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Mobile Testing: Where Should You Start?

Hand-held devices like mobile phones have gained popularity due to their convenience of use. The percentage of users accessing websites through their phones as opposed to a computer is steadily increasing. As a result, this brings in a whole new area to test. Mobile apps come in different flavors and can be native, hybrid, or web apps. Each of these types involves a different kind of testing. In this post, we will look at mobile testing and how it can be managed easily.

What is mobile testing, and why is it important?

Mobile testing refers to the process of testing mobile applications on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and wearables, to ensure that they are functioning correctly and meeting users’ expectations.

Mobile testing is essential for several reasons:
  1. User experience: Mobile applications must meet user expectations in terms of ease of use, usability, and performance. Testing helps identify issues affecting the user experience, such as slow loading times, crashes, and interface problems.
  2. Compatibility: With so many different types of mobile devices and operating systems on the market, it is essential to test applications on a variety of devices to ensure that they are compatible across multiple platforms.
  3. Security: Mobile devices are often used for sensitive transactions such as online banking, so it is crucial to ensure that mobile applications are secure and do not compromise user data.
  4. Brand reputation: Mobile applications that perform poorly or have security issues can harm the brand’s reputation, and can often have long-lasting effects on customer loyalty and trust.

Overall, mobile testing helps ensure that mobile applications function correctly, meet user expectations, and maintain the brand’s reputation, making it a critical part of the mobile app development process.

Difference between the mobile app and mobile web testing

Mobile app testing refers to the process of testing the functionality, performance, and usability of a mobile application on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Mobile app testing typically involves installing the application on a physical device or using a mobile emulator to simulate a mobile environment.

On the other hand, mobile web testing involves testing the functionality, performance, and usability of a website on a mobile browser. This type of testing is focused on ensuring that the website is optimized for viewing on a mobile device, and that it functions correctly across different mobile browsers and operating systems.

In summary, mobile app testing is focused on testing a standalone application that is installed on a mobile device, while mobile web testing is focused on testing a website accessed through a mobile browser.

Different types of mobile apps to test

When it comes to mobile apps, you have different kinds. Let’s take a look at them.

Native mobile apps are developed specifically for mobile devices and their operating systems. As they are developed using specific SDKs they offer a more reliable, faster, and intuitive user experience. They can be downloaded and installed via an app store such as Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store.

Web mobile apps are designed to be used on mobile browsers. They can be accessed through any mobile operating system and mobile device. Web apps can be either a responsive version of a website or a progressive web app (PWA), that adds additional mobile-friendly features. It has low development costs but is dependent on the browser used on the device.

Hybrid mobile apps are a combination of both native and web-based apps. They use a web view control in order to present the HTML and JavaScript files. They are designed as a compromise between native and web apps that are deployed in native containers. Though they are economical to build, they are not as powerful or fast as native apps. They look like native mobile apps, and can be downloaded through app stores.

Some pointers to consider when developing a mobile test strategy

In this day and age, there is tremendous pressure on mobile apps to be perfect. If they are anything short of that, users are quick to uninstall, delete and move on to the competitor. What’s worse is that very few users actually send in feedback as to what upset them. Hence being proactive about the quality of your mobile app is very important. Some points to consider when building a test strategy are as follows.

  1. Device coverage: Consider device fragmentation. The fact that a mobile application can be used on a variety of devices with different screen sizes, carrier settings, operating settings, and form factors can pose a challenge to account for all these while testing your app. Being aware of the most prominent combinations of these parameters for your user base is also going to help you make most of your users happy.
  2. Testing types: Decide on the types of testing to be performed, such as functional, performance, security, usability, etc.
  3. Automation: Determine what tests can be automated to reduce the manual effort involved in testing and increase test coverage.
  4. Network connectivity: Test the native applications in different network conditions to ensure that it functions correctly in various scenarios, including low bandwidth and poor connectivity.
  5. User data: Ensure that user data is protected and that the application follows the relevant data privacy regulations.
  6. Feedback and reporting: Develop a process for providing feedback to the development team, and establish a reporting mechanism for tracking issues and defects.
  7. Release cycle: Plan the testing process around the application release cycle to ensure that adequate testing is performed before each release.
  8. Testing team: Ensure that the testing team has the necessary skills and expertise to test the application effectively (especially in regards to coding for test automation – unless you’re using testRigor)

Types of tests used for mobile testing

There are different ways to test mobile apps. If you go by the testing pyramid, there are three main pillars which are unit tests that check each function in the code, integration tests that verify whether different components are working together, and end-to-end tests that check entire workflows from start to end.

However, you can also consider other approaches to testing your mobile apps based on your needs.

  • Usability testing: This type of testing is meant to check the ease of use of an app. Remember that with mobile apps, there is very little wiggle room when it comes to the quality of user experience. Here, you want to ensure that you have an app that is easy to navigate through, responsive, and intuitive while also serving the app’s main purpose.
  • Performance testing: This is meant to see if the app can perform during different conditions. When it comes to mobile apps, you might need to check on how much battery the app consumes, how long it takes to launch, whether it renders data quickly, other network-related delays and errors, speed of data transfer from backend to frontend via APIs, third-party integrations, etc.
  • Security testing: Data getting leaked is one of the worst things to happen to your users. There are different data privacy and security compliances that you might need to look into while designing and developing your app.
  • Interruption testing: This type of testing checks how your app behaves when interruptions occur. The interruption could be app specific or some common scenarios like an incoming phone call, incoming text message, low battery, the device being plugged in or out of charging, the device shutting down while the application is still running, OS upgrade during application run, loss and restoration of network. During such situations, the app should either be reset to its original state or react in a particular way.
  • Functional testing: As the name suggests, this type of testing is meant to verify that each functionality is behaving as expected. Based on what your app offers, you will have many custom functionalities. However, some of the common ones that are also important are if the app installs and launches correctly, users can sign in and log in easily, different elements like text boxes, buttons, and menu icons behave as desired, push notifications are working properly, seamless transactions or purchases through the app.
  • Localization testing: Here, the intent is to check if the app is compatible with the language, currency, date, and time formatting depending on the country or region. This becomes crucial for e-commerce and financial websites since incorrect formats can lead to confusion and errors.

Automating mobile app tests

Suppose you have been manually running the same repetitive test cases for your mobile application with each release. In that case, it’s time to consider automating the process to save time and effort, and boost your return on investment. To achieve this, it’s recommended to acquire a tool that facilitates test automation for your mobile application. There aren’t a whole lot of good automation tools for mobile testing, especially no-code ones. Perhaps the easiest tool to master and use is testRigor.

With testRigor, you can test mobile apps for both Android and iOS, pure native applications, and hybrid applications easily, even if hybrid applications contain 2FA, iframes, pop-ups, and other functionalities which many other tools simply cannot automate. The best part is that you write all of your tests in plain English. Your test case is going to look similar to how you would tell someone about your interactions with the app. Below is a short example of what a test would look like.

Start browser "User 2" and switch
Open URL "https://www.amazon.com"
Click "Cart"
Swipe up 2 times till page contains "Add more items"

You can take a look at this video to see a demo of how to test mobile apps using testRigor. The and tool offers many more features like cross-browser testing, email, and SMS testing, audio testing, visual testing, to name a few.

To sum it up

Mobile testing can be quite challenging due to the complexities involved with the multitude of devices, browsers, and operating systems available.

Having a good understanding of the user requirements and a solid testing strategy and tools in place can help ensure that your mobile app is ready to face the world. In turn, test automation can significantly ease your life by being able to re-run any repetitive tests at any point, and get the results fast.

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