Mobile App Testing: Strategies and Best Practices

It’s an era of mobile savvy users where thousands of mobile apps are booming with wide-ranging flavors of technologies. Today building app is not just about writing a good code, the success of app is largely driven by user experience. A successful app should have an aesthetically pleasing UI and should deliver best user experience on all devices and various form factors, of course there are other important factors to be taken into consideration as well.

Fig: Mobile apps testing challenges

Outstanding testing strategy is the only way to make your mobile app ready for business. To add to complexity there are thousands of different devices each delivering multiple form factors. To ensure app performs to its best it, it’s a mammoth challenge for quality assurance team to test in all above scenarios and certify the product keeping in mind budget and time constraints, QA team need to have right strategy, tools and processes in place. While mobile applications are rapidly becoming core and critical part for profits for corporate software world, new and complicated challenges to the software delivery model are also taking centre stage.

Key Challenges
This set of challenges are exclusive to the mobile testing world. This blog intends to highlight the same.

Emulators Plethora of mobile devices with huge varaiations
Current market offers wide range of mobiles with different screen sizes and resolutions, hardware capabilities, varied operating systems etc. In order to launch an efficient mobile app, it is must to perform strategic testing so that user can have wonderful experience with any sort of mobile device he holds. This blog will present best testing strategies and tactics for mobile applications.

Platform standards
Each platform has laid out its UI design and navigation guidelines and mobile apps developed for the sespecific platforms much confirm to these guidelines to get successfully published.

Testing tools
Testing of mobile applications needs special tools emulating the near actual device behavior. Test coverage with these tools can only reach 70%. Using actual devices for testing can provide actual results but using actual devices is costly, time consuming and impossible to cover all variations. Other important aspects are the app should utilize the device resource optimally like CPU, power etc. Poorly build apps can drain the phone battery and users are likely to uninstall these apps even if the app is functionally great.

Mobile application testing types

This type of testing mainly covers functional, business requirements and app workflow. The other aspects covered are error handling and error message to user, language and validations.

User interface
This should cover the UI aspects of the application

  • Check all UI element alignments, font color, size, margins from screens.
  • Check the UI design guidelines laid out by specific platforms are adhered.
  • Check application compatibility with various screen form factors.

This covers the ease with which the application can be used by user. The application should be checked for responsiveness, accuracy, screen navigation etc. 

Test the application for compatibility for various platforms, platform versions and devices as per the requirements. The application is also tested for browser compatibility, network compatibility and compatibility with other apps on the device. 

Check the app for memory, CPU and battery usage. Other aspects covered under this test are test for server connections, network switch over from WIFI to 2G/3G and vice versa, test for device resource like camera, GPS, etc.  

This testing covers the security aspects like, authentication, authorization, data protection, encryption/decryption of data while communicating with servers.

Interruption testing is used to check app behavior during interruption from notification or other apps like, phone calls, messages, calendar events, camera, alarm, battery notification, other app notifications, voice messages.

Mobile testing automations important to improve the testing Using above techniques to achieve maximum test coverage, it is extremely important for QA teams to automate the testing. Automation will also reduce time, cost and help achieve better quality. Automation can be achieved using various tools available in market and on cloud.

Test strategies for mobile application
We have seen the challenges in testing mobile application, it is important that right testing technique and strategy is used. The blog will touch upon few important techniques used for testing.

Emulators are most commonly used for mobile testing, these are mostly available with all platforms and any app can be tested on these. These are cost effective solutions and can be used by testing teams to perform most of the testing. However test coverage using emulators is limited.

Actual Devices
Actual devices can be used for testing the apps, these provide the real testing environment and best functional and NFR coverage. However it is not practical to test the app in multiple devices due to cost involved.

Crowdsource Testing
This is an emerging trend in software testing, which leverages the benefits of crowdsourcing and cloud platforms. To briefly touch upon crowdsourcing, the testing is carried out by different testers from different places unlike hired professions within an organization. Crowdsource testing offers the large variety of choices for testing in various devices, platforms and form factors and various networks.

Cloud testing
This application can be deployed and tested on a cloud, it can be assessed by testers from various locations using web. Cloud testing is used helpful when using Crowdsource testing.

Sandeep Koul
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