Mobile App Testing: Best QA Strategies & Tools
Without a doubt, your mobile phone is far more than a “just-to-make-a-call” device. It is your multipurpose personal assistant for everyday use. No wonder that the mobile app market is a zone of constant competition growth. App development companies catch current user requests to offer an effective solution right away. However, the users are rigorous about low-quality apps, so fast release is never a great idea. To make an app truly competitive, it must undergo a profound QA strategy. The article below shows the mobile app testing process behind the scenes.
Functional App Testing
First and foremost, your mobile application should work as per the initial requirements set. Functional testing encounters industry and services your mobile app is designed for (e.g. games, banking, dating app). Once the business area is identified, it`s time to focus on your target audience (education, health, consumer) and indicate the distribution channel of your app (e.g. Google Play, Apple Store). Usually, a combination of manual and automated methods works fine while conducting this testing type. The earlier testers check an app for functionality, the faster will you release it on the market.
Here is a mobile app functional testing checklist:
- Testers pay attention to the proper functionality of mandatory fields, whether they are correctly displayed on the screen.
- An app must not deprive the overall performance of the mobile device. In this case, an app undergoes testing for interruptions. It simulates the scenarios of incoming calls and SMS, low battery warning, no Internet access, loss of GPS signal, sudden device shutdown. Thus, the task of QA here is to test the way an app reacts to each of these interruptions. Also, the device has to navigate all basic functions freely and social network options of sharing, posting, etc. with an app installed.
- If your app requires payment transactions, QA engineers ensure it supports any among Visa, Mastercard, or PayPal gateways.
- Testers ensure if the navigation between modules runs per the requirements.
- The users don`t have to receive ambiguous error messages in case of a network crash.
- After QA run through the key points, they perform regression testing. In such a way, testers uncover new system defects in the areas that change. Also, they rerun previous tests to evaluate system behavior.
Performance App Testing
QA engineers test the mobile app behavior under certain performance requirements. In particular, an app should handle a huge number of users or database server removal. QA specialists ensure an app works under different although expected load conditions. They determine whether the app supports a minimum, average, and peak user levels with the appropriate network coverage. The response time should also be appropriate when the app handles the projected load volumes. While checking mobile app performance, the testers also pay attention to its behavior when switching to WI-FI or 2G/3G network.
Apart from load requirements, testing focuses on device performance. These are the standard scenarios questioned by QA engineers while checking device behavior:
What is an app startup time?
Users especially value this performance parameter. Good news if your app opens in 2 seconds max. after the user taps on it.
How much of memory an application is using?
Memory consumption might increase if an app includes certain features (e.g. push notifications). If an app consumes too much memory, it is better to think over some implemented features before it goes on the market.
Does an app interfere with the use of other programs?
A mobile application may come pre-installed on the device, or the users may have to download it from the store. The installation and update processes of your app should run smoothly without breaking other apps already running the device.
Does an app run in the background?
Once you get back to your app after a while, it should remain the same as you left it in the back. The correct scenario prevents data loss and users don`t have to enter the data again. That is why the testers work thoroughly on this matter.
Often, applications interact with the server via API. Application Programming Interface is a set of background rules the application performs by. It enables data exchange between the separated software parts. So, the aim of QA here is to determine whether the response time between API and server are correct.
Server Data Transfer
Once the server sends data, an app should efficiently handle it. The time for data load shouldn`t be long, as it slows down the overall app performance.
The number of API calls to the server should be minimized. In some cases, several API calls work for the same functionality. However, the lower number of calls, the better performance of an app.
Server Time Off
There are times when the server is unreachable. However, the testers make sure the data isn`t lost and stores in the native database.
Usability App Testing
When launching an app, one must be clear with the product target audience and preferences of app end-users. The role of UI and UX to be intuitive enough for your users to navigate the app. Thus, usability tests encounter users` opinion on layout, design, and overall interaction with an app. That is why it is performed manually to ensure the app is convenient.
Some of the priority aspects to check via usability testing:
- Design and layout model should be clear and widely accepted among the industry related apps. That means that most recognizable buttons should be placed in the expected sections and don`t confuse the users. The icons are to be natural and consistent with an app, while semi-functional buttons are of the same color.
- Interface elements and every mobile app screen should be validated. Some users may want to change the device to landscape or portrait mode, and your app should operate on any by default. It is better to keep the text simple and visible to make sure users have it easy.
Compatibility App Testing
The first question that might have come on your mind might be like “Why test mobile apps for compatibility?” The thing is that modern mobile devices have many version updates, changing screen resolution, size, and hardware so that the users get interested. That is why an app undergoes testing across all devices to ensure its desirable flow.
At this stage, QA engineers continue working with a user interface and check if it is per screen size of the hardware. They ensure the text is readable and accessible for the user with any device. Remember, when an app minimizes or suspends because you receive a call? That means that app running synchronizes with call functionality and compatibility testers have checked it.
Localization App Testing
The more people feel comfortable with your app, the wider audience you get. Localization testing helps to customize an app per targeted countries and language peculiarities. Default language, date format, currency are the common aspects to check while doing localization testing.
Mobile App Testing Tools for Android and iOS
The tools for the effective mobile app QA vary by mobile OS or device. So, if you are confused among them and doubt which is the best, you`re not alone 🙂 To help you, we`ve prepared the list of our favorites.
This is the most common automation tool for testing mobile apps. Surely, it is also the simplest in execution for developers and QA experts. Since Appium supports Chrome app on Android and Safari on iOS, it is a quality cross-platform automation tool for native, hybrid, and mobile apps. This feature enables QA engineers to write tests on several platforms, choose the test practices and frameworks that suit best for the project. Moreover, Appium delivers access to APIs, test code, and data. Therefore, it automates any mobile app regardless of the programming language.
The tool runs tests on the devices connected to emulators or a PC. With the help of in-built APIs, Monkey Runner controls a device without Android code.
Robotium is a perfect tool for writing powerful black box test cases to test Android apps. It helps to make strong test cases and execute them fast. Moreover, Robotium supports testing on real devices saving the usual test cases execution.
The tool fits for iOS and Android app testing, helps to create and run UI tests for hybrid or local mobile apps. QA and programming experts believe that the toll is one of the quickest methods to tests apps with various OS versions, devices, and screen resolutions.
With Eggplant, QA engineers run tests from users` perspective (UI). It enables checking image and text recognition without focusing on the software code. This is a visual testing tool with a simple interface to write the test scripts.
The tool contains three components: IDE, Agent, and scripts. IDE helps to record and playback the test scripts; Agent is a library to add and start testing, scripts help to check the functionality of an app. Thus, MonkeyTalk is a powerful functional testing tool that automates a wide range of tests – from smoke to data-oriented, suits for Android and iOS app testing.
Today`s world is delighted about tech innovations, although developing a truly useful application is never easy. But that`s not the reason to give up your ideas! Be it a fitness assistant, a funny game, a messenger or a bookstore – just keep your app of the best quality possible. Get inspired and inspire others with your innovations!