Mobile applications are different than web or installed applications and deserve some careful thought to make the best choices about what and how much mobile application testing services are really needed.
There is a long list to consider and surprisingly, you probably don’t need all of those mobile app testing services to achieve your goal.
Mobile application testing services can include:
- Mobile application functional testing
- Mobile application regression testing
- Mobile application cross device testing
- Mobile application test automation
- Mobile application security and penetration testing
- Mobile application performance testing
- Mobile application usability testing
Goals for Mobile Application Testing Services
Here are some questions you can consider to help you determine if one of the types of mobile application testing services I listed will help you meet your needs and achieve your goal.
First, what is your goal for your mobile application?
- How many downloads or users do you want to use it?
- What value will your users receive from using your mobile application?
- How will you know they have received that value?
Now that you have a basic goal for your mobile application, see if the following questions help you chose the best and most appropriate mobile application testing services.
Mobile Application Functional Testing
Does you mobile application contain complex or simple functionality?
Simple functionality with only a few inputs/outputs/screens usually doesn’t need anything other than some basic validation that the inputs/outputs and screens work and flow properly. There are few inputs/outputs/screens so the number of combinations to test will be limited and can be accomplished relatively quickly.
Complex functionality where you have more than just a few inputs, outputs and screens probably needs (and deserves) a more robust testing strategy and plan. In general, you can’t test everything (it takes too long and costs too much) so selecting a smart test strategy will be very important to make sure that all of the “Important Stuff” is tested thoroughly and frequently. Almost any qualified Test Engineer or QA Manager will have a small library of Test Strategies and can help you select the one or two that most closely match your needs and goals.
Mobile Application Regression Testing
Regression Testing helps you make sure that you didn’t break anything that was previously working well. The main goal of regression testing is to insure that you don’t disappoint or anger your mobile application users instead of delighting them with new features and functions.
Mobile applications tend to be updated frequently. One of the benefits of a mobile application is that they tend to be smaller and simpler than other types of applications and can be updated very quickly and easily. This is a tremendous benefit because it allows you to quickly add or change features based on real-time user feedback.
But, being very quick to make changes to your mobile application may also hurt you if you don’t take just a little extra time to complete an effective regression test.
Regression Testing Can Be Challenging
- Familiarity breeds contempt. When you’ve seen and tested your mobile applications features and functions every day for the past six months, it’s easy to let your assumptions and urgency take control. This can result in skipping or overlooking some functionality in your haste to release your new mobile application. Using an experienced and trusted third party for your regression testing will insure that nothing is skipped (or assumed to be OK) during your regression testing. “Once over lightly and quickly” is not a good regression testing strategy!
- Lack of test documentation. Mobile applications tend to be smaller than web applications and good test documentation is usually the first casualty. And no, your mobile application doesn’t necessarily need a full set of ISO compliant test documentation. But, a decent list of test scenarios and use cases can help you complete your regression testing quicker and with a much higher (and measurable) level of quality and customer delight. An experienced third party software test engineer can quickly and easily help you build and maintain these test documents as a natural part of helping you regression test your mobile application.
Regression testing is simple but not always easy if you aren’t an experienced software test engineer. But, getting help from a professional, at least the first couple times, can go a long way to helping you release your mobile application faster, better and cheaper.
Mobile Application Cross Device Testing
Your mobile application might be used on a new iPhone or an Android phone several years old. Almost all mobile devices behave slightly differently and the difference in behaviors between iOS and Android can be significant. If you fail to test your mobile application on a variety of mobile devices, you are inviting a catastrophe.
There are two basic methods available for cross device testing. You should consider the pros and cons of both before specifying what mobile application testing services to obtain.
Real Mobile Devices and Operating Systems
Real devices provide the best mobile application testing results since you are testing your application on the actual device. But, Real Mobile Devices are expensive to acquire and maintain. Real Mobile Devices are also slightly more time consuming to test on as they require physical handling. Finding a sufficient variety and availability of Real Mobile Devices is a big challenge as new devices and mobile operating systems are released and updated frequently – and this makes the process of building and maintaining a library of mobile devices very expensive.
Mobile Device Emulators
Emulators are usually on-line services where you can load your mobile application on a variety of specific virtual or emulated mobile devices with specific operating systems and versions. Mobile Device Emulators are very handy but have some distinct challenges. Mobile Device Emulators work well for basic functionality but are seldom useful if hardware functionality testing (GPS, Cellular Vs Wifi Networks or Device rotation) is needed to test your mobile application.
But, We Think There is a Better Way
The TESTCo Blended XDT (Cross Device Testing) – at TESTCo, we take a blended approach to using Real Mobile Devices and Mobile Device Emulators. We will help you analyze your expected customer device usage and the current market share of each mobile device and operating system and produce a matrix that compares your testing needs against Real and Emulated devices. We use this to build a testing strategy that optimizes for primarily Real Mobile Device Testing with a portion of Emulator Testing so that we can give you the highest confidence that your mobile application will work flawlessly on the devices that your customers use.
To Be Continued
In the coming weeks I will shed light on the five other types of mobile application testing so you can make smarter testing decisions. In the meantime, check out this post if want tips on how to select a mobile application testing company.
If you can’t wait for me to finish this post (hey, I can’t write all day, I have a business to run), call me (888-254-9709), or request a call back using the green button on this page. I’m happy to answer your questions.