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Mobile device usage has grown beyond everyone’s expectations, the degree of users using mobile devices instead of laptop/ desktop has increased phenomenally in recent years due to a multitude of factors like mobility, compatibility, internet usage etc.
Hence mobile phones have evolved from being a single-purpose communication device to more dynamic tools that support their users in a wide variety of tasks, e.g. playing games, listening to music, podcasts, watching movies/ video and navigating etc. There is certainly no sign that the move toward mobile is going to slow down anytime soon, hence many industries like real estate, retail, travel and financial bodies, even start ups started investing in developing mobile apps or a mobile friendly website and can see promising results. Mobile application development life cycle is generally much shorter than other application development but its success is purely dependent on its reliability and usability.
Hence, every application has to be thoroughly tested for its functionality, usability, compatibility, and security before it hits the market. Most of the appreneurs (mobile app entrepreneurs) are very serious in releasing their application with top notch quality because mobile users are notoriously impatient. They consider their devices even more personal than so-called personal computers and they will see how well the product actually works to achieve their given objective with greater usability. A frustrated user is least bothered nevertheless you have tested the app on 99 different types of devices if it doesn’t work on their device.
How to test a mobile application?
Businesses continue to integrate and deliver mobile applications with innovative and smart functionality to engage millions of their customers. Ensuring quality of their mobile applications with respect to its efficiency, performance and robustness will leave customers with an exemplary user experience. Testing a mobile application differs from traditional desktop or web applications, testers test the functionality of the application, run on different browsers and need to be tested on different OS versions.
Mobile application testing involves a number of check ins to make sure that the app meets the expectations of customers. One should run their tests on different devices, screen size, resolutions, OS and browser combinations. Also we need to check integrating with other services like location/GPS, Wi-Fi, and social media etc. It is not uncommon that these questions will arise if we want to cover the above aspects of testing the application.
• Should we procure as many numbers of devices as available to test the app?
• Do we have sufficient resources to test and cover so many devices?
• Should we test on available devices and assume that it will work on other devices too?
• Do we have any alternatives i.e. kind of simulation tools to test them all simultaneously keeping cost at minimum?
Above all, we should complete testing within a stipulated time frame, so the test team has to frame a mix of test plans that would help us in taking the right testing decision. Testers have to formulate testing strategies to overcome the below list of challenges immaculately.
Quick RolloutsMobile applications are expected to respond within a quick turnaround time to fix a bug or to release a new feature. It is necessary to test bugs/ features on devices within a short span of time.
Connection ModesOne should test how the app is performing on different network conditions like 3G/ 4G/ WiFi/ No Data, while Roaming etc. Especially gaming and live streaming videos need to be tested on such modes and the performance has to be evaluated.
End to End TestingMobile apps integrate seamlessly with other applications, middlewares etc. A thorough end to end testing is required to make sure that the data flow between applications, DB are produced without any problems.
Use of toolsThe most important factor is the availability and usage of tools to test the application’s feature, performance, compatibility etc. A right selection of tools will help the team to do better testing and to give better performance and ROI.
The above trends and practice aid mobile application testing to happen faster than ever before, which needs a greater need for speed and efficiency of QA teams. To keep on track, it’s critical to maintain a strategic mobile application testing process. The following model of mobile app testing plans can be considered for better execution.
Choosing the right set of devices as per your target audience’s behavior matters instead of testing in all devices. We can arrive at that using the approaches below.
1. Devices based on the market research:Select and prioritize your testing based on the market analysis. Determine the set of devices with your target operating System that will have the highest occurrence of accessing your application by using app purchase data and analytics.
2. Choose device based on key aspects:Select devices based on certain mobile aspects which can be considered in formulating the testing strategy. It focuses on the Infrastructure components like hardware, software, and network to ensure that the applications are managed in a controlled way.
3. Testing on cloud devices:Mobile cloud testing can overcome the cost challenges like purchasing and maintaining mobile devices. It has many benefits of choosing the right type of device, network and OS combinations. You can test your complete test suite on multiple devices in parallel and can pay for the duration you use that device.
4. Emulators:Emulator is another option to test mobile apps. These are free, open source and can be easily connected with the IDE for testing. As Emulators are available on the local machine so they run faster and with less latency than Real devices connected to a local network or devices available on the cloud. Gestures like Pinching, Swipe or drag, long press and network operations can’t be tested in emulators. However we can ensure that the basic functionalities are tested.
Testing approach – Manual vs Automated testing
Many teams struggle to arrive at a consensus on when to choose automation testing and why. It’s very simple that it depends on your release cycle, development process, and the financial aspect, you may decide to start using automation for testing your app. Test automation is the best way of reaching an optimal level of test effectiveness, efficiency, and coverage. Test automation’s ultimate value comes from avoiding manually conducting repeatable test runs and freeing up time for new features and for faster releases. Mobile automation testing will increase your test efficiency as you will run more tests within a certain timeframe and shorten your time to market.
Mobile application testing is different from testing desktop or web apps. Before starting, you should determine the type of mobile app (mobile-web, native or hybrid) which helps you to choose a strategy. Also, you should choose the devices type (real devices, emulators or simulators, as well as cloud testing services). Each of the types mentioned has its own set of advantages and disadvantages as well, however a competent specialist will always help you in choosing the right one. Which makes you gain a better understanding and make informed decision of when to choose manual and when to use automated testing.