How to Select a Mobile Application Testing Company
Mobile application testing is arguably more important than regular software testing.
Here’s why. Most mobile applications are free and most software is paid for. Additionally, most mobile applications are designed to attract new customers and retain your current customers by making it easier to buy from or work with your company. Most software is used within a working environment. See the difference? Mobile applications primarily attract and retain customers where most software is used to accomplish a task.
Now, defects or bugs in ANY software are a problem but defects and bugs in mobile applications have a much higher cost than most defects in regular software.
Because people seeking help or a new source to purchase from have ZERO TOLERANCE for defects that make it hard to begin or continue doing business with your company. If they find a defect in software they’ve purchased from you, you’ll get a help desk call. If they can’t get your mobile application to work, what do they do? Think about it for a second – what happened the last time you encountered a defect in a mobile application. What did you do? Yeah, you probably closed the mobile application and went somewhere else. I do.
The cost of a defect in a mobile application is higher than the cost of a defect in most software. The cost is a lost customer or new prospect
Mobile application testing is little different from software testing in a couple of other key areas, as well.
“Walled Garden” Software Distribution Challenges
Releasing your mobile software requires “approval” from a third party prior to listing on Apple Store or Google Play. How will this requirement impact your release dates and software testing schedule? What do you need to know to avoid Apple or Google declining your mobile app?
Inputs & Navigation Vs Display & Calculation
The intense focus on Inputs and Navigation in mobile apps requires different software testing strategies to avoid wasted time and effort. How will you know you’ve tested the most vulnerable areas in your mobile app?
Devices, Browsers, Networks and Emulators
So many and growing every day! Your mobile software will operate slightly differently on various device, browser and network combinations. Which combinations are required and which are optional? Which combinations need testing on a real device or network and which can be tested on an emulator? Making the wrong choice can cost you prospects and customers!
Test Engineers & QA Managers Vs Testers
Almost anyone that has used a mobile device “can” test your mobile app. But should they? Test Engineers coupled with a QA Manager can give you full QA coverage and Risk analysis. Testers can usually do what you tell them to.
Not every software testing company will know these key areas well enough to meet all your needs as a mobile application testing company.
Where to start?
There are many mobile application testing company choices available to you. What should you consider and where should you start to make your selection?
- Clearly define your quality goal and your budget for time and dollars. This will help whoever you select to build an accurate proposal/estimate. There will always be more QA work that is needed but business decisions drive mobile software projects. Time and money are key constraints that limit what can be done.
- Mobile application testing experience is critical. Mobile application testing is different than testing regular software and requires different tools, patterns and methods. Likewise, mobile application developers are seldom a good choice for testing your mobile application. Software test engineers are your best choice.
- The size and recency of the device and emulator library will dictate how successful a mobile application testing company can be for you. The wide variety of mobile devices and operating systems dictates that you make two wise choices.
- Which devices and operating systems are most important to you and your customers?
- Which devices does your mobile application testing company actually have? When a particular device/operating system is not available, an emulator must be used instead. Emulators are useful for some testing but almost always fail to provide the complete testing coverage that most modern mobile applications require
The Cost of a Bad Choice
You must already be convinced that testing your mobile application is important and needed – as evidenced by your visiting this page.
Congrats! Some of your competitors either don’t bother to test their mobile application or do it poorly.
Don’t believe me? Just download one of them and see how long it takes before you can crash it. Not long, right?
Here are the big costs you need to avoid when selecting your mobile application testing company.
- Price Vs Cost – in software testing, you really do get what you pay for. Low rates/prices are the teaser and longer projects, poor defects, missed coverage and blown out deadlines are the true cost. Compare their calculated project cost instead of the hourly rates. Then, get a money-back guarantee to make double sure. Even better, get a fixed price for your project.
- Talent Vs Availability – not everyone is a talented Test Engineer. In fact, most “testers” aren’t engineers at all. If your problem can be solved by “just get it tested” then almost anyone will do – and there are plenty of those folks out there. If your goal is “on time with zero defects” then you’ll need talent – Test Engineer talent and QA Manager Talent. And yes, the price for a Test Engineer is higher but see #1 above.
The Real Cost of Working with a Bad Testing Provider
When doing mobile testing, there are several strategies you can employ. You can test the application yourself, have developers test it, have a 3rd party team test it or you can choose to not test it at all. Out of these choices, having an expert 3rd party team is generally the most cost-effective option; this allows you to access expert testers and get your application into the market as soon as possible. While the ROI of a good 3rd party testing provider is great, working with a bad testing provider comes with its challenges.
The costs of working with an incompetent mobile testing provider is multi-layered. First, there’s the obvious cost of hiring the testing provider to test your mobile application. Prices for selecting a provider can range between companies, but it’s important to be cautious about providers that may charge well below industry prices or providers that are located overseas. While the upfront cost may be lower than other providers, the back-end cost of failed testing and wasted time in addition to the upfront cost can be enormous.
Working with a bad testing provider generally accompanies working with incompetent testers. This doesn’t mean that the testers are bad in general, but a regular software tester might be unable to see your application from the code and system level. This is why it’s important to have software test engineers because they have the understanding to develop and implement a test plan that achieves your project goals.
A good provider is generally very cost-effective. The price of the testing done is reasoned by all the facets of mobile testing that is done for your application. This can include functional testing, performance testing, network testing, cross-device testing, usability testing and more. With each type of testing, there’s a subset of testing that is done to make sure all avenues of mobile testing is done for your application. With good providers, all of these services are provided by competent staff that include testing engineers and QA managers. Having that kind of technical bandwidth and expertise for your application would otherwise require full-time salaried staff and an array of testing platforms.
The Keys to Successful Mobile Application Testing
The three key areas where mobile app testing differs from software testing are:
- Faster and Simpler – mobile application projects are usually faster to start and complete since they are smaller and more focused. Applications on mobile devices are also usually simpler in functionality than software applications due to limited screen real estate and uncertain connectivity.
- Experience and Completion – mobile apps typically focus more heavily on the user experience than most software applications. Also, clear evidence that the transactions made in your mobile application have been completed are more important due to the tendency of mobile applications to lose network connectivity.
- All Those Different Devices – software applications and (most) web applications run in a web browser on a desktop operating system. There are a finite number of operating systems and web browsers that need to be tested against a software or web browser application. There is an almost infinite number of mobile operating systems/browser combinations – definitely more than you could possibly test.
With these three big differences in mind, can you see how selecting the right mobile application testing company might be important in the success of your mobile application project?
Questions for Your Next Mobile Application Testing Company
Here are some great questions to ask when you’re shopping around for a company to test your mobile application.
- With our very fast sprints, how will you design your testing strategy to help us increase our speed?
- Since we have very simple functionality, how much and what type of testing do you propose to make sure we achieve our goal of Zero Defects?
- What strategy do you propose to test the usability of our mobile application?
- How will you test and validate transaction completion and notification? How will you test graceful failures?
- What is your strategy to help us figure out which devices to test on and which devices that an emulator should be OK?
- Is hard device testing necessary or will a tool or emulator be sufficient? Which tools/emulators do you recommend and why?
- Where does test automation fit into your strategy and why do you recommend it?
Mobile application testing is similar to but different enough from traditional software testing that a slightly different approach to selecting the best mobile application testing company can mean the difference between your success and failure.
Want to talk with someone at TESTCo about how we’d test your mobile app? Most clients, at first, aren’t even sure how much testing will be necessary. We will give very practical advice in the first call. Call and talk to me personally. 888.254.9709 Or, click the green button on this page to schedule a call back.