Quality isn’t an act, it’s a habit.
While Aristotle didn’t have mobile app development in mind when saying that phrase, it sums up the approach to mobile app testing quite well. The habit of rigorously testing new apps should constitute a large part of the overall development DNA.
Sure skillful developers can write great code. But they are rarely good testers as well and often fail to account for all the nitty-gritty happening once a real user places his hands on the final product.
QA specialists typically are a bit of a different breed, who possess a mix of hard/soft skills. They can understand what the final user anticipates and guide the developers to build what’s really necessary for the user.
But that’s not just it. Mobile app testing also assumes:
- Avoiding problems when delivering the product to the final user.
- Continuously preventing mistakes that may crash your product (= catching those bugs).
- Systematically checking whether the product meets all the specified requirements.
Because the end users will be ruthless if your end product is less than perfect:
- If an app doesn’t load within 6 seconds, the user will abandon it for good.
- 80% of users will attempt to use a glitching app only 3 times or less.
- 36% of users will stop using an app if it drains the battery too fast.
What’s worse for your company is that:
- 55% of users will hold the app responsible for any performance issues (not their gadget or their forgetfulness to update to the latest OS)
- 37% of users say that a crashing app or errors within it make them think less of the company’s brand.
Point taken here – no one will benefit from an under-tested product.
Why Testing Should Always Come Together With Mobile App Development
Some companies assume that mobile app testing services could be purchased as an add-on once the alpha product version has been coded. The whole development timeline looks like this:
However, completely separating testing from development isn’t always a wise move. In that case, the pre-shipment stage would look like this:
- QA team finds a number of bugs. They “pin” those back to the developers.
- The developers patch the holes and “pong” the product back to testers.
- New bugs discovered. The ball goes back to team developers.
And on, and on, and on. Such ping pong between the two teams, who are not collaborating closely enough can last for a couple of months, resulting in missed deadlines, postponed release and more costs to bear for you as a business. Now imagine when this is happening between an in-house testing and an external development team. Yikes.
There is an alternative, however. Using a continuous testing strategy – or test early, test faster, test more often and automate.
Both for startups and established businesses, that’s a more cost efficient way to handle product development, especially if they choose to outsource it. Hence, look for agile teams who offer comprehensive development services with QA being accounted for within their project price quote. Now, let’s take a closer look on what you’d be billed for 🙂
The Key Principles of Mobile App Testing
Mobile apps are designed to meet a bunch of unique expectations:
- Look equally great on a variety of screens.
- Look intuitive in a cramped space.
- Operate fast even on limited hardware.
- And stand out against the competition (because there’s an app for everything…)
Quality assurance helps you make sure that all those points are met as long as you follow the next procedures.
Don’t Rely on Emulators Only
Emulator’s a great and incredibly handy during the development stage, but….your app will not be used on emulators solely.
Hence, make sure that the testing team can get their hands on actual devices, more than one to be precise.
Also, you should always test on more than one screen size/resolution and create custom test cases for all the OS versions you plan to support. Things may get a bit complicated with Android devices (as there are some 1.300 models out there and you can’t possibly test ‘em all). Hence prioritize the most popular ones at your target market first. You can cover the rest with automated mobile app testing.
Deploy A Mix of Testing Approaches
Continuous testing assumes running a lot of tests. But that could be time-consuming for the engineers and turn into a larger bill for you. Well, not exactly.
Smart QA teams typically use a bunch of different testing approaches at different development stages. For instance, mobile app performance testing could be organized the following way:
- The development team has deployed a new beta build. A tester is checking for bug fixes specifically (resolution testing).
- Additionally, a good QA will also run a quick check of the app’s fundamental features to see whether anything was affected (smoke testing).
- The development team realizes a huge new update (e.g. added messaging functionality/social functionality to your fitness app). In that case, full regression testing should be done to make sure that new add-ons integrate smoothly with the old ones and now bugs were left behind.
Account for All Use Cases
by Simon Archer
As they say – a QA can destroy an app…and a developer’s weekend.
Irony aside, but trying to do every single thing imaginable with an app is part the tester’s job.
- Testers should go through the entire set of specified use cases and record their experience/troubles discovered.
- Then it’s worth thinking about the offbeat scenarios and tests what happens when a user decided to do something “weird” to your app.
In plain English, that’s what functional testing assumes.
Don’t Ignore Mobile App Usability Testing
Popular mobile apps are intuitive and easy-to-use despite the small screen size. Your product should be initially developed in line with the UX principles of a certain platform (iOS or Android).
Additionally, you need to make sure that the initial wireframes look and function great after being connected to the backend. Hence, it’s worth asking the next questions as well:
- Does the app functions fast? Does it respond immediately to different types of gestures?
- Are there any layout/text/image issues?
- Do I feel delighted while using this app?
- Can I easily access the navigation/key buttons from different devices?
Mobile App Security Testing Is Worth It
If you plan to support in-app payments and store personal user data, you need to ensure that this data will never end up in wrong hands.
Penetration testing allows you to model different vulnerability scenarios and analyze how your app will respond to those. It can be modeled the following way in this case:
The Devil is Always In The Details
The best mobile app testers are the creative ones. They don’t mind tapping all over the phone screen with their toes or get The Monkey (not a real one) to do it for them. They are the curious types, who keep wondering what happens if….
- The Internet connection is interrupted while a user is adding something to the app.
- A concerned user will not allow the app to access the phone’s camera or geolocation.
- Someone wants to install the app on a messy, jailbroken device.
Rigorous app testing helps you protect your app and your business reputation from unpleasant surprises and negative user feedback down the road. Nothing is more frustrating than anticipating to try something new…and realize that it just doesn’t work. Don’t let down your early use and invest in professional QA services from the very start. Alty team would be delighted to consult you on those!