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Understanding Mobile Application Testing

December 29, 2017
Mobile Application, Mobile application testing, mobile applications testing, mobile applications, Mobile Application Testing Strategy, Challenges in Mobile Application Testing

Day-to-day, there are lot many mobile applications getting released to market, and its success depends on consumer’s acceptance. If the mobile application is not efficient enough to satisfy consumer’s requirements, it’s very common to switch to other similar application available in the market. Also, another reason that consumer switch to other applications is that, the cost – we have applications that are cost-free and cost-applied. If the basic necessities are fulfilled by cost-free application, then it’s more likely for the consumer to opt for a cost-free application rather than to go with costly one. Apart from these, there are many other reasons why the mobile applications are non-competitive and fail in the market. The Hidden secret to the success of any Mobile application is the strong Strategy. To proceed, we will try to first understand: what is Mobile Application Testing, importance, challenges, etc…

What is Mobile Application Testing

Application software developed for mobile devices is tested for Usability, functionality, consistency, performance, and security, to ensure its quality – Mobile Application Testing.

Mobile Applications Testing can go with either Manual Testing or Automation Testing or both. These applications can either come as pre-installed on the mobile device when bought or downloaded and installed from distributed platforms.

Why Mobile Application Testing

Mobile Application Testing is very much required as they are getting very complex nowadays and do need end-to-end testing to ensure quality. It is to ensure that right from an effective download of an application to its use should be consistent across different devices. This enables enterprises to build scalable applications and is made accessible across numerous platforms. Basically, it is considered as a gateway to ensure application’s quality before reaching end-users / market.

Businesses do emerge from Mobile Applications. It could be messaging/calling (WhatsApp, Line, Skype) or Games (CandyCrush, FarmVille), or Wallet apps (Paytm, Paypal, Tez), or Office Tools (Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations) or any other applications – have led to major business lines and turned to companies which are competing for top place in applications download, and are seeing success as well. The success of these Mobile applications depends on the kind of program and its capabilities, performance, reliability, flawless, and security.

Even though the application seems to be promising and tends to show itself as a cool app, if the functionality of it is problematic, then it’s very likely for the user to uninstall it and let it go. Applications, in this case, gets abandoned and loses its recommendation for further downloads and installations.

Application crash, poor performance, battery drain, affecting other applications – leads to poor reviews on the applications in distributed platforms (App Stores) and is visible to any user visiting the Application page. Once the application gets uninstalled due to these reviews, it impacts the business very badly and competition degrades. Such applications will not be competitive enough in future and similar applications take the turn to get downloaded. These values are recognized by the majority of companies and have started investing in testing Mobile Applications before they are released to market.

Even though the initial investment, complexities involved, and setting up platforms in testing mobile applications is high, in the long run, it will result in increased business and enables to stay competitive in the in the market.

Challenges in Mobile Application Testing

Quality Assurance of Mobile Applications is really very tricky, complex, and the methodologies to carry out is changing over the period of time. Some companies opt to outsource the testing requirements to others who are specialized in the area of business, and some will perform in-house testing of mobile applications. There are the different set of challenges faced due to diversity involved in Testing Mobile Applications, and this activity is not as easy as anyone thinks. Some of the key challenges in this area are listed below:

⇒ Diversity

Application’s each and every feature has to be tested across a wide range of physical devices as the new devices are being released to market constantly, and testing is not easier anymore. Different versions of Operating Systems, their upgrade frequency (Usually iOS upgrade is frequent than Android), devices from different manufacturers, different keypad types, languages – all has to be taken into consideration and a plan to cover almost all OS versions is mandatory. Cross-Platform testing is very challenging and cannot assure 100% Pass rate on each and every device as the test passed on one device may fail in other.

⇒ Network Operators and Response Time

Many of the applications run on the network and it is very much necessary to have its excellent connectivity. Slowness in connectivity impacts the response time of the application and could result in poor performance and inappropriate behavior. The major challenge that arises here is when the user moves from one network coverage area to another – this could either drop or change the connectivity which again has to be handled by an application. If not handled effectively, user’s experience with the application gets impacted and may lead to failure.

⇒ Screen size and Display

Application display and accessibility testing have to be carried out in devices with different screen sizes, pixel densities, and aspect ratios. Ideally, the application should be adaptive to any type of screen design.

⇒ Usability

Data should fit the screen and interaction should be very smooth when the user operates. Font size, readability are the major challenges to overcome in terms of usability. The area to click/tap should be very easy to notice and should not need a user to pressurize them while clicking/tapping.

⇒ Power Consumption

User can have multiple applications running on the device which leads to high power consumption and battery drain out. The application should always be designed to consume minimum power and testing this is not less than a challenge. Testing at various battery levels is tedious and also at poor battery level testing the application is risky – may heat up the device, switch off could result in data loss, response time may slow down, etc.. Games and Media applications are to be extensively tested for this challenge.

⇒ Settings of the device

Different settings enabled / disabled in the device may hamper the application’s functionality. For example, Applications lock / GPS enabled / Fingerprint sensors may become problematic to the application, as they are very difficult to be handled within the application’s architecture or while implementing the application.

⇒ Application’s architecture

Wide variety of frameworks, architectures through which application is built may result in complexities in handling them in future. The behavior of the same Native application and hybrid application may vary as the underlying framework, architecture is changed as per the device’s support (will learn these terms in next articles).

⇒ Regression Testing

Commonly, applications undergo enhancements – with new features, modified features, very often. In this situation, performing regression testing is challenging and many companies have moved to automate regression tests, again a small change in existing feature needs the script to be updated before running. Also, often updates will lead to poor test coverage when the teams are not in sync and the application may fail at user’s end.

⇒ Testing Tools availability and Selection

There are many tools proved for mobile application automation testing and are efficient enough to recognize the objects in the various screen sizes. But choosing right one among them is very challenging as the framework of the application may be very complex.

Mobile Application Testing Strategy

All the above challenges can be handled to a great extent if the strong strategy is built to test Mobile Applications. The testing strategy here should ensure that the Quality Assurance is aligned with business goals, performance guidelines, customer expectations, and best practices. It has to be the combination of different testing options (may be devices, OS, manufacturers, etc) to balance the quality, time-to-market, and cost so as to provide the best overall results.

⇒ Selecting Device

Choose the device based on current market scope (devices used widely). Based on the end user’s choice and their usage patterns, select the most suitable device for testing. Also, consider the Operating system and the possible versions of it for testing the application for good coverage.

⇒ Emulators or Real Devices

Make a wise decision whether to test the application on Emulators (which simulates a real-time environment for testing) or the real actual device. Emulators are best suitable for in-house testing as they are fast and efficient, and can be adapted in any testing approaches. Real devices are during beta testing phase as they provide high coverage on cross platforms and ensures an application is cross-platform compatible.

⇒ Cloud Testing Process

Cloud Testing is the only way to reach the target market faster and reduce cost. By leveraging the cloud, an application can be made available by deploying, testing, and managing the web-based mobile testing environment. It helps in delivering real-time testing results and increased efficiency. Also, there would be no need to invest in other testing tools, configurations, licenses, resources, etc..

⇒ Connectivity

Make sure to include testing under varying network connections, speed, and bandwidth. Test in limited connectivity, without connectivity, and high/low speeds. Network related scenarios should be mandated to test as there is a wide range of connectivity modes and the application should be consistent with all the modes.

⇒ Manual Testing versus Automation Testing

Both the testing types have same privilege in Mobile Application Testing. It’s a wise decision to choose the mix of both Manual and Automation testing. Automation is best suitable for performing regression testing for possible functionalities. But not all the functionality can be automated, and choose manual testing over such functionalities. Both should be effective to provide great test coverage and thorough results.

It is very certain that the strong testing strategy delivers high-quality mobile applications and increases the performance of it. Good Strategy, Good Target Devices, Good Testing Methodologies leads to the success of Mobile Application Testing.

I have been in software testing for a decade. Maintaining HelpingTesters.com website to make a common platform to share my knowledge with everyone or where others can share to help out other testers. If you are willing to help than let me know at info@HelpingTesters.com

About the author

HelpingTestersTeam administrator

I have been in software testing for a decade. Maintaining HelpingTesters.com website to make a common platform to share my knowledge with everyone or where others can share to help out other testers. If you are willing to help than let me know at info@HelpingTesters.com

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