Mobile Application Testing – A Comprehensive Guide

Mobile Application Testing – A Comprehensive Guide

Brands increasingly rely on mobile apps and other software applications to connect directly with customers. However, creating a mobile app that promises customers a seamless, delightful experience is easier said than done.

The reasons for the same could be many, ranging from the diverse ever-updating operating systems to the lack of adequate testing at the development stage.

Nonetheless, finding success in the mobile application market is a daunting task. Launching a successful mobile app is a multi-step process that necessitates extensive research, meticulous planning, unwavering commitment, and thorough testing right from the start.

According to a 2020 Forbes Article, over 8.9 billion mobile applications exist worldwide. Some have a vast user base, while others are still at large unknown. Looking at the reviews, one can see quite a few factors behind their failure, such as poorly designed interfaces, multiple bugs, and problems during installation.

To succeed in this ever-growing technology space, you must be extremely thorough and robust with your mobile application testing. It will enable you to deliver uncompromised quality and customer satisfaction.

Delving deeper into the topic, let’s understand what mobile app testing is and how it can be successfully conducted.

What Is Mobile Application Testing?

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According to a 2022 study, there are approximately 6.65 billion smartphone users worldwide. This equates to 86% of the world's population. This estimate makes testing an integral part of the development process for mobile apps. During this time, the application is exposed to all the possible operating conditions and every possible (and impossible) user action. The mobile application is tested for consistency, functionality, and usability in this stage.

During the app testing, you will be able to see if it meets your expectations in terms of quality, usability, performance, loading speed, and features – if they are present and functioning correctly. It is also critical at this point to ensure that the app meets all business requirements, industry standards, and user expectations.

Mobile application testing can be conducted in two ways: automated and manual.

Now that you might be familiar with mobile app testing, it is time to understand its importance.

The Importance Of Mobile Application Testing

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The primary goal of creating mobile apps is to expand a company's reach to more people worldwide. Nevertheless, users are less likely to use an app that is broken or difficult to use. No company wants their customers to uninstall their apps and go to a competitor's.

If mobile apps are not properly tested, there is a high likelihood that users will encounter critical bugs on their device, which could result in a negative user experience, especially for new users.

Remember that first impression is crucial for any mobile app's success. Any unexpected app crashing or functionality bug can result in the app being uninstalled immediately. Unfortunately, this also means that potential customers and revenue are lost.

Mentioned are a few reasons why mobile application testing is beneficial:

Provides The Users With The Best Experience

Most software solutions are created with a specific goal: to solve a problem the target audience is experiencing. Thus, testing mobile apps ensures that the solution performs as well as possible while providing users with a high-quality experience they will undoubtedly value. Testing will be beneficial for an app that was created based on a monolithic architecture approach, which is a system where all factors are managed in one place.

Ensures The Appropriate Performance Metrics

Another aspect of the mobile app testing process is ensuring that the technical aspects of your app are competitive, meaning that there are no performance issues and that it completes tasks quickly on all target devices.

Reduces The Negative User Reviews

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Identifying the causes of bugs, glitches, and crushes will reduce the number of negative reviews on various platforms, ensuring that the company's reputation is not harmed and that fewer people are discouraged from using the app.

Ensures User-Ability

Whether you're making an Android or iOS app, mobile testing will ensure that it works on a broader range of devices, making it more accessible to a wider audience.

Guarantees Data Security

If the app deals with personal data or any other type of sensitive data, mobile testing will ensure that it is safe and secure from any attack.

Ignoring this process or not giving it enough time and attention when you make an app can lead to an application riddled with errors and inconsistencies. In this case, it will most likely meet the same fate as many other apps on app stores. It will be forgotten.

There are numerous factors to consider when you are conducting mobile application testing:

  • Mobile Application Type
  • Target Audience
  • Type Of Testing

Mobile Application Type

There are mainly three types of mobile applications:

Native Applications: Native applications are designed specifically for a platform or operating system. They have the added benefit of being faster and more reliable in terms of performance, but they are more expensive to maintain because they focus on a single OS.

Cross-platform apps: Cross-platform apps run on multiple operating systems or platforms. Developers can save time and resources by writing code once and deploying it across multiple platforms, such as iOS and Android. Popular frameworks for building cross-platform apps include React Native, Xamarin, and Flutter. They allow for a native-like experience while reaching a broader audience across various devices and operating systems.

Web Applications: Web applications are similar to native apps but can be used on mobile devices through a web browser. They are inexpensive to develop but entirely dependent on the device's browser.

Hybrid Applications: Hybrid applications are a combination of native and web-based applications. They present the HTML and JavaScript files in a full-screen format using a web-view control. These apps are low-cost and quick to develop, but they lack the power and speed of native apps.

Consider the type of application first when determining the mobile app testing approach that should be used in each case. Different kinds of applications necessitate various mobile testing tools. The Appium framework, for example, can be used to test an iOS or a hybrid app, but it cannot be used to test web apps. Selenium would be required for a web application.

Target Audience

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The number of devices on which the target audience will use the app is determined by their age and preferences. Therefore, it is critical to figure out ahead of time what you will be testing on mobile devices, especially when it comes to Android apps.

Since so many different device manufacturers and versions exist, it is nearly impossible to test the app on all of them.

You will be able to identify design issues specific to these devices early on before you receive any complaints if you know the specifications of the devices your users use, such as the screen size, storage capacity, RAM, and chip characteristics.

Type Of Testing

Another consideration is how to test a mobile app. Automated testing is carried out using one of the many automation tools available on the market, with testers writing an algorithm for various test cases. On the contrary, manual testing is carried out entirely by humans.

Both methods have benefits and drawbacks.

Automated testing is much faster and makes it easier to perform similar repetitive tests that would otherwise exhaust a human expert's attention span. However, automated testing serves worse if an error is hidden from view.

A manual tester can deduce the best approach from experience or check the test case intuitively, but it will take more time to find such an issue.

When can you use Automated Testing?

  • Automated testing is the best option for regression testing, repeated execution, and performance testing.
  • The most practical tasks for automated testing are those that are repetitive in nature.
  • Since an application's speed and performance are tested against thousands of concurrent users, automated testing is preferable to manual testing.

When can you use Manual Testing?

  • Exploratory testing, usability testing, and ad-hoc testing are all best done with manual testing.
  • Automation testing does not allow for device compatibility or UI interactions. Here, manual testing is the ultimate solution.

A hybrid approach can be used to balance the benefits and drawbacks of each method. However, the final decision should be based on the application's specifics. For instance, there is no need to contact a manual testing specialist if there are many similar elements to test.

Challenges You Might Face During Mobile Application Testing

There are numerous challenges of mobile application testing:

Fragmentation of Device

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Because a mobile application can be used on various devices with different screen sizes, carrier settings, operating settings, and form factors, it becomes challenging to account for them while testing your app.

Organizations employ a variety of strategies to address this issue, including the following:

  • First, they test using Simulators and Emulators.
  • If they are on a limited budget, they buy a set number of devices for testing.
  • If the budget does not limit them, they invest in an in-house device lab that includes a reasonable range of mobile devices.
  • They invest in a cloud-hosted device lab or farm.

Fragmentation of the Mobile Browser

Suppose your mobile app is a web application that runs in a mobile browser. In that case, you should test it on the different device sizes and resolutions your target audience may use.

There are numerous operating systems, and each must be considered when testing applications that run on them. Furthermore, during mobile testing, different mobile browsers must be considered. Although Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are used by most users (80%), other browsers should also be considered.

Third-party Integration

Organizations frequently assume that an integrated third-party application will work seamlessly after installation and will not require testing. However, because the environment in a mobile application changes rapidly, this may not always be the case. As a result, testers must thoroughly test third-party integrations to ensure a consistent user experience.

App Protection

Organizations find securing and protecting sensitive customer data complex as external security threats increase daily. Any security flaw in the app can make it vulnerable to cyber-attacks. As a result, thorough security testing of your mobile app is essential.

The testing should ensure that your organization's or users' sensitive data is always encrypted and protected against malicious activity.

Battery Life

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Over the last few years, the battery life of mobile devices has steadily improved. However, battery usage has increased as more complex, and battery-intensive applications are developed. As a result, the QA team must consider power consumption, particularly for the app's high-demand tasks.

Remember that your mobile application should not consume too much battery life while performing this testing. Test battery life consumption in various scenarios while the app is active and in the background. Your users may uninstall your app if it consumes too much battery, and you don't want that to happen.

Testing Performance

Another task for the testers is to run and test the app under high load and stress to determine when and where an application's performance is harmed.

This testing is necessary to ensure that your app works in all situations and, if it does fail, it does so gracefully and without causing a problem for the users.

Problems with Storage

Mobile devices have varying data storage capacities, and many users do not have high-capacity devices, making testing the application's behavior on low-capacity devices difficult. However, if you support devices with limited storage, you must test against them.

If you do not have such devices, you should subscribe to a cloud device provider that does or use a test automation tool that allows easy integration with browsers and devices for mobile testing.

Dependence on the Location

Some apps require location-based data to provide accurate information about the user's surroundings or send alerts to other users based on the information. If your app is location-based, it should be thoroughly tested through simulation or physical testing in various environments. Platforms that provide crowd testing can be used to conduct accurate testing.

Finally, it comes to how you should go about mobile app testing!

The Process

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Process Outlining

Before a developer decides whether to test use cases manually or automatically, it's a good unique app idea to list all the cases that need to be tested. Then, create a test plan for your mobile application that includes all the use cases you'd like to test and a brief description of the tests you'll be running and the sprint's expected outcome.

Choosing which mobile tests to run

The following step in the mobile testing process is to decide whether a test will be manual or automated. Here are a few ways to determine whether mobile testing applications should be automated or manual.

Developing test cases for various functionalities

The next step is to define the scenarios for which you will write tests.

There are two ways to approach this stage:

  • Requirement-Based Testing: This type of testing examines the performance of specific app features.
  • Business Scenario-Based Testing: The system is evaluated from the standpoint of a business.

The test cases you create for a mobile application are determined by the test you want to run. Therefore, all application tests are classified as functional or non-functional.

Functional tests include:

  • Unit testing;
  • Integration testing;
  • System testing;
  • Interface testing;
  • Regression testing;
  • Beta/acceptance testing.

Non-functional tests include:

  • Security testing;
  • Stress testing;
  • Volume testing;
  • Performance testing;
  • Load testing;
  • Reliability testing;
  • Usability testing;

Manual testing

While some developers prefer automated testing to manual testing, using a mix of manual and automated testing in the Agile testing framework is recommended.

It's best to start exploratory manual testing when a developer begins a testing sprint according to the mobile app test plan. Another reason to start early is that manual testing does not require an upfront investment.

Ensure you keep consistent logs of all the testing sessions. Consider running manual test sessions simultaneously if you can engage a few testers at the same time to save time for the later stages.

Automated testing

After completing a few manual testing sessions and identifying the patterns of outcomes and the frequency with which you need to run a test, consider automating the most routine or predictable ones. When it comes to testing automation, the right tool is critical.

Performance testing

After you've tested the performance of your application feature by feature, it's time to evaluate the system's overall performance. This is where performance mobile testing comes in. It assesses the app's speed, scalability, and stability in high-traffic environments and checks for system errors or discrepancies.

Determine the capabilities of your app, its intended use cases, and the favorable conditions under which the system would strive before beginning performance testing.

Security testing

When conducting security testing, paying attention to industry standards and translating these guidelines into practical measures is critical. A security tester should also deal with exceptions and unexpected situations. Finally, each security practice must be meticulously documented in case a controlling organ needs to review it.

Final testing

After completing everything, developers conduct an end-to-end testing sprint to ensure the application works properly on the backend and server level and is ready for upload. Developers can publish an app to app stores if no significant bugs are found. If any bugs are discovered in the app, they are fixed, and the end-to-end testing sprint is repeated.

The Final Word

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Mobile application testing is a complicated process with many nuances and pitfalls. However, it is also a critical step that you must complete if you want your app to succeed. When you hire mobile app developers with a deep understanding of potential pitfalls and user preferences, it can significantly streamline the initial stages of development. So, whether this is your first time developing an app or you have previous experience with mobile app development, you may require assistance from software testers to ensure your app or software is trouble-free. Partnering with a company that offers comprehensive mobile app development services can significantly enhance your project's success by providing expert guidance and support throughout the development and testing phases.

Wishup helps you to hire qualified software testing engineers who are well-versed in testing tools such as Selenium, among many others. Hire a Software tester from Wishup for faster releases and robust quality assurance of your software platform or mobile app.