The most important part of developing a solid test plan is understanding features and requirements. And with proper testing, quality assurance (QA) teams can ensure mobile applications are meeting specifications and that bugs/crashes occur infrequently.
In order to accomplish this, QA teams must be organized in the planning and analysis phase of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) to get through iterations quicker. Focused mobile development and testing leads to higher quality mobile application builds, which leads to higher industry market share. For mobile applications on the public market or those being used within an organization, simple put, mobile testing matters.
If a mobile application is being built for the first time or in development for a new version, here are four areas of testing you should be discussing in your test-plan meeting and how to do it.
Functional Testing: On Real Devices Ensures the App Does What It’s Supposed To Do
The functionality of a mobile application should be tested prior to release. Whatever a mobile app’s main purpose is, the purpose should be tested for exceptions.
For example, if a banking app’s main functionality is to process transactions, transactions should be tested thoroughly. An exception can be discovered when making a transfer from one account to another. If the mobile app comes with a feature that locates ATMs, testers should assure the application is taking the user to the correct location.
Along with a mobile app’s specific functionality there are other key scenarios that could cause a mobile application to fail. These scenarios apply to any type of mobile app. Mobile testing should verify:
- The application launches correctly from a home screen
- The splash screen does not freeze
- All buttons render correctly and are enabled
- No exceptions occur when navigating an application
- Keyboard functions properly for text boxes
- Objects are still enabled when orientation (portrait or landscape) changes
- Incoming calls or texts do not affect user experience
- Push notifications or background applications do not adversely affect user experience
Functional testing is best run in an environment that is closest to a production environment. Running these tests on real devices (vs. emulators and simulators) uncovers real failures and shortcomings. Even the slightest failures can have a detrimental impact on the bottom line.
Nearly 1 in 4 users end up abandoning an application after the first time they use it. To improve retention, organizations with integrity consistently ensure their mobile app is functioning as it’s supposed to.
Performance Testing (and Load Testing and Stress Testing): Help Ensure Mobile Quality
Mobile performance testing is not only about how well a user gets around in a mobile application but also how securely and efficiently its components operate under stress. Whether it is Uber vs. Lyft, TicketMaster vs. StubHub, or even CVS vs. Walgreens, mobile apps and sites are competing to deliver the highest quality digital customer experiences.
Mobile competition is fierce and, with mobile apps and digital experiences constantly being optimized, leaders are keeping a close eye on others in the same industry. Ninety-nine percent of the top grossing apps have 4 or more stars. When the top apps are getting the best reviews, how do you make yourself stand out?
Mobile load and stress testing, and performance monitoring are essential. Users will not wait for a clunky UI nor do they have to. Easily, they can and will move on to competitors. If the Uber app is down, users can simply order a Lyft to pick them up. If TicketMaster cannot process a payment, mobile end users can easily switch to StubHub to make their purchase.
Understanding where bottlenecks occur is the first step in alleviating mobile performance issues and producing higher mobile quality apps. Performance indexes are used to compare applications to others within an industry. Operations teams, in turn, use them to set specific goals for their applications as they strive to be beat out the competition.
Usability Testing and User Acceptance Testing: Both Necessary But Not the Same Thing
User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and Usability Testing (UT) may sound similar, and while both are necessary, they are not the same. UAT ensures features are meeting functional requirements, whereas UT helps verify features are meeting expectations from an end user’s perspective.
For example, a ride-sharing application can have 100% passing results in UAT for ordering a ride because the workflow met the requirements of the product document or user manual but could have failing results in UT. UTs can go through the same workflow as the UAT but fail because the user finds the experience is subpar compared to industry or competitive standards.
Especially with internal applications, it is necessary for a select pool of users to conduct their own audits of the mobile app. Development and operations teams thrive off feedback from real users experiences. They want to find out not only if an app is functioning and performing correctly, but if the mobile tester feels the app is useful in everyday practice.
If 20 out of 30 end users of an internal application feel the tool misses the mark, there is a problem. However, if 29 out of 30 feel the app is useful for everyday situations, this helps validate the tool will suffice and serve its purpose.
Edge-Case Testing: Could Prevent Poor User Experience and Negative Mobile App Perception
Edge cases are scenarios that occur under extreme operating conditions, and are applied to functional regression, unit, and performance testing activities. If mobile test teams know the maximum and minimum allowance for a feature, they can lower the standard deviation of error.
Consider a mobile application that requires specific parameters when setting up a new user. All inputs should be tested based on their minimum and maximum range of allowance, as follows:
- Password must have a maximum of 9 characters. It must contain at least 4 letters and 2 numbers, no special characters
- Form should not be accepted if user sends a special character
- Form should not be accepted if user sends 10 characters
- Form should not be accepted if user sends too few characters
- Form should not be accepted if user sends all numbers or all letters
- Users must by 18+ to submit a form. Enter birth date in the following style: dd/mm/yyyy
- Form should not be accepted if user is not 18 based on birthdate field
- Form should not be accepted If user does not enter birthdate in the correct format
Another type of edge case is when a user does not follow the expected workflow of the application. In these scenarios, although a mobile user might not be using an app as designed, they still should not experience failures.
Testing edge cases also help identify vulnerabilities by sending intentional security attacks. This type of testing assures compliance and can isolate risks in an application. And while edge cases may be unlikely, they can nevertheless have an impact on the perception of a mobile app and overall user experience.
Reap the Benefits of Testing Your Mobile App
The four most important things mobile app teams should be testing for are functionality, performance, usability, and software edge cases. Being organized and planning to test the four attributes helps get through iterations quicker.
When all of these attributes are tested, the likelihood of an end user experiencing an error is reduced, as is their likelihood of dropping your app and moving on to competitors. SIGOS App Experience helps teams focus on these areas by providing the most detailed Mobile Testing and App Monitoring and voluminous device-cloud services on the market today.
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