate the scenario and find out if the bug has been fixed or not. Since every single detail matters, ensure you write down everything important you have observed while testing without leaving out any data. Documentation shouldn’t feel like the end of a conversation that is written for the sake of it. As one of the best Manual Testing Companies, we always focus on our documentation in all projects and have seen good results every single time.
Beta Testing Phase
This is pretty much an add-on phase of testing that you can use to make sure no oversight issues get through to the final release. Nowadays we have a higher number of people volunteering to beta testing programs to try out the new features of an existing app or to test a new app itself. Since the beta users will not be software testers, you will be able to get a real-world preview of how good your app is. So make sure to identify people who resemble your target audience and not random people as the results may be misleading.
We hope you have a clear understanding of how you can effectively test your mobile apps by taking the manual approach. There is simply no option as good as manual testing when it comes to usability and accessibility testing. So using the above-discussed strategies, we believe that you will be able to perform quality manual mobile-app testing.