Last updated Aug 29, 2016

Well! I am not a tester, I am a writer who is always on her toes to come up with the interesting topics on technology and trends and tickle readers with some out-of-the-box information.

Today, I am going to discuss on tactics for mobile app testing. What challenges do mobile app testers face and how they can overcome them.

Would like to tell you, this blog wouldn’t have been possible without my friend’s help who is an experienced mobile app tester.

She generally tests applications for Android, iOS, and PhoneGap. Everyone knows about Android and iOS and I think PhoneGap too. But if you aren’t aware of, read below:

“PhoneGap is not a native application. It’s a mobile app development framework used to develop apps for different platforms using a single block of codes.“  

Let’s begin;

There are a plethora of challenges faced while testing any mobile application.

  • Device Compatibility:

Every year, there is a new version notifying devices that enhance the app performances and changes the look and feel. But not necessary the new upgraded version would support the installed apps to function well. App developers also consider latest versions while developing the app but depends on the client requirement. Not necessary the apps developed in latest version would run as-is in the older device version.

  • Screen Resolution:

Every device has different screen resolution, hence testers have to test the UI of the app in all the devices i.e iOS 5, iOS 6, iOS 6s and other Android devices consuming a lot of time.

  • Network Connectivity: 

Today, the apps developed are both offline and online. This is the smart technique to keep app users engaged with the app and increase its proficiency. When the app is developed offline i.e using the database, the testers only need to test whether the data is getting entered properly or not and how the app behaves when the database gets overloaded with the irrelevant records in addition to functionality testing.  

While testing the app for online versions then testers face hard times I must say. Though, 2G is hardly used by users but still it is considered in test case scenarios. Truly speaking! it takes a broad effort and sometimes turns out to be a severe headache when apps are tested on 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi networks.

  • The Emulators, Simulators, and Real Device:

The app behaves differently on both virtual (emulators and simulators) and real devices. For instance, you are developing an app that shares the updates on facebook, you will notice that the post won’t get shared via virtual device but the same will be shared via the real device.

There are many functionalities which can create a problem for app developers because of the permissible issues on the virtual device. But the same functionality works smoothly on the real device.

There is one issue faced by every mobile app tester while testing functionalities with different real devices. Every device and device version behaves differently with the functionalities app developers implement. For instance, the Kitkat version would not support uploading of images from gallery while the same functionality would work well with Lollipop and Marshmallows Android versions. The same varies from device to device.

  • Mobile App Testing Tools: 

The biggest problem faced by all sized mobile app development company. The era which is blessed with mobile technology is lacking because of mobile app testing tools and good resources in development companies. Resources include mobile devices, experienced QA professionals, and expense.

Due to ebbing budget and strict deadlines, the managers are compelled to hire QA professionals in-house which may not be the profitable investment from the future viewpoint.

While hiring an external QA team for mobile app testing will result in reduced cost and increase profitability. You might be thinking, how is it possible?

Take a look at the image below:

                                              In House vs External testing team.png

This is why hiring an external mobile app testing team is considered to be a good decision and cut down your expense.

Smart Techniques for Mobile Application Testing

Below are the tactics that help you to ensure that the quality of mobile app testing enhances user experience + expectation, business objectives and companies best practices.

The main concern before starting application testing is the way you choose to test.

  • Selecting Mobile Devices:

There are thousands of devices rolling in the market, therefore how the app behaves in different devices is the point of consideration. While selecting devices, mobile app testers need to count on a couple of choices; the device model and choosing between real or virtual devices.

Below are the factors, testers need to think on while selecting devices;

    -OS Version: Testing of mobile application on currently in use OS

    -Screen Resolution: Testing apps in all the mobile resolutions

    -Device Compatibility: Testing apps to test compatibility. Whether the app is compatible with different device models, versions and tablets or iPad.

   -Storage Space: Testing apps considering space required for app installation

  • Manual Testing or Automated Testing:

Both manual and automated testing are required to enhance the quality of app before deploying it on the app stores. Manual testing help testers to peep into interruptions such as incoming of text messages, incoming calls,  notifications and low battery issue. For instance, while typing any details in the applications, suddenly the phone rings, either the app goes into  the background and stop working or gets calls,crash if loaded with large sized images.

Such scenarios cannot be looked into during automated testing. Automated testing is good for regression testing and is helpful in following scenarios:

   -The application has various stages

   -Test case scenarios are good in number

   -Application Development lifecycle is long

   -Frequency of regression testing is high

   -Specific test cases include testing of various functionalities.

With automation testing, testers can easily;

   -Verify apps with newly launched operating systems

   -Test apps with the upgraded versions

Therefore, to choose between the two Manual and Automated is worthless as both are important in enhancing the quality and performance of the app before deployment.

  • Cloud-based Testing: 

Cloud testing is the requisite option to test mobile applications as it allows app testers to test on discrete devices and mobile hardware including battery consumption, storage space, Ram and CPU usage and network signals.

The testing method enables testers to register devices on the device hub giving them a wider room to test application behaviour on different devices, version and operating system. Plus, it helps testers to perform all type of mobile application testing easily ensuring the accurate result of the app performance and quality.

  • Testing on Emulators or Real Device: 

App developers perform unit testing usually on emulators before handing over the application to mobile app testers. Though, many functionalities don’t respond on the virtual device, for instance, sharing posts, images or videos on facebook which needs user permission still, developers test the application on emulators to check whether the navigation and other features are working smoothly or not.

While mobile app testers test single application on multiple devices simultaneously including emulators, smartphones, and tablets considering different scenarios, test cases, and UI behaviour.   

It becomes a severe headache to test applications for different device versions and OS as a few features may not function well. For instance, the Kitkat version would not support uploading of images from gallery in the application while the same functionality would work smoothly with Lollipop and Marshmallows Android versions. The same varies from device to device.

Therefore, testing on both emulators and real devices give testers an understanding of user experience and quality of application before deploying it on the app store.

  • Types of Mobile Application Testing:

Below are the testing types helping app testers ensuring the seamless working of application including performance and security app testing

-UI testing: Testers test the final UI design in different gadget models and device types ensuring the as-is display of UI in different devices comparing with the wireframes and mockups.

-Smoke testing: This is the first phase of mobile application testing that helps testers to analyze whether the app is appropriate for further testing by performing the simple task like app installation.

-Functionality Testing: Testers test the applications considering every test case scenarios along with functionalities that enlarge the list of bugs for app developers.

-Performance Testing: It’s a good practice to test application for performance and scalability that includes battery life, storage space, and network connectivity. Not necessary, users would like to install heavy apps that occupy phone’s storage space with more of content or images and other details. The installation depends on the app purpose. Therefore, testers need to wear the user’s shoes and consider all the aspects before approving the quality and app performance.

 -Security Testing: Testers test application to check whether any third party application is storing the users’ credit card details or using their personal information for sharing posts, images or videos to other mediums. During security testing, testers ensure that users’ details are not stored on any third party site or app without their consent.

-Sanity Testing: This testing phase is similar to smoke testing following the same steps ensuring the fixing of bugs testers have listed during functional and performance testing.

-Regression Testing: Testers consider it the most important phase which looks into module testing. Every application consists of different modules and there are chances that implementation of one module affects the working of another. Hence, testers check all the modules and ensure smooth working during regression testing. 

Ending Note:

The success of any mobile application depends on the testing to the depth. And the credit of this success goes to mobile app testers and app developers who work day and night to bring up the unique concept to you adhering strict deadlines. Despite, testing the mobile application from every corner, testers cannot ensure the quality and performance. Choosing the best methods for app testing and selecting a wide range of devices from the mix of virtual and real device help companies to deploy the app successfully on the app stores with appropriate content defining the features and benefits of the app.

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