Mobile apps have seen a noticeable spike today. No doubt that the market for mobile applications is becoming more fierce. In the eyes of users, your product is only as good as its performance. That’s why mobile testing is crucial. There are, however, many challenges associated with it, from picking the specifics of mobile testing to what kinds of testing are appropriate. To develop a comprehensive QA strategy and create a high-quality product, it is essential to be aware of critical best practices for mobile app testing. Let’s deal with it.
What is mobile app testing?
By definition, mobile app testing is the process of evaluating various aspects of a mobile application. QA teams need to test both hardware and software components of an app such as performance, security, usability, and the UI – we’ll go into more detail below. Thus, application testing determines whether an app meets technical, business, and user requirements.
Why is mobile app testing critical?
The fact that users spend an increasing amount of time on mobile devices makes it crucial to provide a high-quality and reliable app. Bear in mind that the mobile app’s first impression is extremely critical. However, future users may not use the app if it is faulty, contains errors, or is difficult to use. Hence, any app must be tested by the company that releases it.
During testing, a company will be able to determine how well its mobile application performs. As mobile apps transmit a great deal of sensitive data, one of the main benefits of using mobile testing is the prevention of data leaks. Therefore, the company will be able to develop a reliable product and gain an edge over its competitors. It may sound perfect, but that’s not all.
The following stats prove why it’s important to test mobile apps:
- Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile app that doesn’t fully satisfy their needs (Google);
- 39% of customers uninstall the app because they no longer use it (Clevertap);
- 70% of mobile app users abandon an app if it takes too long to load (Think Storage Now).
Mobile testing: manual or automated?
Sure, automated testing is an essential part of quality assurance due to speed and reliability. But when it comes to first impressions or functionality, manual testing cannot replace it. Both categories of mobile app testing have their pros and cons suitable for specific scenarios. And if you hesitate between the two, let’s find out which is better for you:
Automated testing is the process of software testing that is performed by using automated tools instead of a person. The pros of automated testing are:
- The test runs quickly;
- More cost-effective for large projects;
- Easy to reuse;
- Multi-testing capability;
- Suitable for repetitive tasks and large datasets;
- Suitable for regression testing and performance.
- As for the cons of automated testing, they are:
- The test is slow for a small-scale mobile app;
- Inability to test user experience;
- Automated mobile testing tools have limitations;
- Time-consuming process.
Manual testing is the process of software testing that is done manually by a QA tester without the use of automated tools. The main pros of manual testing are:
- More flexible testing;
- Suitable for usability and ad hoc testing;
- Faster and more cost-effective for small projects;
- Easier to identify and fix app failures;
- Supports more complex use-case scenarios.
The cons of manual testing include:
- Manual test cases are difficult to reuse.
- Unsuccessful execution of specific and constant tasks;
- The test runs are slow;
- Not possible for some kinds of test cases;
- Due to human error, accuracy is not 100%.
- Human resources are required to perform the test.
Ultimately, there is no single answer to the question – “Which testing type is better?”. Based on business priorities, a combination of the two approaches appears to be the most effective strategy. Now that it’s clear, let’s move on to the testing types.
Mobile testing key types
There are many different and effective ways to test a mobile application. In order to ensure 100% reliability and stellar performance, make sure to use the below-mentioned testing methods:
Functional testing is the process of verifying the functionality of a software system. A primary goal of a test is to ensure that the app runs the way users expect it to without bugs or faults. Typically, functional testing involves black box testing, which doesn’t concern the source code. So, testing involves checking APIs, databases, security, and other functionality of the app.
Moreover, functional testing focuses on:
- The main functions: verifying an application’s main features;
- Usability: evaluating the system’s usability on a basic level;
- Accessibility: evaluating the accessibility of the system for the user;
- Error conditions: identifying the cause of errors.
Usability testing checks the look, feel, and usability of an app to provide a sufficient user experience. The primary goal is to determine the user-friendliness of an app. Further, usability testing can uncover design flaws and be able to pick up on user behavior. In this regard, it is imperative that usability testing is initiated as soon as possible. Usually, there are three stages to usability testing:
- Prototype usability testing: it can be used to gather information about the target audience and defines application requirements at the beginning of the development process;
- MVP usability testing: determines whether to continue developing the product;
- Post-launch usability testing: occurs after the launch of the app and involves collecting information about the app’s navigation and product usage.
Since the success of an app depends on the quality of its user experience, usability tests should be conducted with real customers on real devices. That is why usability testing should be done manually. It helps you better understand what your target audience prefers. Usability tests consist of three components:
- A person: who is able to perform the test;
- A task consists of actions, goals, or scenarios that evaluate an app’s aspects;
- Facilitators: lead participants through the testing process without influencing their decisions or behavior.
Thus, usability testing is an integral part of any mobile development process. It is because excellent usability for any mobile app leads to higher customer satisfaction, reduced support times, and increased revenues, too.
Compatibility testing ensures that a software application is compatible with multiple browsers, operating systems (OS), devices, networks, and hardware. As a rule, compatibility testing allows mobile developers to ensure equally good performance of apps on different platforms and device configurations. In terms of compatibility testing, there are several categories to consider:
- Mobile operating systems, versions, and hardware: ensure the mobile application is compatible with various hardware configurations and operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linus);
- Mobile app testing: determines whether the developed mobile application is compatible with other apps;
- Mobile networks: the analysis of application performance based on predefined parameters, such as bandwidth, operating speed, and capacity;
- Application in different browsers: tests how well the developed application works in different browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari;
- Mobile device compatibility testing: determines whether an app is compatible with various mobile hardware capabilities.
By using this test, you can detect and resolve any significant issues before the product is released on the market. So, software teams should conduct this testing at different stages of the development process. At last, compatibility testing ensures that users can use an app without any inconsistency.
Performance testing evaluates how specific software performs under a variety of conditions. Simply put, the test focuses on testing the speed, responsiveness, reliability, and stability of an app under different network conditions, bandwidths, and user loads. The main aim of this test is to eliminate performance bottlenecks in an app. By doing so, you are able to remove any glitches.
So, if you’re already thinking about how to do performance testing, you should look at some of these methods:
- Load testing: determines the system’s performance under various levels of load, and the number of concurrent users;
- Spike testing: evaluates software performance under high traffic and usage conditions within a short period of time;
- Endurance testing: evaluates how the software will perform under normal load over a long period of time;
- Scalability testing: determines whether the software is able to handle a steady increase in workload;
- Volume testing: aims to determine whether a system can be overwhelmed at any point and to determine how fail-safes need to be implemented.
Thus, performance tests are indispensable to have a mobile application that doesn’t stop functioning under heavy loads.
Security testing ensures that the application is not vulnerable and that access to the data on the device is restricted. Accordingly, security testing must ensure security against authentication and authorization, data security, hacking, and safe communication. In order to achieve the quality security of an app, companies should perform security tests in the following ways:
- Static application security testing (SAST): the process of analyzing the application’s code manually or automatically to identify security weaknesses;
- Dynamic application security testing (DAST): testers execute the code and inspect it while it is running, looking for issues that may indicate security vulnerabilities;
- Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST): the test combines the identification of issues during operations, like DAST, and runs within the application server and evaluates code, like SAST.
Installation testing verifies that the mobile app can be installed and uninstalled properly without any errors. On top of that, the test ensures that upcoming updates will be installed smoothly. Also, it confirms that the outcome will not change if the user doesn’t update an app.
In order to accomplish this, installation testing includes parameters such as:
- Application storage location;
- Updated installation issues;
- Notification of memory shortages to the user;
- Switch between Wi-Fi and mobile data connections.
Bonus: mistakes to avoid when testing mobile apps
Even though you might have a solid mobile testing strategy, oversights can creep up and complicate the process. To avoid common mistakes during testing, QA teams and developers should keep common pitfalls during testing in mind:
- Tests without a clear purpose: without setting business goals up front, teams cannot figure out a clear idea about the development and testing processes;
- Lack of device coverage: testers tend to miss out on upcoming devices and hardware combinations when testing apps. Testing on various mobile devices is very helpful to have a deeper coverage of different devices like iPhones or iPads;
- Avoid UI/UX testing at an early stage: testing usability should be done during wireframes to ensure all elements are in place, how they communicate with users, and how the system responds to users;
- Avoid testing on real devices: although emulators for testing are fast, they are less accurate than real devices. Choosing only emulators over real devices isn’t the right option;
- Avoid automation: a huge mistake, since automation can help increase testing scale and scope. Also, it can be handy for performance testing;
- Tested without a strategy: there are too many features in apps, and a company cannot comprehensively test them without a well-developed plan.
Mobile testing is the only way to ensure that an app is truly successful. When the market is flooded with various cutting-edge applications, you must develop a product that is fully functional and useful. In order to achieve this, testing should be part of your development process.
Source: SoftTeco – Software Development Outsourcing Company in USA