17 Strategies for End-to-End Mobile Testing on Both iOS and Android
QA has always been that avoidable facet of software development that eventually gets all the blame, if things don't turn up the way they were supposed to. QA testing is sometimes a non-existent part of the business framework as it doesn't have a direct impact on revenue generation. The problem is that most people don't realize the significance of QA testing and its contribution to the entire software development process. The design could as appealing as any other app on the market; however, if it doesn't function well, you will probably see the last of many customers visiting your app.
There are so many factors that customers throw as a reason for their dissatisfaction of their app experience. Possibly the biggest reason is how fast is your app? How much time does it take to load? How easily can you flip through pages? This is the basic requirement that customers want from an app. There are not many eCommerce apps that can claim to have passed this test. But, we aren't learning. The average page size of an app in 2011 was 390 kb and now it is 1180 kb. We are still not doing anything about improving user experience. And serving heavier mobile apps isn't going to help. So, where does it take us? This is where the not-so-important aspect of software development can come to your rescue. Building effective mobile QA testing strategies could alleviate some of the issues or fix them completely. Consequently, you will be able to deliver users a better app using experience, and then, you may see how QA testing contributes to better user engagement – resulting in improved ROI.
Let us now visit the basic components of a robust mobile testing strategy and how they can help you improve on the things that are making your app lag behind in terms of customer satisfaction. The strategies we are going to discuss can be used both for mobile websites as well as mobile apps.
1. QA tester has to be a part of the core team of software development. Starting from the conceptualization phase to the time when the product is out for release, the tester has to be in the immediate vicinity when all of this is happening. He or she has to know what the product is like and what it features, in order to use their capabilities to test from design and user experience perspective.
2. Test cases or scripts must be defined right from the ideation phase. Whether it concerns the improvement of functionality or addition of a new feature, the QA tester must have clear instructions on what guidelines need to be followed so that the entire testing process is carried out in a systematic and consistent way.
3. The development cycle involves a phase where the functions of the code are tested. This phase is also called unit testing – testing of a particular class, function, or module. Often developers are engaged in this task, but with the ability they bring to the table, QA testers can be used to conduct this testing for better results.
4. Functional testing decides the flow that a user would follow to complete a task or access a feature. The job of the QA tester is to ensure that the user can run from one feature to the other and do all the tasks he/she wants to following a specific flow, without having to encounter a flaw in between. Functional testing not done in the right manner can result in the user not able to navigate through pages properly.
5. Developers have to ensure that they implement the user experience just as has been outlined by designers and UXA. However, it's a tough job, thus often fails to deliver desirable results. Only QA testers with experience of handling such issues are able to detect errors like difference in styles and fonts, incorrect copy, too large or small padding between lines, and others.
6. Performance testing helps you monitor the responsiveness and speed of a mobile app when a new feature is added to the current mix. The process flow, to which the new feature has been added, shouldn't account for a performance delay. It also takes into account whether the mobile device and the battery have reported any issues post the addition.
7. Load testing is pretty much it when it comes to defining the success of mobile websites and apps. Load testing allows you to know the point where your application can crash. In simple words, it defines the number of simultaneous users it will take to make the software unresponsive or result in its breakdown. In addition to determining the point where an app would crash, QA testers should also report the point after which an app begins to slow down.
8. The results of completely avoiding or not doing regression testing in the right manner could be scary. Any change in code could lead to drastic consequences, which you wouldn't have thought would occur, and would only believe them when you see their impact with your very own eyes. With regression testing, you make sure that any change in code doesn't hamper the overall functionality of a feature.
9. Automating regression testing, performance testing, unit testing, load testing, smoke testing, functional testing, and all the other QA tests would help in documenting the flow that isn't functioning as it is supposed to. Automated test solution is always a better choice as compared to manual testing, both in terms of the time and money involved. Additionally, it can accurately identify issues for the developer to amend. There is no denying the fact that certain QA tests need manual assistance, but there are still many aspects of testing that can be made easy with automated testing tools.
10. User acceptance testing or UAT engages a few people from the company to test the usability of features before the launch. UAT is done both for website and applications. The people who participate in UAT would depend on the size of your company as well as the complexity of the software you are going to launch. Everyone participating in the process is made to understand all its nuances, which helps in meeting the purpose of this final phase of QA testing. The decision to go ahead with the launch or not depends on the results of this test.
We have now discussed different testing strategies that are used in all software products – websites, mobile websites, apps (Native or hybrid), etc. We will now move to testing challenges and practices, particularly used for smartphone testing.
11. When it comes to designing and testing websites, you know that you only have to device types to worry about – Windows and Mac desktops/laptops. Varying resolution is certainly an issue, but not as big as what you have to face when you are dealing with mobile devices. If we consider the types of device in Android alone, we are looking at a daunting figure of more than 25,000 device types. This is the reason why Android devices are exposed to so many issues related to QA testing. Whatever you do, there will be some devices wouldn't support your QA strategy. So, what you want your QA testers to do is follow a set of test guidelines for supported devices.
12. Mobile testing is a whole lot difficult not only because the market is quite disintegrated, but also because both Android and iOS have number of OS versions available in the market – iOS with 3 and Android with more than 7. This is the reason why companies prefer building their first app on Apple iOS. As Apple has complete control of the device as well as the software, there are fewer issues for QA testers to deal with. With Android, it is all different; it doesn't have control over its OS versions, which makes it a tough job for QA testers. On this basis, it is very important for you to define the versions of iOS/Android that your application supports, and make testers check newly integrated functionality in those versions.
13. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) option has come as a solution to the growing number of mobile QA testing concerns. With the easy accessibility of cloud-based emulators, testers now can conveniently check a new functionality, without requiring to devote too much time. To save money and time, testers can use emulators to test not-so-popular versions of Android and iOS. This will also enable QA testers to devote more time the more popular versions.
14. Different carriers have different connectivity options on offer. So, QA testers have also to test the performance of an app or feature on different carriers. You shouldn't base your analysis by testing on WiFi rather test your application on 3G, 4G, and other standards of mobile communication. And make sure that you test the application on some of the most preferred careers. Also test the performance of a feature when the connection changes from a higher to a level or drops completely.
15. Interrupt conditions could make or break your mobile app experience. Calls, notifications, and text messages amongst others are the most common interrupt conditions that can significantly hamper the app using experience of users. So, what happens when the interruption is over? Are users directed back to the page they were on prior to the interruption? In most cases, users are left frustrated because they are directed to a different page or have to start a game afresh. To deal with this, QA engineers have to report this issue, so that something can be done in this regard.
16. Crowd-source testing is very much like a focus group and is growing in demand in the mobile testing field. In this form of testing, you have to sign an agreement with a third-party agency to help you test the viability of your product. The agency brings a group of testers to find bugs and errors in your product. You have to pay the agency and testers based on the report they deliver you. There are many benefits of crowd-source testing; it’s cost-effective, fast, and you can test different versions of devices and OS without having to buy any additional tool to do the testing in-house.
17. With cyber security breach cases rising every day, companies have to pay more attention to mobile application security testing. Test data flow and make sure that secured channels are used for sending data. Encryption of data channels is another very important concern. Leakage of data shouldn't happen. App data to and from the app and server should be well-protected.
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