10 Essential Testing Stages for your Mobile Apps

2016 was truly the ‘year of the mobile’. Mobile apps are maturing, consumer apps becoming smarter, and there is an increasing emphasis on the consumerization of enterprise apps. Slow, poor-performing and bug-riddled apps have no place in today’s smartphone. Clearly, mobile apps need to be tested thoroughly to ensure the features and functionalities of the application perform optimally. Given that almost all industries are leaning towards mobile apps (Gartner predicts that there will be over 268 billion mobile downloads in 2017 that will generate a revenue of USD $77 billion) to make interactions between them and their consumers faster and more seamless, the demand for mobile testing is on the upswing. Mobile app testing is more complex than testing web applications primarily because of the need to be tested on different platforms. Unlike web application testing where there is a single dominant platform, mobile apps need to developed and then tested on iOS, Android, and sometimes more platforms. Additionally, unlike desktops, mobile apps must deal with several device form factors. Mobile app testing also becomes more complex as factors such as application type, target audience, distribution channels etc. need to be taken into consideration when designing the test plans and test cases.

In this blog post, we look at ten essential testing stages for mobile applications:

  1. Installation testing:
    Once the application is ready, tests need to conduct installation testing to ensure that the user can smoothly install or uninstall the application. Additionally, they also have to check that the application is updating properly and does not crash when upgrading from an older version to a newer one. Testers also have to ensure that all application data is completely removed when an application is uninstalled.
  2. Target device and OS testing:
    Mobile testers have to ensure that the mobile app functions as designed across a plethora of mobile devices and operating systems. Using real devices and device simulators testers, they can check the basic application functionality and understand the application behavior across the selected devices and form factors. Applications also have to be tested across all major OS versions in the present installed base to ensure that it performs as designed irrespective of the operating system.
  3. UI and UX testing:
    UI and UX testing are essential to test the look and feel of the application. This testing has to be done from the users’ perspective to ensure that the application is intuitive, easy to use, and has industry-accepted interfaces. Testing is needed to ensure that language- translation facilities are available, menus and icons display correctly, and that the application items are synchronized with user actions.
  4. Functionality Testing:
    Functionality testing tests the functional behavior of the application to ensure that the application is working according to the specified requirements. This involves testing user interactions and transactions to validate if all mandatory fields are working as designed. Testing is also needed to verify that the device is able to multitask and process requirements across platforms and devices when the app is being accessed. Since functional testing is quite comprehensive, testing teams may have to leverage test automation to increase coverage and efficiency for best results.
  5. Interrupt testing:
    Users can be interrupted with calls, SMS, MMS, messages, notifications, network outage, device power cycle notification etc. when using an application. Mobile app testers have to perform interruption testing to ensure that the mobile app can capably handle these interruptions by going into a suspended state and then resuming functions once the interruptions are over. Testers can use monkey tools to generate multiple possible interrupts and look out for app crashes, freezes, UI glitches, battery consumption etc. and ensure that the app resumes the current view post the interruptions.
  6. Data network testing:
    To provide useful functionalities, mobile apps rely on network connectivity. Conducting network simulation tests to simulate cellular networks for bandwidth issues to identify connectivity problems and bottlenecks and then study their impact on application performance fall under the purview of network testing. Testers have to ensure that the mobile app performs optimally with varying network speeds and is able to handle network transitions with ease.
  7. Hardware keys testing:
    Mobile apps are packed with different hardware and sensors that can be used by the app. Gyroscope sensors, proximity sensors, location sensors, touchless sensors, ambient light sensors etc. and hardware features such as camera, storage, microphone, display etc. all can be used within the application itself. Mobile testers thus, have to test the mobile app in different sensor specific and hardware specific environments to enhance application performance.
  8. Performance Testing:
    The objective of performance testing is to ensure that the mobile application is performing optimally under stated performance requirements. Performance testing involves the testing of load conditions, network coverage support, identification of application and infrastructure bottlenecks, response time, memory leaks, and application performance when only intermittent phases of connectivity are required.
  9. Load testing:
    Testers also have to test application performance in light of sudden traffic surges, and ensure that high loads and stress on the application does not cause it to crash. The aim of load testing is to assess the maximum number of simultaneous users the application can support without impacting performance and assess the applications dependability when there is a surge in the number of users.
  10. Security testing:
    Security testing involves gathering all the information regarding the application and identifying threats and vulnerability for the application using static and dynamic analysis of mobile source code. Testers have to check and ensure that the applications data and network security functionalities are in line with the given guidelines and that the application is only using permissions that it needs.

Mobile application testing begins with developing a testing strategy and designing of the test plans. The added complexity of devices, OS’ and usage specific conditions adds a special burden on the software testing function to ensure the most usable and best-performing app. How have you gone about testing your mobile apps to achieve this end?

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