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Things to Consider While Testing a Mobile Application

14 May 2013

There are many theories and myths about mobile application testing. We had discussed some of the prevailing myths about mobile application testing in a post earlier. In this post, we will be discussing the best practices for mobile application testing. The first thing to remember is that mobile application testing is as important as any software testing but is different than it in a number of ways. Let us understand how to test mobile applications effectively. We hope this post acts a sort of roadmap for mobile application testing.


Basics of mobile application testing

The first basic step during testing is to test the application and its functionality on a desktop browser. Once the basic application is ready, the tester must look for bugs and fix it. This is considered a best practice as it allows testers to fix functional bugs at an early stage and reduce testing efforts on each and every browser and device. Only after this, should they worry about compatibility issues and find browser and device specific bugs. At this point, they should first test applications on popular devices such as iPhone or Nexus and then go about testing on other devices or browsers.


Another method widely use is to test the app on a device emulator after the completion of application functionality testing. Device emulators are a good way to test the app with browser / platform coverage without actually owning the device. However, if you have all the devices, then you do not need to use the emulator.


Sometimes some bugs don’t show up during desktop testing but surface during device testing. This is why it is important to test the device on both desktop and real devices to catch hold of device-specific bugs.



Compatibility with browser

Ideally, even before developing a mobile app, you must decide on what platforms your target market would be available –what devices and what browsers. This will help you decide on the browser and device metrics to check during the testing phase. For instance, if your application is interactive or dynamic, then your browser must provide JavaScript support. Only then you can build an interactive user interface.


For ensuring smooth browsing experience to the user, your browser must support XML HTTP request object. This metric is needed to communicate with the back-end server and to update a page without actually reloading it.


CSS support is also very essential, as it will define your page layout and appearance. It will also impact what all page elements would be displayed at a time.


Moreover, you should make sure that the browser you choose support applications like yours. If there are issues with the browser, your application’s performance would be affected as well.


With the dynamic changes in technology these days, users switch browsers at the drop of a hat. Hence, you need to ensure you can support a browser that is not currently a part of the metrics but can added if need arises. You should also be prepared to remove a browser that is currently the part of your metrics but does not perform properly. Many firms provide testing services and they can be consulted for analyzing which browser you wish to keep so as to avoid major changes in future.


Sometimes after testing the device you realize that the application runs smoothly in the higher version of the browser but has rendering issues in the lower versions. The performance may waver from device to device as well. You can either fix the bugs under this scenario or if it proves to be expensive and time consuming you can drop the old browser version completely from the metrics.


Compatibility with devices

While every application developer thinks of making an application compatible with devices like iPhone, Google and HTC, there are certain other devices such as Nexus and Motorola Droid that too are popular and cannot be ignored. The devices market is very large, fragmented and rapidly changing, so be careful while chalking out an optimal testing solution.


What to test? Cheat Sheet


The basic roadmap to testing involves testing in the following order:


  1. Does your application install properly on all devices?
  2. Can your application be uninstalled without any error?
  3. How does your application behave when there is no network or poor network?
  4. Is your applications logo, name, splash screen, etc. properly displayed?
  5. Does your application start and restart quickly?
  6. Is your application affecting the performance of the device or other applications?
  7. Can your application be exited from exit modes such as End key or Exit options etc.?
  8. Can the user receive a call / SMS notification when the application is running?
  9. Does the application hang or crash after a phone call / SMS notification?
  10. Does your application notify about low battery?
  11. Is your graphical user interface (GUI) including color scheme, theme, menu, font color font style etc. as they should be on all devices/browsers?
  12. Is your application posing security risks?


Mentioned here are a few best practices to be followed during Mobile application testing. Talk to our in-house testing team to know more on how rigorously testing your app before release can save your organization’s reputation.


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