Points to consider when testing a mobile app

By Chris Smith

Many product owners invest money in app development to increase profit and get more clients. Nowadays, it’s a great idea because most people use smartphones almost for everything – making photos, ordering, communicating, sharing files, etc. According to Statista, half of the worldwide web traffic from mobile devices.

But app development is a complex process that requires a lot of effort and expense. Eventually, there aren’t guarantees that an application will become popular and bring high profits to its owner. The market is full of various types of apps, and competition is very high. Besides, the users’ requirements are growing. Customers want to use the best applications with seamless usability and smooth working.

So, companies must provide the best experience for their target clients.

One of the methods to do this is mobile app testing. Software testing is an essential part of any development process. It ensures that an application will run without critical failures and bugs.

Mobile app testing has specific traits that can cause problems during the testing process. Statista research in 2018 showed that the main challenge in mobile app testing in companies is the absence of the right testing techniques and unstable testing process.

Our team at a mobile app testing company tried to clear up the main points and aspects to consider when testing a mobile app.

Great UX and UI.

It’s not a secret that UX/UI is very important as users rate apps for intuitive usability and easy on eye app appearance. Every platform has its guidelines and requirements for how applications should look and be organized. For example, most popular platforms such as Android and iOs differ in system fonts, options locations, and color options. To provide the best user experience and avoid problems is crucial to be familiar with platforms’ guidelines. For example, Apple has Human Interface Guidelines, while Android has Material Design Guidelines.

To get feedback and insights from real users about UI/UX before launching, companies can use the services of crowd testing.

Availability for multiple configurations.

Nowadays, the smartphone market provides a huge number of different models of mobile phones with multiple configurations.

Various operations systems, versions of OS, and size screens impact app performance and user experience. Hardware specs as RAM, storage, CPU, firmware impact performance too.

The goal of software testers is to ensure that applications work on mobile devices with multiple configurations and find the best configuration for the app. One OS can have a lot of versions of it. For example, Apple released 15 iOS versions from 2019-2020 and 8 new smartphones with different technical specs (and remember there are still people who use iPhone 5s or iPhone 6).

Testing apps with various configurations allows the development team to make up requirements for the best user experience. Usually, for configuration testing, QA-engineers use automated testing as it speeds up a process.

Real devices vs emulators.

When you deal with mobile app testing is hard to choose when testing with real devices and when with emulators. Experts say that emulators are good for testing and learning the main features and functions inside a system at the beginning of the project. They identify the most common bugs quickly and efficiently. Besides, emulators are much cheaper than real mobile devices. But testing only with emulators exposes a risk because people use real devices. You can reveal performance app issues only with real devices. How does an app work with a lack of storage or RAM? What will happen if the app disconnects or a smartphone turns off due to low battery.

Besides, emulators can’t imitate physical inputs, interactions, and gestures. To make sure that features correctly respond to user’s requests, use real devices. It’s important to find the correct approach to every test case and combine emulators and real devices depending on the tasks.

Network issues.

Sometimes the working of a network isn’t perfect, and this affects apps and leads to performance issues. Apps can crash due to an unstable network, lack of bandwidth, switching from Wi-Fi to a cellular network. Such failures can lead to data loss, unsaved documents, or unfulfilled transactions.

Companies should pay more attention to ensure the stable work of apps regardless of network status.

Testing apps under different network environments helps the development team ensure stable app work and implement decisions about how the app will behave during network issues.

The main point to pay attention to:

  • make sure that the app working with lousy bandwidth;
  • an app should process network delay and notify a user;
  • packet loss can lead to delay and lagging. You can ensure stable work with buffering that uses a buffer for temporary data storage;
  • different network speed. 4G haven’t access around the globe. Besides, users can occur in areas with different networks(2G or 3G). Testing how apps behave under different network speeds and switching networks prevents loss of data and can help development teams find the right decisions.

Ignoring testing leads to downtime, delays, low loading speed that eventually will cause loss of users and popularity.

Manual and automated testing.

Automated testing is a robust approach that speeds up a testing process and rid a team of routine work. But this approach is expensive and sometimes unnecessary. In some cases, only manual testing works. Test cases where interaction with humans is necessary are usually proved with manual testing. For example, evaluating app appearance or making exploratory testing can only be done by humans.

Use automated testing to easily scalable projects with complex architecture. Automated testing fits for repeated test cases or cases with a high amount of data where there is a high risk of errors related to human factors. At the start of the project, it’s important to create a testing strategy and choose which test case automates and which don’t. Thus you reduce development costs and speed up product release time.

Mobile apps should be user friendly, fast, responsive, and have robust performance. Without mobile app testing, you can’t ensure that the app is convenient for users. Investments in testing will bring more profits and popularity among users. In another case, development cost increases significantly.