Mobile Application Testing: Challenges and the Solution

We live in a world where mobile devices literally rule, not just in the case of business enterprises and professionals, but also the consumers and the common man. Whether it is for consumer applications or enterprise applications, the use of mobile devices has been on the rise and has reached its peak since the last few years. It has definitely been ages since mobile devices became more than just calling devices. Now, they have surpassed all odds to become even virtual assistants that do what they are told.

Mobile applications are basically the reason why mobile devices became such a rage at one point of time. They still continue to be a huge part of people’s lives because of the same reason; innovative, useful and well developed mobile apps! It is when a mobile application proves useful or entertaining (as the case may be depending on the mobile app), and becomes effective and popular (it having served the intended purpose and attracted more number of users), that it can be said to be successful. Several statistics show that almost 93% of app developers target smartphones for their applications and over 80% of the world’s population uses smartphones. This shows how important it is to have awesome yet reliable mobile applications. And such successful mobile applications require a lot of thought, time, and a hell lot of effort. That being the scenario, it would be worthwhile to discuss how important testing is, as part of mobile application development.

Mobile Application testing

Testing of mobile applications varies according to the kind of platform for which they are created, that is, the process might be different for native applications, hybrid applications, and web applications. This is one of the most crucial and important steps in the process of development, as it is here that you see how successful your application is and how far you need to go while finding anomalies.
A typical testing process usually starts with creation of test cases, then performance of user acceptance and finally device testing. Before getting into the testing process and the different kinds of testing, let’s take a look at some of the challenges of mobile application testing.

Challenges

Testing of mobile applications is actually more challenging than testing a web application due to the following reasons:

  • Multitude of mobile devices – There a number of mobile devices available these days, ranging from smartphones to tablets to ipads with varying sizes, screen sizes, and configurations. This makes it difficult for the testers to assess the quality of their application. For example, an application that works well with one device cannot be guaranteed to work just as well in another device.
  • Different OS versions – The different Operating Systems like iOS, Android, and Windows send out upgrades to their newer versions often, which results in several versions of the same OS being in use at one point of time. For example, iOS users have been known to upgrade to their latest versions pretty quickly, whereas Android user upgrades have been found to be kind of slow, but the fragmentation is wide. This makes it necessary for the app developers and testers to maintain support for older versions and older APIs as well.
  • Test interfaces – There are obviously a number of test interfaces, like mobile emulators and simulators, which prove to be quite important when performing regression testing (more on this a little later). The basic function of these devices is to enable testing of mobile applications in environments and scenarios which are not real. Now, the advantages in functionality and features of such interfaces are somewhat limited in scope and are not always reliable. They are after all hypothetical situations. They cannot be substituted for the real world.
  • Connections – The different standards for data connections available, like 3G and 4G and also WIFI, pose a challenge for mobile application testers sometimes. The kind of connection in which the testing is carried out might not be similar to the one that the application is being used in (depends on the user, of course). Hence, what might work or seem perfect in a particular connection, might not be so in another scenario. As the user moves around, the connection type might vary, and so will the application’s capabilities. Some data carriers carry out their own filtering processes as well, which again affects the performance of the app. Hence, it is important to test the usage of bandwidth, as different carriers may support different data volumes.
  • Testing tools – There are also a variety of testing tools available. The best ones need to be used for the process in order to attain maximum accuracy and efficiency out of the mobile application. These test automation tools may be free or paid. You need to choose one by taking into consideration several factors like the operating system for instance.

Considering these challenges, it might seem to be quite a daunting task to carry out the testing process. The question is, how to overcome these challenges and arrive at a perfect solution for testing an application to make sure your application is perfect too.

Now that we have discussed the challenges in testing, let us get into the process. One that we at Fingent believe, is a solution that overcomes most of these challenges and brings out the best in any application.

The testing process – Step-by-step

The testing process usually starts by identifying the types of testing required for the application, depending on the kind of platforms that it is required to work in. Only then can the process be neatly laid out or planned and executed. The mobile devices, that is, whether to use an emulator etc. also need to be figured out beforehand.

Here are the steps that need to be followed in an ideal testing process.

  • Identification of types of testing required
  • Selection of mobile devices
  • Manual or automated testing
  • Beta testing
  • Testing on cloud
  • Performance-based testing
  • Device testing
  • Generation of test case file and summary

A thorough study and understanding of the testing process, along with the needs and requirements of the application will ensure a 90% success rate with testing. That put together with accurate usage of testing devices and tools will give a sure shot efficient and successful mobile application.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

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One Reply to “Mobile Application Testing: Challenges and the Solution”

  1. Pingback: A Winning Mobile Testing Strategy: The Way to Go | Fingent

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