In 2017, users worldwide downloaded around 197 billion applications; some of which were the typical type you use on your device everyday without even thinking about it: social media, messengers, and games. Others were much more practical and down to earth apps for work, communication with colleagues and business partners, tracking your bank accounts, and organizing your lifestyle.
With such a versatile assortment of programs on your smartphone, you must certainly have some experience choosing an app to suit your needs, and you probably know, at first glance, which application will do. But, have you ever thought about what makes a good app so attractive and trustworthy? We know the answer: they were thoroughly tested during their development and quality assurance process. The app, whose performance was carefully checked on various devices, cannot but fulfil the first and foremost requirement – to look and work properly; however, mobile testing methodology is a very complex issue. In this article, we will help you understand its major pitfalls, advantages, and possibilities for you to perform your app checks seamlessly.
Reasons Why Your App Fails
There are plenty of reasons why an application may fail on the market. An experienced developer, who wants to create a really useful and attractive app, should know all of them and test all these risks carefully. The most common are problems such as:
- Insufficient market research. It may seem that, if all the information is available, you won’t need to conduct profound market or audience research, but it is a crucial aspect not only of app development itself, but also of the mobile application testing methodology. A deep understanding of your audience’s needs and marketing possibilities heavily influences the choice of testing tools and strategies.
- Lack of post-launch communication. Your user feedback and ratings are actually an important part of your app performance. Moreover, it may become fruitful for you to polish your future marketing strategy and mobile testing techniques, as well. Organize a smooth and friendly user communication procedure after presenting your app and you may get a pile of new ideas on how to improve your product!
- Low quality content. Your app should offer something different, otherwise your users will prefer to keep up with the existing state of things and not download your product. To improve the quality of information and service that your program offers, you need to perform a profound usability check.
- Poor user experience. A caring developer should always keep in mind the overall level of user experience. If you are not sure how to test your program’s UI to see if it’s really what you need, then you’d better hire a UX designer, as this is more important than it is usually thought to be. Your application’s poor navigation, functionality, and design may lead to its failure.
To avoid these problems, you need to be aware of all the possible challenges and run profound and careful testing.
Biggest Testing Challenges
All types of testing for mobile applications have their advantages and drawbacks, and it may sometimes be difficult to perform testing seamlessly. There are a lot of mobile application testing challenges which may prevent you from running the process smoothly. The biggest include:
- Variety of iOS and Android versions. Nowadays, there exist a great number of different iOS and Android versions. Specific peculiarities of each of them may heavily influence the performance of your app. To check this, the developer should run consistent compatibility testing on as many devices as possible. It’s a fact that checking each platform’s version may be a real challenge, though it is still absolutely necessary.
- Lack of capacity. This may include various problems with functionality and equipment, such as lack of physical devices, inability to test on different network connection types, or absence of necessary tools. In this case, a good solution may be to try emulators and cloud-based testing that we will talk about later.
- Location dependence. We bet that the phrase “To continue, turn on your device location services” seems very familiar to you. Most applications use specific information about your location in their work. Here, we speak not only about GPS procedures, but also about location dependent algorithms that some programs use to provide their users with the best real-time service. Therefore, this feature of the app should be thoroughly tested, which may be a hurdle if there is no possibility to use emulators and developers are forced to take the device to different locations, physically.
- Internationalization. In our globalized world, not only should the technical characteristics of the application be checked thoroughly, but also its compliance with the needs of users across different cultures and speaking various languages. That is why each app, developed for international use, ought to employ high quality translation and a corresponding layout, neutral design, and multilingual customer support.
To deal with all those challenges successfully, you need to choose appropriate iOS and Android app testing techniques, along with diverse testing strategies. With constant trial and error, you will find the best solutions for your applications, and we will be happy to help you out.
Best Mobile Testing Techniques
Mobile app testing may involve many issues, and the ones that we have described earlier are only the most prominent. One of the biggest challenges that developers faced while checking their apps’ performance in 2017 was truly quite simple – lack of time and resources. Despite the fact that application testing methodology usually takes lots of time and effort, they are absolutely necessary to perform to achieve a great product. Here, we offer you six types of testing for mobile applications that have proven to be the most needed and successful. They help developers not only test their products, but also gather new ideas on how to improve existing technology. For that reason, there are now many different kinds of processes for mobile app testing. Best practices include:
Cloud-based mobile testing
In 2017, more than half of IT companies around the world claimed they use cloud test environments for performance and security testing. Indeed, this testing technique is one of the most renowned, globally, as it can create an almost flawless web environment for running productive testing procedures.
- Cloud testing can be performed from any location;
- It doesn’t require massive hardware maintenance expenditures;
- Its storage capacity is virtually unlimited.
That is why this type of testing is very effective for large-scale projects with a huge but unstable number of users from different places. Cloud testing can predict the future functional performance of such apps under a heavy load. However, it does have some disadvantages, too.
- Lack of security;
- Less autonomy while dealing with your data.
Automation testing remains one of the most effective testing techniques for mobile applications, as it has many undeniable advantages.
- It is very precise and certain;
- Is very helpful in the event of a highly complex program;
- It has a possibility of simultaneous, or parallel, testing, so it may be performed on several different devices at the same time;
- Provides developers with the fullest possible image of the app’s potential problems;
- Helps developers verify an application’s compatibility with various OS;
- Develops solutions to increase app’s productivity.
Any developer performing manual testing may make a mistake, though, on the contrary, a series of well-scripted automated tests will provide a desired result.
- It may require certain primary expenditures;
- Lack of compatibility capacities.
Alpha and Beta Testing
With an incredibly high level of competitiveness in today’s technology market, any app developer understands how important it is to meet the needs of the users and satisfy all their wishes. To attract as many users as possible, and leave them happy and loyal to your product, you should not only investigate markets and develop reliable economic strategies, but also test your app on real users before releasing it to the open market.
That is why Alpha and Beta testing are performed. They have many crucial advantages. To start with, Alpha testing is performed internally within the company, and the testers are usually its employees. Beta testing, on the contrary, is done by real users – a limited number of people, who give their feedback about the program’s performance.
So their pros are:
- Involve different auditories to check the app’s performance;
- Can reveal certain minor drawbacks of design, navigation or security of the application;
- Serve as a base for developers to initiate changes that will make the app more convenient and pleasant to use.
However, nothing is perfect and Alpha and Beta testing have their drawbacks, too.
- Beta testers, who can check the application performance, may be difficult to find;
- Lack of control over the testing.
L10N and I18N Testing
We have already mentioned here how important it may be to adjust your product to the needs of users all over the world, and this includes some efforts for proper localization and internationalization. This is why it is necessary to check the application’s functionality, especially if the information it operates with is in different languages and comes from different places. Here, I18N testing means partial compliance with foreign data, as the core of information remains in the native language (usually English).
L10N testing includes I18N and some other adaptations.
- The program is tested to run seamlessly with data inputs in any language;
- May check any textual updates, menu formats, new settings, date and time formats;
- Adjust any notifications about mistakes and program failures.
In other words, if you are oriented within an international market, with L10N and I18N check you can make your application work well for someone in England, Japan and Russia, all at the same time.
- Can require total rearrangement of some of the app’s features and functions;
- Is complex and time-consuming.
We have already told you how dangerous it may be for a developer not to consider an average level of his users’ UX. Mobile applications should be created with regard for a users’ abilities. If so, it may significantly reduce its failure risk level, and even cost (as non-productive design and development procedures are usually cut off after being disapproved by testers). Therefore, several types of UX/UI testing should be conducted, including:
- Trust Test – this will prove whether users are initially eager to use the app, including feedback on its design, navigation and overall outlook.
- Impression Test – this will illustrate whether people are satisfied by the app’s primary functioning, such as keyboard and messaging capacities, and its speed and responsiveness.
- Blur Test – checking procedures which involves blurring significant images in order to understand the level of user orientation in the app, the logics of its navigation and the productivity of button placement.
- Time per Task Test – the amount of time users need to perform certain tasks is measured and developers check whether any improvements should be made to minimize it.
- Automated Screen Recording – check user behaviours while working with an app to investigate the areas of main interest, and the most common tasks and challenges the program may undergo executing it.
As all the other testing techniques we describe here, this type also has its major advantages and drawbacks.
- Reduces market risks for the application;
- Makes application user-friendlier, easier to use and more attractive;
- Provides important analytics.
- May be time-consuming;
- Needs a lot of preparation.
Last but not least, let’s discuss our final type of application testing methodology: A/B testing. As the title implies, this testing technique includes creating two different variants of the same app feature with a consequent evaluation of the performance of both of them. Usually, there are special groups of testers created to perform this type of mobile testing. Best practices of A/B testing imply running different app scenarios and immediate implementation of significant changes that the users approve. This technique can be very useful, not only technologically, but also economically.
- Usually helps ROI rise substantially;
- Gives valuable data about the user experience and the overall level of user satisfaction.
- Can be time-consuming;
- Takes many various resources.
In this article, we have provided you with some useful information about the most popular and successful mobile application testing techniques, which are essential to perform to get a really valuable and user-friendly product. These methods will also help you increase your revenue and attract new users. For further support, innovative ideas and professional help with developing and testing your applications, do not hesitate to contact us at EGO creative media solutions!
QA Engineer at EGO cms