In January of this year, Apple announced that customers had spent over $10 billion in the App Store in the past 12 months. In one month alone, customers downloaded almost three billion apps. Androids make up over 50% of the mobile market in the US and even more in the rest of the world.
These numbers show that we love our mobile phone. We’re using them for everything right now, including using them as a mobile office for work. Apps that let us do our work, connecting to Wi-Fi networks around the city and on planes, responding to emails while out on a sales call. We can do it all.
Producers of mobile apps have increased as our love affair with mobile devices has grown as well. However one area that’s struggling to keep up is the testing of these mobile apps. It’s challenging to verify applications across the myriad of mobile handsets that are currently available, as they’ve all got different screen sizes and resolutions–not to mention the different flavors of operating systems out there.
The numbers in a Compuware survey bear these challenges out too – 79% of users report they’d only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. That number drops to a very low 16% for users who’d be willing to try it again a second time.
So, how is your business responding to this shift towards mobile? Is your testing strategy ready to handle this shift? Or are you struggling to produce quality mobile apps?
It’s a challenge to test mobile apps
When trying to understand the quality and performance of your mobile product, there are a number of challenges in the mobile market that are different than the traditional desktop and web-based app testing.
The different devices available. Compatibility issues in mobile devices are wide spread, given the different operating systems, screen sizes, and individual device hardware and storage capabilities. Even devices in the same product family may have issues because of background differences like OS optimization, CPU power, and mobile operator network (LTE, CDMA, GSM, etc.).
The lack of mobile testing standards. As the mobile app market is still relatively new, best practices are spotty. New testing tools need to be developed because the ones used for desktop and web-based apps just don’t work here.
The need for specialized testing knowledge. It’s difficult to find QA testers that have experience in testing mobile apps, so companies have to deal with testing delays as they develop protocols and skills. The QA community also needs to work on their mobile tool assessment skills if it’s to stay abreast of all the changes that happen in the mobile market.
Here’s how to develop a good mobile testing strategy
Out of sheer necessity, mobile app producers have started developing their own testing methodologies, often using existing desktop and web-based strategies as a starting point. Regardless of the actual steps and tools, they all have these features in common:
1. Testing Emulators
Pro: You can deploy and test your mobile app without investing in multiple mobile devices on the various networks you need to test.
Con: Emulators lack the quirks and faults that only a real device can provide. Whether it’s the way the app behaves after being opened, or the difference in display quality because of the pixel simulation in the emulator, you’re not getting an accurate picture of your app on the device. Add to that the fact that an emulator can’t replicate the very mobile nature of the device, and all the environments a user would take their device into, and you can see that an emulator can’t replace actual device testing.
2. Cloud Testing Solutions
Pro: A hybrid option between an emulator and actual device testing, cloud testing solutions let you access real devices through the Internet. Providers give you access to the real devices, across the world and carriers, so you can test your app in all those different tech environments. These solutions are often scalable, complete, and robust, so you can perform end-to-end testing on all the mobile devices, technologies, and networks you want.
Con: You may need to use several different solutions in order to cover all of the devices and options you wish to test. Also, the solution providers don’t always have access to all of the latest device versions, so your testing may be missing out on a particular segment of the mobile market.
3. Physical Device Testing
Pro: Real devices have the advantage of having all of the limitations and quirks present in the actual client hardware and firmware combination in the hands of your target consumers. You’ll be able to test your app in the actual environment in real-time. Take the device to a cold place, crowded place, event with limited Web connectivity and see how it performs. Any situation you want, you can test it.
Con: The cost of purchasing the actual devices can be extremely high, depending on how you go about it. Do you buy them outright, have an agreement with a manufacturer or network carrier to loan you the devices for periods of time? And what about the airtime and subscription costs? As you can see, there are many variables in play with physical device testing, so you’ll need to plan out how you wish to go about it.
Quality of Mobile Apps can make or break your business
You take pride in your business and the products you produce, so don’t let testing obstacles prevent you from releasing high-quality mobile apps to your market. As you can see, there are many options available, and you need to able to get it right, get it right first time! Customer experience is crucial when it comes to mobile apps, UI/ UX and usability testing plays a crucial role hence.
Partnering with Jade Global for your quality mobile app testing eliminates your risks and enables you to go to the market faster. We’ve got the knowledge and expertise to help set up your mobile app testing the right way, the first time. Want to discuss more or have any questions or want to discuss more on Mobile Application Testing? Leave your comments below.
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