07 Apr The Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Testing Strategies
The mobile phone market has seen exponential growth in the past few years. The growth has been in terms of mobile phone usage, developments in hardware technology, newer versions of OS, internet usage, mobile web usage, mobile apps, etc. A study shows that mobile internet usage has increased by more than 67% just in the last year. Also, more than 86% of the time on mobile phone devices is spent on applications. The number of people using smart-phone is increasing with every passing day.
People are using smart-phones, tablets, and other devices more than ever for web search, downloading and using apps, making online purchases, etc. The market is becoming saturated as more and more people tend to capitalize on the market. The demand for advancements in technology is also increasing. The demands and saturation have made it very important for mobile app developers to provide users with a great experience. If the desired response from the app is not obtained, the user can easily switch to some other app as there are plenty of options available on the Play Store and the App Store.
Now, to meet the demands of the users, your app needs to be up-to-date. Well, that is not just it. It has been observed that many users drop using an app if they come across some bugs and errors in the app. To not let this happen, the quality assessment of the app needs to be done very carefully. Your app needs to run smoothly even if there are many users using it simultaneously; that depends on the server, the OS compatibility should be there, backward compatibility with previous versions of the app, etc. No matter how much you try to automate the process of testing, it is necessary to test the app manually because only then will you be able to test it from the users’ perspective. After all, it is humans who are going to use the app and not the robots or machines with which you test the app.
The testing process is not an easy task. But, it is not that difficult a task too. With the correct strategy and cross-team cooperation, it can be done very effectively. Read on to find a very effective mobile app testing strategy with which you can do wonders.
Cross-team QA test case reviewing
Quality Assessment is one of the most important phases of any app development process. The institutes that understand this will succeed, the rest will continue failing. There should be a special team for the assessment of the quality of the product. Some feel that there is no need to appoint such an explicit team for this; the engineers and the developers can do it on their own. But that is not going to help you. If you are the one who has coded for the app, you are hardly going to find any problem in it. So, having the QA team is necessary. Actually, the QA team and the business users should review the test cases together to get a diverse opinion. In fact, every team should be a part of the testing process. This will ensure that everything related to the app is tested completely and the flow of the app is also cleared. This way you can get different points of failures and can eliminate them before deploying the version of the app.
Every team should conduct the user interface testing
The UI design process is very simple. The design is prepared by the designers and is approved by the product team, then it is developed by the developer team, and then this is to be tested. Now, instead of letting just the QA team test the UI, every team should participate in the UI testing process. The designers, business users, QA team, developers, product marketing team, etc. should all do the user interface testing. While implementing the designs, the developers might inadvertently make some changes in the design; the font size, font style, padding, margins, etc. As they have done these changes, it is difficult for them to reckon, so, the other teams can come to know about this. So, having diverse people testing the UI has this benefit. The ones who originally created the designs are the best to identify these changes in the original design and the implemented one. So, having them as a part of the testing team is necessary. This process of UI testing should be carried out by the designers and the product owners based on the inputs from the testing team. This is a very good example of how more is better than less in the app development process.
Test for battery consumption by the app
Battery life is very important for almost all the users out there. And, if your app drains the battery of their phones, they are very likely to drop using your app without even a second thought. Remember that there are plenty of options already available. So, it is better if you test the battery consumption by your app beforehand and do the modifications required before launching the version.
There are many reasons why your app can consume a lot of battery from the user’s phone. The apps use geographical location services, stream data, do uploading and downloading of different kinds of data, share the analytics with other third-party apps, etc. You will have to use and provide these services for a better experience and better features, but you also have to ensure that by doing so, you do not take a toll on the battery status of the user’s phone. So, test for battery consumption of the app.
Step1. Note down the battery percentage when the phone is ready to be used for testing.
Step2. Run the first test.
Step3. Keep noting the battery percentages during the testing process.
Step4. Repeat the steps starting with different battery levels.
By following these steps you will be able to test the battery consumption of your app. It is important to understand the importance of performing this test to ensure that your app doesn’t have to face the consequences of fewer downloads, bad reviews, frequent uninstalls, permission revocations on the user’s side, etc.
End-to-end regression testing
You wish to include new functions and features with every roll-out of new versions in the market. But there is a chance of them causing the app to crash or some bugs too. Also, the new features might conflict with some old features too. So, testing all the features is very important. Regression testing is a testing method in which the entire flow of the app is checked upon the introduction of some new feature(s). This way you will ensure that this small change does not have the ripple effects on other features of the app that were previously working smoothly. Any change in the code too can bring tremendous changes in the performance of the app. So, it is advised to run the regression testing – manually as well as automated to ensure smooth functioning.
Use real devices for testing
There are many simulators and emulators available in the market that the QA teams tend to use for the purpose of testing. It is fine, but that does not mean that testing on real devices is not done at all. It is very important to see the physical appearance and usage of the app on the device on which it is aimed to be used. You can come to know the real feeling of how the colour scheme would look, how the size of the elements will look on the screen, how the device gestures can be used within the app, etc. The phones of the users can be in different statuses. Some might have overloaded memory, some might have it moderately filled, and some might have it completely empty. The app must be tested for smooth running on all kinds of devices. The company has to decide the device(s) on which it has to test the app based on the devices it is compatible with.
Test for times when the connection is down
As the traffic on the internet increases, there is a chance that users very experience poor connectivity. When the user tries to use your app with a poor internet connection, they should be informed about the problem as to why their action cannot be completed. For this, the app has to be tested for such situations. Test your app for the following scenarios.
- Strong Wi-Fi connection
- 2G, 3G, 4G mobile data connection
- Only LTE connection
- No connection
- No SIM card
Some messages should be defined by the business users for each of these situations. If not tested properly, the app might show unexpected behaviour such as app crash, spinning wheel, or improper messages that might drive the user away. So, this part must also be tested properly.
Interrupt the connectivity intentionally
The app testing team should check for the times when the connectivity is not proper. For this, the team can throttle the connection deliberately to see what the users who have got bad connection will experience. This technique is useful for the apps that can probably have international users. It is not necessary that the entire world will have strong connectivity 24*7. There are many tools available that will let you mimic the connectivity like 2G, 3G, and 4G connection.
Check for the performance at the time of notifications and interruptions
Users are not going to have just one app on their mobile phone. Most of the time, they will use multiple applications simultaneously and will switch the tabs frequently. There will be notifications popping up form different apps all the time. Users can get calls while using your app too. So, test the behaviour of the app for all such situations and see how it performs. Normally, your app should let the user continue with their action after the interruption is over. They should not be asked to start-over everything they have already done before the interruption in that session.
Check the performance of the app for different amounts of load on the server. There will be times when the traffic on the app will be unusually low or unusually high. The app should perform well in all the times; low, moderate, and high traffic. If the app is tested for such scenarios, it can be mended by the developers before it is launched in the market.
In this article, we have tried to cover as many critical scenarios as possible but this is not the exhaustive list of techniques for testing your mobile app. There are various different techniques that can be used apart from the ones mentioned above. As it is mentioned earlier, the companies that want to succeed with their app(s) will focus genuinely on the testing process and do the necessary corrections before launching the version in the market. Testing just for the sake of name is not going to help. Use these strategies for mobile app testing and build apps more reliable than ever. It is necessary for an app to work in the users’ phones as it is expected at the time of development.