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Mobile Application Testing: Challenges and Solutions

Vikram Raskar
November 29, 2019

In this fast-growing world, mobile phone is not just to receive phone calls, but it is now used as a multipurpose gadget. A trend that has given substantial boost to mobile use is mobile application development. The increased usage and tremendous development make it even more important to test these apps before we release them to the market. Nowadays users can review and rate mobile apps for others to know whether it is worth installing. Due to this, testing of mobile apps is becoming more and more crucial.

Mobile app testing is the process to test mobile applications over diverse platform combinations, networks, and operating systems to check their quality and safety before they are released into the global market. Apart from functional testing, non-functional testing such as usability testing, security testing, etc. are also carried out. The main reason for Mobile Application Testing is to ensure that mobile application quality is progressively improved to provide the user with a smooth experience.

CHALLENGES:

  1. Multiple Screen Sizes- Mobile testing is becoming very challenging nowadays as new devices are released frequently in very short durations. An application UI appears well on one screen size but can get disturbed on another. The application is considered to be apt only when it is adaptive to all screen sizes. Testers need to test the app on different sizes of the screen. The usage and layout of elements needs to be thoroughly tested before deploying the app to the end users.
  2. Different Platform & OS types - Currently there are thousands of mobile devices available in market with different versions of OS. Android and iOS both have so many versions of OS released till date, that testing on all or several combinations of OS and Platforms is a challenging task for testers.
  3. Different Connection types - The network has a huge impact on the behavior of a mobile application. Most of the apps that we use normally communicate with servers that are far away. Because the type of connection here is wireless, it becomes even more inconsistent. As users move around, they happen to switch from one network to another. Moreover, Mobiles apps are expected to work efficiently on a fast Wi-Fi as well as on a normal 2G connection. Hence it is very essential to test the app’s performance on 2G network to bandwidth usage for unlimited data volumes.
  4. Usability - Mobile device screens are usually small, and we aim to present maximum and clear information in the minimal screen size available. It is very essential to make sure that the information displayed is complete, usable and without any text cuts. The text must also be readable without the user needing to zoom in or out each time.
  5. Internationalization / Localization - Most of the apps designed are released to the international market. It is very essential for testers to consider the target audience and some regional traits also. For e.g. – If the user is travelling then the app may be required to consider time zone changes. Also, some apps designed for one set of users may not be likeable for another. It is very important to cater to all these aspects.
  6. Security - This is one of the most important factors to be considered in any app. The standard security practices must be followed during development. Nowadays, with growing use of e-commerce, passwords, bank/card details, personal information should be kept private and secure from hackers.


 

SOLUTIONS:

  1. There are multiple simulators and emulators available in the market which can be used for testing. These simulators give a feel of the screen size and the look and feel however we cannot completely rely on them as the scenarios are not real time. There are simulators for different operating systems and platforms also. Another approach is that we can create a mobile testing lab where we have multiple devices available to test on.
  2. For connection types it is important to switch from one network to another for more clarity on how the app behaves. When testing it is also important to switch from 2G to 4G to check the app’s performance. Also, many times the app is on offline mode so a test to see what features are accessible when no connection is present is important. It is also required to verify the transition between the disconnection from the network to getting reconnected.
  3. For internationalization it is essential to have translations in the regions where the app is released. It is most important to make sure that the translations are accurate and as per grammar standards in that place as nowadays people have multiple options and they can look for another app that suffices their needs.
  4. The app must not have difficult and complex navigations but should be user friendly and very simple to understand. While testing, it is important to check that layouts are clear, the colors and fonts are in such combinations that they are readable. The response time must be less so that the user does not have to wait much.
  5. The app must be developed keeping every minute detail from security perspective since it could store sensitive information like credit card data, medical health conditions, personal data, etc. for the user. There must be encryptions and algorithms used at every point to avoid data breaching. It is also essential to perform known vulnerability tests using simulated attacks to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the app. We must constantly monitor and analyze the app for security flaws. In some cases, for banking applications it is also important to take advice from security experts.


 

CONCLUSION:

The main aim while testing a mobile app should be that it conforms to the market standards and provides best innovative solution to the users. It is not possible to test the app in all devices but what matters here is complete coverage of end-to-end process flows. It is the testers’ responsibility to choose the best and informed approach to test the app thoroughly. The selection of appropriate strategies, devices, and emulators is a must to deliver the best in quality – market complying application to end users.

About the Author

Vikram Raskar : Senior Software Engineer-QA, Jade Global

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