The tech industry is getting bigger, better, smarter and faster than ever before, making it trickier for organizations to craft flawless, commercially viable mobile apps. A variety of OS versions, multiple platforms, networks, devices, testing tools and frameworks, all lead to chaos and mayhem making software testers’ jobs quite challenging. The complexity amplifies particularly with thousands of apps being launched each day, given the backdrop that 25% of the installed apps never get used while 26% of the installed apps are abandoned after their first use. Moreover, 80% of users will abandon a mobile app if it crashes more than twice in a row.
For a testing team, it’s crucial to weave a robust mobile apps testing strategy before testers begin the testing process.
Here’s a list of best-practices to ensure success.
Understand the Goals of the Application Under Test
Without a prologue – a clear understanding of what the project is trying to achieve, the app goals, nature, and scope, it’s not possible to efficiently test the app. Therefore, the first step should be to gain an in-depth understanding of the project.
Understand Your Customer Base
For a flawless and personalized user experience, it is imperative to understand the audience’s tastes, expectations, and functionalities they will focus more on, along with the UX/UI experience most suitable for them. Once we get a clear picture, we are now ready to weave a robust mobile apps testing strategy.
Test Plan and Test Strategy
With adequate information about the app goals and its intended audience, software testers can find themselves better prepared for planning a robust test strategy.
Identify the Testing Challenges
To ensure a robust end-product, the testing team should be well aware of the testing challenges that the team might face depending upon the mobile apps testing requirements, the skill set that’s available, and the budget allocated. Device fragmentation is the biggest challenge as mobile apps are used on a variety of devices and platforms with multiple OS versions – Android and iOS app testing being the most common. For QA, it’s essential to understand the capabilities of different OSs and supported device functionalities and features to ensure that the app runs safely and flawlessly. Software testers should also compose a list of devices and OSs for testing in advance, as it is virtually impossible to test exhaustively on all devices. It must also be sought out if testing has to be done on real devices or emulators.
Decide Between Physical Devices and Emulators
It is best to go with simulators or emulators in the earlier stages of testing to get a general idea of how a particular app is performing. This is a cost-efficient way; however, as we continue with our testing process, it is more effective to deploy real devices as they can offer a better insight into the app’s performance. Real devices can help get a better insight into app’s memory usage, app responsiveness, app testing under less than optimal network conditions and different battery states, and testing physical inputs or gestures. Hence, testing with real devices in the later stages ensures the end product performs smoothly and the process is cost effective.
However, getting hold of a large number of real devices or advanced tools and methods that allow for testing with multi-device compliance is difficult to get in-house, especially with limited budgets and skill set. A device cloud can be hosted on a public cloud where devices can be rented for mobile apps testing on a one-time or subscription basis, thus making mobile cloud testing an optimal solution. In a cloud, it’s possible to access hundreds of iOS and Android simulators and emulators as well as real devices, multiple OS, and OSs versions, directly from your browser. So, you may outsource to a device cloud provider where the provider helps with device procurement, setup, configuration, and security.
Choosing between Manual vs Automation Testing
Manual testing is most useful when a new functionality is introduced and a quick feedback is required, or for validating the externals or appearance of the app, or to locate the general vulnerabilities. Besides, manual testing, especially the exploratory testing, is highly productive and almost every tester go for it consciously or unconsciously, and hence, cannot be done away with completely.
Automation is most useful when performing cross-platform tests or simple regression tests. Automation also helps produce more accurate results, increases test coverage, offers re-usability and test repeatability and hence reduces overall testing time with enhanced quality. Load, security and performance testing is best performed with Automation. Overall, automation saves significant time, effort, and costs when performed by a skilled tester in an organization large enough to invest in mobile automation testing tools and frameworks. In other cases, it’s wise to look for a mobile testing services provider, and outsource the entire mobile apps testing project to a testing partner where professionals with a large supply of resources can wisely choose the mobile test automation tools as per the app under test. In the current agile environment, automation cannot be sidelined.
Given the particular strengths of both manual and automation testing, the best approach normally is an integration of both the approaches to maximize efficiency and save considerable costs and time. Hence, it’s wise to delineate beforehand as which parts should be automated, and which should not.
App Localization Testing
For a mobile app to be successful, QA team should ensure that the app adapts to the geography, supports languages, currencies and popular social networks in prominent markets.
Locate Beta Testers
Crowdsourcing platforms or launching the app in a specific region can help verify the app functionality is working fine. As the mobile platform versions change frequently, testing the app updates and installation processes becomes essential. App crashes and un-installation processes should be tested thoroughly. For this, the software company may engage with human resources that are regularly interacting with their app or are linked to them on social media. They can easily serve as beta testers for the new release as they already appear interested in the product.
To get a realistic view of your mobile applications testing efforts, it’s important to include monitoring and analytics tools. Dedicated beta testing teams can be requested to conduct mobile functional testing by testing specific features using the apps on-off functionality. Monitoring tools can help track ways in which mobile app users interact with the app, and locate features that aren’t working as expected. Remember, nearly 50% of consumers will delete a mobile app if they encounter a single bug, reveals a survey by SmartBear. Therefore, software testing team must use the analytics tool to track the app statistics and usage.
In a nutshell, crafting a mobile apps testing strategy can assist in releasing a powerful high quality mobile app which is commercially feasible with the app’s functionalities tested thoroughly, before it goes live.