In this fast-growing world, the mobile phone is not just for receiving phone calls but is now used as a multipurpose gadget. A trend that has given a 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, mobile app testing is becoming more crucial.

Mobile app testing is testing 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 and security testing, is 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.

Multi-Dimensional Mobile App Testing Challenges

  1. Multiple Screen Sizes

    Mobile testing is becoming very challenging nowadays as new devices are released frequently in very short duration. An application UI appears well on one screen size but can get disturbed on another. The application is considered apt only when it is adaptive to all screen sizes. Testers need to test the app on different sizes of the screen. The elements’ usage and layout must be thoroughly tested before deploying the app to the end users.

  2. Different Platform & OS types

    Thousands of mobile devices are available in the market with different versions of OS. Android and iOS both have so many versions of OS released to date that testing on all or several combinations of OS and Platforms is challenging for testers.

  3. Different Connection types

    The network has a considerable impact on the behavior of a mobile application. Most of the apps that we usually use 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, mobile apps are expected to work efficiently on a fast Wi-Fi and a normal 2G connection. Hence, it is essential to test the app’s performance on a 2G network for 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 essential to ensure that the information displayed is complete, usable, and without 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. Testers need to consider the target audience and some regional traits also. E.g., If the user is traveling, then the app may be required to consider time zone changes. Also, some apps designed for one set of users may not be suitable for another. It is imperative to cater to all these aspects.

  6. Security

    This is one of the essential factors in any app. Standard security practices must be followed during development. Nowadays, with the growing use of e-commerce, passwords, bank/card details, and personal information should be kept private and secure from hackers.

Solutions for Mobile Testing Challenges

  • Multiple simulators and emulators available in the market can be used for testing. These simulators give a feel of the screen size and the look and feel. However, we cannot wholly rely on them as the scenarios are not real-time. There are simulators for different operating systems and platforms also. Another mobile testing approach is to create a mobile testing lab with multiple devices available to test on.
  • For connection types, it is important to switch from one network to another for more clarity on how the app behaves. When testing, switching from 2G to 4G is also important to check the app’s performance. Also, the app is often offline, 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.
  • For internationalization, translations are essential in the regions where the app is released. It is most important to make sure that the translations are accurate and per grammar standards that place as nowadays, people have multiple options and can look for another app that satisfies their needs.
  • The app must not have difficult and complex navigations but be user-friendly and simple to understand. While testing, it is important to check that those layouts are clear and that 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.
  • The app must be developed keeping every minute detail from a security perspective since it could store sensitive information like credit card data, medical health conditions, personal data, etc., for the user. Encryptions and algorithms must be 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 the best innovative solution to the users. It is not possible to test the app on all devices, but what matters here is complete coverage of end-to-end mobile app testing process flows. The testers must choose the best and most informed approach to test the app thoroughly. The selection of appropriate strategies, devices, and emulators must deliver the best quality – market-complying application to end users.

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Vikram Raskar

Senior Software Engineer-QA, Jade Global

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