Mobile applications are one of the core areas for any business, which play a vital role in attracting new clients. Considering the difference in usage between mobile and desktop devices, it becomes important to provide both these experiences to the users.
Mobile Application Testing is an essential part of quality assessment and for increasing sales. It is the ultimate way to test the performance and user behavior of applications built for mobile devices. It has gained much prominence and value during the last few years with the multiplicity of smartphones available in the market. You don’t know how users will interact with an app unless you have tested it on devices that are being used by millions of people.
Further, there’s a long list of reasons why mobile testing is an important part of your QA (Quality Assurance) process. If your app isn’t designed correctly, it will frustrate users, be less usable, and may receive fewer downloads. In order to survive in the market, enterprises need to develop applications that can be accessed across multiple platforms, devices, and work efficiently. With increased competition and rising expectations of end-users, various mobile application testing tools and models are being developed. But before you explore it further, let’s understand how exactly mobile application testing happens.
What is Mobile Application Testing?
Mobile testing is a process which ensures the quality of a mobile application. It is a crucial part of your application release. And much like many other aspects of the software development lifecycle, mobile testing too becomes increasingly complex as you progress through each stage of the testing process.
Testing your app on various mobile devices covers a wide spectrum of areas not limited to: whether it runs smoothly or has any major bugs that need fixing, any security issues, making sure that the application looks and feels like what the client commissioned you to build and much more.
Further, there are multiple factors that determine the success of a Mobile Application. The complexity and usefulness of the application, capturing the imagination of the audience, and continuous development play a key role in how your application will eventually be perceived by users. It is for this reason that Mobile Application testing is such an important part of mobile app development.
Types of Mobile Apps
In order to make the cut and attract more traffic, businesses invest in different types of mobile applications that gives them a competitive advantage in the industry. Each type presents you with a different challenge and requires a unique testing methodology to maximize its usability and user experience. The several types of mobile apps are:
Native Apps: Native mobile applications are apps that are created for a particular platform or software. Their code is built in a particular platform’s primary language and made to be used on that platform. Take Instagram as an example: they operate their business on iOS and Android by creating native applications for each system.
Hybrid Apps: Hybrid applications have become increasingly popular in recent years. Hybrid apps are, as the name suggests, a combination of native and web applications. They are mostly written in HTML and CSS technologies and tested on platforms like PhoneGap or Apache Cordova.
Web Applications: Web applications are those applications which are hosted on the web and can be accessed through a web browser such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox and more. The most preferred automated test automation frameworks for testing web applications are Selenium, Watir and Capybara.
Progressive Web Applications: Progressive Web Applications, or PWAs, are the web applications that appear and feel like native apps and are installed as links. They load quickly and work regardless of network connectivity or device capabilities, making it possible to deliver an app-style experience on a wide range of devices.
Types of Mobile Application Testing
In today’s competitive market, every business is struggling hard to get their products noticed among millions of other products. Let’s dig a bit deeper into the process of Mobile App Testing and what are the different aspects that an enterprise should focus on while building applications.
Functional Testing involves tests that focus on the functionality of an application, either externally (e.g., through a web browser) or internally (from within a mobile device). It identifies defects, errors, or issues in the user interface by comparing the current results against expected results. It also verifies that our application functions according to the specified system constraints and standards.
It is a tedious and challenging task to verify mobile sites and applications in different browsers, resolutions, device configurations or any other variables. In order to deal with this overwhelming process of testing functionalities and different screens, Functional Testing is adopted by most of the organizations for their testing needs. It is a remarkably effective tool for finding the defects in applications and web sites before the product goes live.
Compatibility testing is used to check how our software or application is compatible with different operating systems and browsers, different settings, and configurations. If you are building a cross-platform mobile or desktop app it’s extremely important that your application is compatible with as many operating systems and browsers as possible. This testing is essential to ensure that the mobile application is developed using the best practices and adheres to the standard required by each of the browsers and operating systems.
Usability testing is used to test the usability of your application. It helps evaluate how intuitive it is and detect any issues that may be preventing users from achieving their goals within the application. Since usability testing focuses extensively on the user, it can also help you uncover any inaccurate assumptions that you might have made about your potential users. While usability testing is guaranteed to help improve your mobile application, you need to take a systematic approach for it to yield positive results.
Along with this, you need to choose an appropriate platform for conducting usability tests from where you can submit your web applications and receive results quickly. All in all, the purpose of usability testing is to evaluate an application’s user interface and its compliance with the established objectives.
Performance testing is a great way to gauge the load your application can take from both internal and external sources. While there are multiple categories of performance testing, they all serve the common purpose of evaluating the performance of a given system. In other words, they assess the performance of the application throughout its lifetime.
This kind of testing is essential for any app that needs to be successful. As the saying goes: Speed Kills. If your app runs slow, people won’t keep it. Your goal as a developer should be developing an app that performs well under load and stress tests. This will help ensure your app isn’t suddenly bombarded with thousands of users and errors start popping up all over the place causing the user experience to quickly break down.
Security Testing is the process of finding and fixing defects in a phased manner. It involves scanning and evaluating the security of your application to expose potential external and internal vulnerabilities that malicious users can exploit. The benefits of application security testing are numerous, including a better understanding of what standard procedures are in place or need to be put in place to protect against cyber threats, development and design agility, reduction in operational costs, greater customer trust and security assurance and reputation management.
It is no secret that security is one of the biggest concerns in application development today. And the main aim behind security testing is to find loopholes and bugs that cause a major threat to the software.
Evaluating a mobile application’s behavior during interruptions is essential to make sure that it does not fail or degrade the user experience. And this is what interrupt testing does. Interrupt Testing is a new valid quality assurance testing technique which has been widely used to test the non-functional aspects of software applications. The process consists of real-time testing by using mobile devices, and evaluating their behavior when interrupted by various interruptions like phone calls, high or low battery levels, notifications, reminders, alarms, etc.
Factors to Consider for Mobile Application Testing
As the mobile platform takes a further step in shaping up the business scene with every passing day, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations with valuable assets on their hands to design/develop/test their app in such a way that it retains its inherent quality and delivers seamless user-friendly experience. The key factors to consider for Mobile App Testing are:
Mobile Device: Mobile devices have changed a lot in the past few years. Before you launch your application, you need to test and validate how your application performs across various mobile devices, browsers, screen resolutions and operating systems. Test your application in all possible ways to make it look good on every device.
Network Settings: Network conditions are a major concern for most mobile applications. Application responses can vary significantly based on network conditions, and it is essential that users receive the expected performance when they access the application. When testing an application under normal conditions, we may not be able to distinguish success from failure. In order to discover potential issues, we need to expose these nuances under various network conditions.
While testing the application’s front-end, it is crucial to consider device variations, API (Application Programming Integration) call schedules, network variations (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G), network traffic generation, and the target region.
Mobile Simulators: It models the behavior of an actual device and helps you to test on various mobile devices without buying it actually. Simulators are quite helpful and useful because you can use them before deployment of your application so that you can avoid future risks, defects, bugs & errors which may happen during production.
Further, simulators are designed to mimic the behavior of physical devices. They are developed to test applications across various mobile devices, on operating systems and hardware platforms. Mobile technologies have become a basic component in any successful business model. So, it is important that you test your mobile application thoroughly before releasing it on the market.
Mobile Application Testing Processes
Mobile app testing is a significant part of the mobile application development lifecycle. To develop and launch mobile apps that meet its users’ expectations and make a positive impact, it is vital to conduct a wide range of tests on your app before you ship your application for release. Otherwise, an application with mediocre performance or bugs can ruin the user experience.
Overview of the Process:
When it comes to testing a mobile app, there are certain pre-requisites that must be met before the process can commence. There are many steps to take to ensure that the app you create is optimized for users that have gone through your meticulous testing process. The most effective way to handle this is by creating an outline or overview of the entire process.
This overview should include all different activities and tasks involved in developing a quality mobile product. All of these considerations will be framed by identifying several constraints and limitations that affect a programmer’s ability to accurately test their product on different mobile devices, such as cost, time, and compatibility issues. This comprehensive outline should be condensed into a checklist so that no step is missed or overlooked.
Utilizing Different Testing Types:
The type of testing you perform will depend on the type of application that you are testing. Choosing the right testing type for your application will help you achieve the desired results faster and more effectively.
Designing Test Cases:
A test case is a set of verification criteria prepared for an application or system to evaluate how effective the application or system will be in a functional manner. Preparing proper test cases will always ensure quality assurance throughout the extent of your project, regardless of the applications and systems you have to rely on.
Test cases are used to define a testing strategy for the testing methodologies planned. The idea behind test cases is to go through the test cases and scenarios with a working knowledge of how the app or software will react during each test. For proper test case preparation, you need to keep each and every functional and nonfunctional requirement in mind.
Deciding between Manual and Automation Testing:
Manual and Automation Testing are two methods used to test an application repeatedly to ensure that the application is robust and effective to use. Manual testing is conducted to manually execute test cases like functionalities and taxonomy, while automation testing is conducted to programmatically execute test scripts on a web/mobile application through test data to identify defects and anomalies.
Performing Beta and Usability Testing: Usability and Beta Testing is an ideal combination that boosts your chances of launching a successful mobile application. An extensive usability test of your software and make sure the program is simple and easy–in other words, an intuitive interface that is clear and self-explanatory. Beta testing focuses mainly on fixing performance and functional bugs, not just in the functionality but also in design or any other visual facet. Under beta testing, the application is tested by in-house staff, and then released to a limited beta of users for testing it thoroughly. It helps to prepare the release, structure, and content before going live. They are tested at different levels to make sure that no minor issues are left behind.
Conducting Performance Testing:
Performance testing involves checking the application under various load scenarios, to see how well it performs, and using that knowledge to enhance the application prior to a full launch. Testing performance early is essential to a successful application. You can test your application’s performance at any stage of the development process. However, tests created at each stage of development should focus on finding issues specific to that phase.
Final Complete Testing:
The final testing conducted by the QA team is very vital to obtain information on the overall quality of the application. The result of this phase shows the stability and quality level of our application and a count on bugs or issues, if any, that need to be fixed.
Once the final testing is complete, a report is generated focusing on the following points:
- If bugs were discovered
- If bugs were resolved
- If any bugs remain unresolved
- Execution of different testing types
- Compatibility testing for different browsers, screens, resolutions, and operating systems
Mobile Application Testing Tools
Let’s look at the best mobile application testing tools you can use to test your application:
Appium: It is an open-source testing tool used for automating both Android and iOS applications. It can be used to write tests in different languages (C#, Python, Java and Ruby) and has seamless integration with many popular tools (Xcode, Jenkins, etc.)
Robotium: Robotium is the best open-source testing tool to automate android applications and supports writing tests in Java programming language. It supports the integration with Maven and Ant. It is an extensible tool that facilitates writing test cases for different functionalities of an android application.
Selendroid: Selendroid is a cross-platform open-source tool used to test web applications across different frameworks and browsers. It is also known as Selenium for Android. It uses Selenium as its scripting language, supports web driver compatible languages like Java, C#, Perl.
So, now you know why professional mobile application testing is important for your business. Don’t let your mobile app fail because you didn’t take full advantage of Mobile application testing. With our help, your application can be built for success! At Xduce, our application testing services can help you significantly in testing your application and help you ensure quality at every level from inception till delivery.