Behind every great mobile app is a series of software tests that enable brands to deliver great digital products to the market. Without application testing, the quality of mobile apps would decline tremendously as a result of various bugs and anomalies that would surely reduce the revenue or ROI generated by the app as well as the brand's image.
To avoid this fate, we highlighted 5 key points to consider before testing a mobile app in order to improve your ability to uncover a plethora number of bugs, deliver a great product to the market, and maximize your ROI.
Mobile App Testing: What Should One Consider?
1) Testing Apps Across Multiple Configurations
When it comes to testing mobile apps, it is important to execute your user acceptance tests across different configurations that account for more than Apple's iOS and Google's Android OS. Instead, we must remember that an application's performance and overall user experience is tied to its ability to operate correctly across different configurations, which act as layers that the app must pass through before reaching the end user.
When testing a mobile app, the most important layers or configurations to consider include the operating system, the specific version of said operating system, the hardware presented by particular smartphone model, and screen dimensions. Each layer an app encounters can influence its performance and user experience.
Operating across a variety of configurations is essential for apps given the huge fragmentation of a diverse smartphone market in terms of models, operating systems, and more. Application testing, therefore, must account for this fragmentation by executing test cases across various smartphone configurations, which can produce bugs that are unique or particular to specific configurations.
The graphic below is a visual representation of the fragmentation of the Android market in 2015. Each tile represents the marketshare of a particular model and its specific operating system.
While fragmentation is a much larger problem for phones that support the Android OS than iOS, it is still important to test applications across different versions of these mobile operating systems. Using data from one's mobile app will help in determining the most relevant Android or iOS versions to use.
2) Testing Apps Across Various Networks
The speed of data networks is an important point to consider when it comes to application testing. The expansion of cellular networks as well as Wifi hotspots has made it possible to use mobile apps just about anywhere. As a result, it is important to test apps across both wifi and cellular networks of various speeds. The differences in the speed and data capabilities of a network can impact page load times as well as certain functions like augmented reality, which requires a faster network.
People access apps across different network conditions, which can affect the app’s performance. This type of test can reveal issues that your app may have in certain markets that have slower data speeds. This one of the reasons why some brands have opted to build Progressive Web Apps in emerging markets, since they provide many of the same benefits and features of a mobile app while being able to operate optimally in markets with slower networks.
3) Testing Apps Across Various Screen Dimensions & Specifications
Whoever said size does not matter obviously was not talking about testing applications. Screen size is essential to take into account when testing an app since it can uncover bugs that negatively impact the layout of the app. When an app fails to adjust appropriately across certain dimensions, everything from key functions to actual products can be left off the screen. When this happens, we can expect to see a decline in the digital experience as well as the brand's image.
More importantly, apps can easily lose part of their utility when key elements are partially or completely gone from the field of view. This was a common problem that many brands faced when the iPhone X first hit the market. The introduction of the "notch" changed the way that mobile apps needed to adjust to the iPhone. This forced many development teams to update their apps to support this new layout.
Moving into 2021 and beyond, it is critical to take different screen dimensions and functionalities thanks to the rise of smartphones with foldable screens into account when testing apps. The uniqueness of these devices warrants specially designed test cases to verify mobile apps adjust seamlessly to both folded and unfolded screen modes.
4) Validating Functional and UX Test Cases
Is it better to test an application on real devices or emulators? This is actually an important question to consider when planning your next mobile app test campaign. For one, it is possible to execute functional tests using emulators, which cost less than building a library of real testing devices.
However, emulators are limited in terms of what they can actually test. Real devices, on the other hand, can be used to test every function including geolocation features, camera functional tests, biometric scanners, and a number of other functions that have emerged in the last few years.
App testing with real devices also makes it easier to assess the usability and overall user experience. Since your users or customers will use your app via their smartphone or tablets, not emulators, real testing devices will allow you to execute a more thorough mobile app test.
5) Test Automation vs Manual Testing
Before testing a mobile app, it is a good idea to consider if any test cases can be automated to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. This will largely depend on the nature of the app and the objectives of the test campaign.
Test Automation is best suited for regression testing, data driven tests, tests that are repetitive in nature, and other conditions that make manual testing less efficient or impractical. By considering this question, it is possible to better execute mobile testing campaigns.
To learn more about automated testing including its benefits and our general testing advice, do not hesitate to discover our white paper below.