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Best Practices in Mobile Testing

By Product Management | January 26, 2015

CATEGORIES: Mobile Quality

In the world of mobile, poor quality is very visible, and a single bad customer experience can influence thousands of users. Implementing best practices in mobile testing will help ensure that your customers have a positive experience when they use your mobile apps. It is important to keep in mind that mobile app testing can be challenging, costly, time consuming and error prone. One solution does not fit all, but there are many tools that can help automate the process and take some of the guesswork out of the equation. Although testing never eliminates every problem, the occurrence and impact of bugs can be minimized when best practices are followed. Factors to keep in mind when testing include:

  • Functionality
  • Efficiency
  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Portability
  • Maintainability

Ten Steps That Will Help Ensure Testing Success

  1. Develop a testing plan before you develop the application. That way when the application is in different stages of development, you will be able to implement your testing strategy and fix any weaknesses or flaws as they occur, before launch.
  2. Use a testing strategy that combines various testing options. While the goal is to provide the best overall testing results, keep in mind there will be tradeoffs when balancing cost, quality, and time-to-market. There are potentially tens of thousands of unique client devices that might be used to access your mobile app, but it is certainly not feasible to test all of them.
  3. Employ automated mobile app testing. Every stage of development, scripting, and programming, tests will need to be run to detect bugs or design flaws. Automation is the best method for increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and coverage of your testing process.
  4. Use different testing strategies based on the stages of development. Device emulators are the most cost effective way to test through the post-component integration phase, when the mobile app is more or less complete. Real devices allows tests to be run that emulate nearly all the real time scenarios that a user might encounter, such as using the app in bright sunlight or walking down the street. Determine the specific devices and OSs your app will cater to and use real devices to run tests. They should be used in the final stages of development, just prior to launch. Since real device testing can be expensive even on a limited scale, one should consider a cloud-based testing solution.
  5. Establish an environment in which development, integration, testing, and delivery are done simultaneously and continuously throughout the process. This will streamline and shorten the timeline between developing new functionalities, testing, bug detection, and bug fixes.
  6. Understand that mobile is far more limited than Web. The mobile testing process needs to take into consideration factors including processing power, battery and electrical power, screen size, memory, platform, and parallel connections.
  7. Test network bandwidth response, because users are likely going to blame the app rather than their connection. Testing should encompass variations in bandwidth such as WiFi, 3G, or 4G and document how the app adjusts during low bandwidth conditions.
  8. Perform load testing of the mobile app on the client, server, and both sides together, especially if the browser app has a server side component. This testing should be done in conjunction with network bandwidth testing, since the performance issues are related.
  9. Implement usability testing, along with functional, compatibility, and performance testing as early as possible in the app development cycle. Testing will yield invaluable user insights that can lead to significant improvements in the app.
  10. Make sure that your app works for your audience. If it is global, it will need to be adaptable to various geographic locations. Ensure that it supports languages, currencies, and popular social networks of major global markets.

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