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The Biggest Challenges of Mobile Testing

By Product Management | April 7, 2015

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

The number of people using mobile apps at least once a day increased from 784 million in the second quarter of 2014 to 985 million in the second quarter of 2015. More amazing is that the number of mobile addicts—those who use apps 60 or more times per day—grew 59% in the same period, from 176 million to 280 million. As of July 2015, Android users were able to choose between 1.6 million apps, and this number is growing every day. There are literally apps for people of all ages, every taste, every quirk—even games for cats. The point is that mobile has become as diverse and quirky as the human race. Developing and testing mobile in this ever-changing environment is quite a challenge.

Companies should be utilizing all test types to gauge the effectiveness of their mobile apps—functional, performance, load, and user experience. The landscape is highly dynamic, which means app testing practices will require periodic reviews and updates.

Top Challenges for Developers

  1. There are potentially tens of thousands of unique client devices that might be used to access a mobile app, which is a considerable challenge. Manufacturers are creating various smartphones and tablets with different screen sizes, CPU, RAM-memory, etc. A good app needs to run on any device your end-user owns, thereby making device diversity the number one challenge.
  2. Choosing the right tools is an issue because there are already so many OSs and devices on the market, with mobile technology literally changing every day. The number and versions of OSs, and possible combination scenarios with apps could be limitless. Further, this is not a stable market, with OSs changing all the time, and devices getting outdated every day. Initial decisions need to be made about the devices and platforms on which the app will be tested, but flexibility is mandated throughout the process. Utilizing the right testing tools come with considerable associated costs.
  3. Although data has always been important, the growing complexity and volume of data in modern apps means that test data management is gaining focus. Formalizing what data is available as well as how it is accessed from sources and delivered to customers is critical to providing apps that meet performance objectives. Servers, networks, and clients are all key to the success of an app, but the data is the reason for the app. It is crucial that all teams involved in the software development lifecycle be concerned about test data, from the inception of a product through launch. Finding highly qualified members such as QA personnel can present quite a challenge, but keeping these activities team-focused may be even more difficult.
  4. Recognizing the behavior of the end-user is crucial to success, but this knowledge is not often formalized. When it is, the formalization often occurs within the testing groups, almost completely separate from development and operations. Performance testers need to work in collaboration with development and operations teams to fully understand how the app is going to be used when it goes live. Again, this speaks to the importance of teamwork.

Keynote offers a range of robust mobile app testing solutions to fit the needs of all businesses—both large and small.

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