This post explores the complexity of testing mobile apps and then provides guidance on how to master that complexity, including by using automation to reduce costs and cycle times while increasing coverage.
The Complexity of Mobile App Testing
Mobile apps are increasingly complex, making them more difficult and expensive to test. What is causing this rapid increase in complexity? The mobile application market is very volatile. Everyone wants “the killer app”, so the technical and visual user experience is rapidly evolving. Let’s look at some of the key factors modern testing technologies have to address.
The variety of devices and operating systems
Mobile devices come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and specifications. In addition, there are multiple operating systems, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone. This means that developers need to test their apps on a wide range of devices and operating systems.
The increasing complexity of apps
Mobile apps are becoming increasingly sophisticated, mining every data point for increased insight, greater personalization, and integrating with features such as GPS, social media, and payment platforms. Each of these adds an order of complexity to the test automation problem and we haven’t even begun to think about the app’s functionality yet. Activating all of the possible scenarios that users might encounter can seem like an impossible task testing mobile apps.
Insanely fast iteration cycles
Because apps typically must meet the latest “fashion” of in-app design, we are on fast iteration cycles for releases. Two-week sprints don’t cut it anymore, so get ready for daily ones. These short release cycles mean less time to test apps thoroughly. This often leads to bugs being released into the wild, which then damage the reputation of the app and its developer.
Expensive to test
The cost of testing mobile apps can also be high. To test an app on a wide range of devices and operating systems, developers may need to purchase a large number of devices. In addition, manual testing can be time-consuming and expensive. And those devices have to be maintained and versioned.
It is essential to have a “support policy” that defines which platforms, operating systems and app versions are supported. This is essential to ensure that test resources are used efficiently. Adding these disciplines will positively impact the budget and testing time cycle.
Managing the Complexity of Mobile App Testing
There are several things that product owners and developers can do to manage the complexity of mobile app testing, starting with the creation of a test plan.
Test mobile apps utilizing a test plan
A test plan is a document that outlines the different tests that will be performed on an app. It should include the following information:
- The specific features and functionality that will be tested
- The devices and operating systems that will be tested
- The types of tests that will be performed, such as unit tests, integration tests, and user acceptance tests
- The expected results of the tests
- Automation Test Plan
Automate application testing
Another important step is to automate the testing process as much as possible. Automated application testing reduces the time and cost of testing. There are several tools available that can be used to automate mobile app testing. Choosing the right tool makes the difference between being successful or being just part of the statistics, as 55% of companies automate fewer than half their test cases during the first year of adopting automation.
Finally, developers should work with a QA team to test their mobile apps thoroughly. A QA team can help find bugs that developers may have missed. But manual testing will not meet the coverage requirements nor the timelines the market is expecting, so every QA Team must have automation to reduce the testing cycle time and to be able to have a quick way to verify the sanity of a new build.
The Appvance IQ (AIQ) test automation platform uses image-recognition AI to minimize script maintenance by using Visual Accessors that allow the script to take actions as a human would. Fallback accessors make the scripts resilient to code changes in the app. If an accessor fails, the script will try the next valid accessor for that step. AIQ’s AI also enables automated testing that brings considerable coverage from day one of app testing. This is why you can be sure to exceed the statistics and automate more than 50% of your test cases during the first year with AIQ.
Additional tips for testing mobile apps
The complexity of mobile app testing is a challenge for developers and QA engineers. However, there are several things that developers can do to manage the complexity of testing and ensure that their apps are released with a high level of quality.
- Use a variety of testing methods: In addition to manual testing, developers should also use automated testing and other testing methods, such as user testing.
- Choose the right automation tool: You do not want to start all over after one year with one tool.
- Look into Automation Platforms rather than individual testing tools for Mobile.
- Involve users in the testing process: User testing can help to identify usability issues that may not be found by developers or QA testers. Sometimes you can use Lighthouse Customers that help you with beta testing.
- Continuously test and update apps: Once an app is released, developers should continue to test it and update it with bug fixes and new features.
- Reduce the release cycle time: Fewer changes mean fewer opportunities to add bugs to the code.
- Monitor where your customers are finding bugs and adjust your testing plan to increase coverage in those areas: It could be software modules, or it could be a phone or OS version-specific issue.
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