Mobile Testing

Testing Mobile Applications

11.14.2016

Mobile application testing strategy is a process in which mobile software that is developed for devices, such as smartphones and tablets, is tested in order to make sure that the functionality and usability is as good as possible.

If you’ve ever downloaded an app to your smartphone then you are familiar with how they work and if you’ve encountered any apps that are hard to use or have bugs, then you have had first-hand experience with the importance of mobile app testing before they are deployed. Sometimes you encounter apps that make it difficult to log in or you experience errors loading certain pages, navigating through the app, checking out, etc. There are plenty of different types of apps, including games, photo apps, social networking apps, messaging apps, retail apps and more, and they all need to undergo proper testing before they are released to the public. This article provides detailed mobile testing tips to help ensure that your mobile app is in great shape before you deploy it.

Process of Software Testing

In order to do effective mobile app testing, it is important to have a process in place. There are two main kinds of mobile application testing:

Hardware Testing

Hardware testing or just “mobile testing” involves testing the internal processors, hardware, resolution, screen sizes, space and memory, camera, Bluetooth functionality, Wi-Fi, etc. This is the testing that makes sure a device is in working order so that it is able to properly host mobile apps. You can think of this as the testing that occurs on the actual physical aspects of a device rather than the interior “brains” of the device. It’s still an important part of mobile testing tools because the software cannot function on a device with hardware that is not working properly.

Software Testing

Software application testing is the testing of the actual mobile apps themselves. The software is the “brains” of the device – the programs that are coded to help the apps function and perform the way they are intended to. The more thoroughly you can test software before release, the better experience you will provide to users. You can avoid errors and flaws in the system, such as login problems, delays, crashes, loading issues and more. Within this testing, there are a few different types of basic tests:

  • Native apps created specifically for use on a platform like a smartphone or tablet. Certain apps are created uniquely to work on an iPhone or an Android, for instance. These are different than those that are coded to work on a variety of different platforms and devices.
  • Mobile web apps allow you to connect to a website within a mobile browser, like Chrome or Safari. They let you connect to a mobile network or wireless network and then use the app just as you would on a computer, only in a responsive mobile design. These aren’t designed uniquely for smartphones or devices but let you use the app the same way on a desktop or laptop.
  • Hybrid apps is a mix of the two ones above. They can work offline or on mobile devices and use web languages such as HTML5 and CSS in order to perfect their functionality.

In addition to the different types of apps, there are also a number of different types of mobile app testing that need to be considered with each app. These tests are crucial to the development and to making sure the app is functional before deploying it to the public.

  1. Compatibility testing helps to ensure that the app software works well on a variety of mobile devices, such as iPhones and Androids, and that it works with different screen sizes and versions of operating systems as required by the different devices. It can be very frustrating to have an app that works well on some devices but doesn’t translate to others.
  2. Usability testing helps check that the user interface is not complicated to use and offers a simple and pleasing user experience for customers. That way, when customers are using an app they will be able to figure it out easily and won’t get frustrated and give up on it – which is what app developers need to work to avoid. This type of test is incredibly important because it can mean the difference between a user becoming invested in the app or giving up on it altogether.
  3. Services testing refers to the software services that the application offers online and offline. This means making sure that checkout carts, step counters, music playback, etc. are functioning at a proper level. The more complex and advanced an app is, the more services testing it will require.
  4. Interface testing regulates things like the software menu options, functions, history, settings and navigation of the apps. It involves both the design and functionality of the app in order to create a cohesive interface that looks good and works well.
  5. Performance testing: This type of testing is helpful for finding out how well an app operates on different connections, such as 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi, and how much battery it consumes when performing different functions. This information is helpful to developers who can tweak the app to help it perform better depending on the preferred connections of your customer base. You want a mobile app to perform at top levels on all different connections and to code it so it consumes the least amount of battery as possible, both when in use and when open in the background.
  6. Low-level resource testing: This is the testing of how much software memory the app uses, whether it deletes temporary files to save room on the mobile device, and local database growing issues. Customers will be less inclined to use or keep an app on a mobile device if it eats up a lot of battery or takes up a lot of memory on their device. You’re also required to meet industry standards depending on the device for the amount of memory and battery life your app takes up.
  7. Installation testing out the outcome of installing and deleting the application from the mobile device. Sometimes these actions can cause errors or the deletion of an app doesn’t properly delete all the corresponding data from a device. A well-developed app should be able to install without error and, when deleted, delete all information from the phone yet still store it within the app itself.
  8. Operational testing for software backups and a recovery plan in the event that the mobile device battery runs out while in mid-function with the app, or if the app suffers from data loss during upgrades from the app store. This is important to users because losing info in the middle of a session can be extremely frustrating so you want to make sure the app is backing up info frequently. You will need to ensure that you have proper storage space to store all of the excess user information.
  9. Security testing is essential in order to determine whether or not an application protects the data stored in it or not. Customers shouldn’t use an app that can’t promise to properly protect their personal information. Depending on the type of app you are developing, it will have different security requirements make sure to check the guidelines of different devices you are using in order to meet the appropriate requirements.

Recommendations and Advice for Testing Mobile Apps

Testing mobile apps is the key to making sure that all bugs are removed and that the app is functioning in the right way. Testing can occur in a variety of ways you can employ users to test the apps manually for you, which is necessary in some circumstances. You can also perform automated testing to test certain functions, which can be helpful and more cost-efficient. You should use the following strategy:

Select Devices

Choose the specific devices you plan to test your mobile application on. This choice usually depends on your target audience and clientele. Different devices are more popular with different audiences so you want to make sure that your app works well with the phone, tablet or other device that your customer base uses most. You can do field research or conduct surveys to find out which devices your customer base is more likely to own.

Use Emulators

Emulators are super helpful in the early development stages. They help provide quick and efficient testing of the application by duplicating the features of the app and working on a real system. You can use device emulators, browser emulators and operating systems emulators. They give you a better idea of how your app is going to actually perform in the real world before you release them to the public.

Physical Testing

Once a solid level of development has been completed and tested, you can begin to test the mobile application on actual physical devices. This is a crucial part of the test process because you can get feedback on how the app performs across devices and across a variety of functions.

Cloud Computing-Based Testing

Cloud computing is a way of running devices on a number of systems or networks on the internet, where applications can be tested and managed. Cloud testing automatically makes a backup of your data from a remote location, which makes recovering and restoring the data super easy. You can also use different devices to access data in the cloud anytime and anywhere. The cloud is a very popular form of data storage these days so it’s important to make sure the app is compatible.

Automation and Manual Testing

You can test the application either with automated or manual testing. If the app has a new functionality, you should test it manually. If it only needs to be tested a few times, you can also perform manual testing on the application. If you are performing regression test cases, however, you can save time by doing automated script testing. Automated testing is also good for complex situations that can eat up a lot of time when you do them manually. It’s often much cheaper and faster to automate your testing process because you don’t need actual humans repeating the tests over and over again.

Strategy and Cases

It’s important to keep in mind some of the special test cases when testing a mobile application:

  • Battery use: Perform test cases that keep track of battery usage while the app is running on mobile devices.
  • Application speed: The web application speed and performance is likely to vary on different devices that have different parameters of memory and different network types.
  • Data: Do testing to figure out the data requirements for installation of the mobile application as well as data usage while the application is running.
  • Memory: How much memory does the mobile application require to download, install and run? This is an important part of the overall performance of the app.
  • Functionality: Make sure the application doesn’t crash during use because of network failure or other reasons.

It’s important to design the right test strategy and use the proper mobile testing tools in order to guarantee the most successful performance of your mobile app. The process can be time-consuming and expensive, but it is critical to ensure that your customers have a positive experience using your mobile applications. Contact us if you have any questions or need a mobile app testing services.

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