Mobile app testing series - Blog 1

Start to End Guide for Mobile App Testing

This blog and a few upcoming ones in this series will talk about specific aspects of mobile app testing.
 

Quick Links:

Mobile app testing involves many intricacies and in this series of blogs, we will explore this area starting from the basics. The topics that are covered in this blog will be elaborated in the forthcoming blogs. I will be updating this page with links for those topics as we publish them in the near future. Keep watching this space for more information related to mobile app testing. Now let’s get started with the basics.
 

What is mobile app testing and why is it needed?

These days mobile phones are not used just for making or receiving calls, but they are essential multipurpose gadgets. The mobile technology is evolving rapidly and the mobile app developers need to deliver the best performing app in quick time. To get the best app delivered in the given time frame, the automation team needs to be on their toes. The testers play a critical role in the quality and delivery of apps. Moreover, the market is very fragmented and this makes testing more complicated. The mobile app must be tested on different combinations of platforms, networks, operating systems.

 

Types of mobile applications:

There are three types of mobile applications:
Native apps: These apps are developed for a single mobile operating system so it is native for a particular platform or device. For example, Android apps will not work on iOS apps.

Web apps: These are mobile web applications to render/deliver pages on mobile web browsers. These apps work on different operating systems as they launch on web browsers.

Hybrid apps:These apps have cross-platform compatibility but can still access phone hardware.

 

Challenges in mobile app testing

All the operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows have different UI and functioning. The usage and layout of elements are verified when publishing the app in the market. Noncompliance with the guidelines can delay the publishing process which in turn increases the cost of development. Lack of access to devices is also a big issue. It is possible that two or more testers need the same device at the same time. Wherein one tester is left out waiting for the other to the tester to complete their work. Procuring multiple devices adds up to the cost and takes time. It is a major issue if the testers are placed across different countries.

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Types of mobile app testing

To develop a highly efficient mobile app, you need to ensure that the quality, usability, and security of the app is up to the mark. You can improve your app ratings and customer satisfaction with rigorous testing, which will lead to more downloads.
 
The mobile app testing methodologies are mentioned below:
1. Compatibility testing
2. Installation testing
3. Interruption testing

4. Localization testing
5. Performance testing
6. Usability testing
7. Conformance testing

 

Mobile app testing strategies

mobile app testing strategy that will ensure that your quality assurance activities align with customer expectations, business goals, and industries best practices. Testing teams must consider the following procedures while designing a comprehensive mobile application testing strategy:
 
UI Testing:  A UI friendly application sells more when compared to an app which is best developed but with a nasty UI. If an application has a perfect and a splendid UI on one device but on the other device it is completely twisted just because it has a different size or a different OS, then it will leave a very bad impression. The commercial success of the application will be badly affected.
 
Security Testing: There’s always a big concern about data safety and security. There is a possibility of the personal data being available to hackers, be it your social sites credentials or your bank account credentials. Hence, the security of these apps becomes very vital for the business of any company. This, in turn, generates the need for security testing of all mobile applications and hence is considered as important testing that is carried out by testers foran app.

 

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Manual vs Automated testing: The speed and reliability of automated testing are helpful for regression testing and executing time-consuming test cases. Most automated tests are reusable, but in an agile environment, automated test scripts have to be reworked. As a mobile app evolves, the product flow changes, as well as the user interface requirements and specific features. As a result, every change calls for an update in the automated test script. Maintaining automated test scripts often causes projects to fall behind in sprint cycles unless you keep a tight hold on the reigns. It is scalable and more cost efficient for larger mobile apps. We can run multiple tests simultaneously. But it is not suitable to test user experience factors. Manual testing Replicates real user experiences and it is faster and more cost- effective for small projects. It is easier to identify and deal with app crashes with manual testing. Manual testing Handles more complicated use-case scenarios.
 
Device Selection: New versions of mobile devices emerge every day as mobile technology is evolving rapidly. Each model comes with its distinct features in terms of OS, screen size and other aspects. You have to factor in not only the OS of the device but also the OS version. It is critical that you choose the right number and type of device to test your mobile app. It is important to identify the devices that are popular with your target demographics. You need to identify the combination of devices that can get you the broadest coverage in terms of OS, model, and brand. While selecting a device for testing you need to take into account, its screen size, resolution, PPI & other hardware features that can impact your app’s performance. You also need to consider the effect of network and varying conditions posed by location.
 
Performance Testing:
Test your app under load conditions to ensure high performance while being used by thousands of users. Build real-user flows and test them on real mobile devices. Correlate between different application performance vitals. Simulate the on-the-move scenarios and rapid environmental changes that are unique to mobile users.
 
Cloud vs In-house:
Cloud solutions provide an instant way to build mobile development and testing labs. The greatest benefit of these solutions is that you don’t have to set up any server hardware or connect any physical mobile device in order to use them seamlessly as a part of your development process. The majority of the costs related to cloud-service are included in the license fee (price) of the service. You very rarely even need any other software to be purchased to use these services.
An in-house solution is something more traditional compared to today’s cloud- based software solutions. It is typical that at the beginning when an in-house solution is acquired in use it involves more expenses as you need to buy a license and get the hardware infrastructure (e.g. servers, devices) in place. The operative expense will be there as well and you need to take care of maintenance of the system, software (and sometimes even hardware) updates, fixing and resolving problems with the system and probably many other smaller tasks that eventually makes financial burden to accumulate.

 

Network Connectivity:
The unpredictability of wireless networks has a huge impact on the functionality, performance, and user experience of an app. This is why we often see certain functional defects, performance defects and sometimes crashes only when the app is running on a certain network or in some specific locations. Besides, mobile apps are expected to function on everything from an excellent Wi-Fi connection to a 3G/4G connection.
 
The apps can be installed on real devices and can be tested on various networks like VoLTE, GPRS, UMTS, LTE, CDMA, etc. But the procedure of using real networks for app testing is slow, cumbersome and mostly provides inaccurate results. Using a simulated lab network, testers can easily test their mobile apps by simply selecting and applying the type of network profile to be used. They can also create and customize different network profiles by simply changing parameters like Uplink Bandwidth, Downlink Bandwidth, Latency, Loss Percentage, Packets Corruption, etc.

 

Conclusion

In the world of mobile apps, testing challenges emerge with evolving mobile technology. The upsurge of new technologies like 5G and foldable screens will push the developers and testers to find new ways to test their apps. In continuous testing and development, the focus should be on optimizing the app performance
In the next blog, we will talk in detail about Android and iOS.
 
Click on this link to read the next blog.

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