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All software designers and QA services aim to bring the best user experience to people who download the apps and programs they develop. They try to minimize interruptions from the app and make the processing as smooth as possible.
Similarly, they must account for user-end circumstances like the device shutting down or the user receiving a call or notification while in-app. Developers must run interrupt tests for their mobile apps—here’s a rundown of what interrupt tests entail and how they help your app’s UX.
What Are Interrupt Tests?
Interrupt tests allow you to check an app’s behavior after a disruption like a call, sudden shutdown, or notification. In most instances, the phone’s operating system handles the interruption. It is why some teams forget to conduct interrupt tests. However, ensuring a positive user experience means knowing how your app behaves in most situations.
Typically, you need to test for app behavior when the phone receives alerts from a clock or timer, calls or text messages, or alerts about low battery levels. You should also know what happens when the device gets a push notification from another app, experiences changes in network connection state, or receives notifications when the device is connected to or disconnected from a power supply.
How Mobile Apps Should Handle Interruptions
Mobile operating systems like Android and iOS typically handle some interruptions. For instance, when device owners are using an app and receive a push notification from another, the operating system handles it. It lets the open app carry on with its operations. However, when the user taps on the notification, their device will access the second app, putting the first one in the background.
Developers must ensure that their apps will run smoothly in the background and behave as expected when users switch between applications. The same should be true for interruptions like receiving calls, text messages, or other events that push the first app in the background. You also want to ensure that everything works when the battery is low or if the phone shuts down because of an empty battery.
In short, you should answer three questions: does your app crash, can it continue to operate as expected, and can it “ignore” minor interruptions?
Performing Interrupt Tests to Ensure App Efficiency
Theoretically, you could perform manual interrupt tests for mobile apps. However, manual testing leads to bottlenecks that could hamper your efficiency and delay your app’s release. Prevent this using automatic test scenarios you can implement with certain frameworks and tools. You could also hire mobile app testing companies with the tools and personnel who can perform these tests.
Any functional testing framework is suitable for interrupt testing. If you use XCTest for iOS, you can add UI Interruption Monitors to the test cases. Apple documentation provides more details about it. Meanwhile, Android has a command-line tool called UI/Application Exercise Monkey built into the Android SDK. This tool allows you to generate event streams on emulators or real devices, perfect for stress tests.
Running Interrupt Tests on Multiple Devices
Testing takes a long time even if you automate because you must run different scenarios through various OS types and versions. Running tests concurrently—in a device lab or a cloud solution—makes things more efficient. You can also go beyond parallel testing and run all your automated tests at once, ensuring the application works for most users regardless of OS version or device type.
An interrupt test lets a developer check app behavior and performance after disruptions from other apps or sudden device shutdowns. Tests like these allow you to prepare for all scenarios and ensure that the app works as it should, no matter the circumstance.
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