Mobile app development has become one the most promising businesses among developers and business owners alike. The App Store and Play Store are getting flooded with thousands of apps almost daily. Most mobile apps are not up to the mark because of various issues in them, bugs and errors and create more troubles for their users than they provide solutions.The cost of errors can be prohibitively high for the users, business and the overall ecosystem.
In such a scenario your innovative mobile app must be free from any glitches, errors and vulnerabilities. This is where mobile app testing comes into picture and has become very important.A competent team has testers as their integral part for planned and systematic testing of mobile apps.Here in this article we discuss major aspects of mobile app testing focusing on their usability, functionality, and consistency.
Differences between Mobile App, Website and Desktop Software Testing
Mobile apps are essentially software that runs on a mobile device just like any other software that run on desktops and laptops. However, the testing for mobile apps is very different from software and website testing as there are many differences between the ecosystems and functionality differences:
- Screen size and resolution
- GPS-based location services
- Screen rotation facility
- Different device architectures
- Multiple OSs
- Built in sensors – movement, shake, NFC, RFID, etc.
- Unstable and unreliable mobile network
- Requirement testing for completeness and consistency
- API compatibility testing
- Usability testing
- Multiple types of Mobile applications – native, hybrid and mobile web applications
Planning for Mobile Testing
Defining the scope of test plans is the first step of preparing a comprehensive testing plan. The scope will make it clear what aspects are you going to test of your mobile applications such as multiple platforms, operating systems, and devices. Purpose of the app and platform choice usually determines the choice of OS, and other aspects of testing.
Selecting the devices for testing is a critical decision and testing on a real device is always the best choice providing the highest level of accuracy. But sourcing all the mobile devices and testing on them individually is time consuming and very costly too, and still almost impossible.You cannot underestimate the differences in features like device compatibility, memory, connectivity, etc.The following points can help you in selection of actual devices:
- Find the most used mobile devices
- Source mobile devices with different screen resolutions
- Select mobile devices with different Operating systems
An emulator is a physical device replacement by the OEM allowing you to run applications on your device, but you cannot without modify them. On the other hand, simulators are software virtual machines and can set up the environment of a mobile’s OS.Simulators are preferred for mobile application testing as they are easily available for almost all devices and platforms.
Manual vs.Automated Testing
Most mobile apps are being tested using automated testing tools and scripts, but there are some aspects that are tested using manual testing. Both automated testing and manual testing are important and complement each other. Using automated testing most of the input forms, links, call-to-action, etc. can be tested very efficiently and comprehensively. Manual testing is best of assessing user acceptance, transition effects, color and images and other aesthetics related issues.
Multiplicity of OS
Android devices have close to 74% of the mobile OS market and iOS has the second largest or 24% of the market share, the remaining 2% is shared by remaining 5 to 10 mobile OSs. Therefore, It is best to get the most commonly downloaded versions of Android and iOS from their official developer websites. If you don’t use the features supported by only the latest version of the OS, then don’t forget to test your app for older versions.
Requirement planning is as important for mobile apps as it is for any software and will affect requirement testing. A comprehensive requirement analysis will reduce the number of errors in the design and development of the app and will enable comprehensive testing. Once the development of modules and app are over the functionality of the app is put to test to see if the requirements are being met as they should have been.
The web APIs from OS and third parties are very critical to your mobile apps and allow you to stand on the shoulders of your predecessors. These APIs are constantly changing and updating and, therefore, their testing with your app is very necessary.