In Quality Assurance
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Testing is a fast-paced industry that is rapidly changing. The movement towards mobile devices has brought a whole different set of challenges to the testing world.

Mobile apps and websites need to be rock solid before they are released in the market. The increased usage and rapid development of mobile applications is a clear sign of the need to test mobile applications thoroughly before making them go live on Google Play or App Store.

The smartphones are rapidly becoming the primary mode of interaction for consumers and businesses globally. Everyday thousands of apps are being generated. Apps are now being incorporated into cars, wearable tech and home appliances also.

Why we are focusing on mobile application testing is because millions and trillions of options are available in the app store (IOS, Android and Windows) and users have become unforgiving about them. They simply tend to uninstall the app, if they find those to be non-user-friendly, not serving to the purpose, not giving proper server response, having errors etc.

Companies want to make the mobile bandwagon quickly as smartphone penetration is increasing and impacting multiple sectors at once. According to a research by PEW, roughly three-quarters of Americans means 77% now own a smartphone.

In this article, our focus will be on the main challenges which every tester face. Finding a solution to overcome all of the challenges depends on the testing strategy that testers and developers apply to their agile development cycle.

Challenges in Mobile Application Testing

Let’s have a look at key challenges in Mobile Application faced while testing mobile apps:

Multiple devices, platforms and versions

The world of Android, iOS, and Windows is very complex. With everyday new launches and upgrades, come various versions, different screen sizes and compatibility issues and developers and testers are facing challenges to keep up with this.

It is observed that the QA team doesn’t know the total number of devices an app needs to be tested before releasing it in the market.

User experience and Usability

The mobile application testing needs to ensure that the apps are absolutely easy to use and the features do not confuse the users. All features should be easily accessible on the screen and should provide the highest value for the users’ time.

The user experience needs to be similar to all smartphones (Android, IOS and Windows) and platforms. Mobile Apps QA engineers need to ensure that they design and develop separate test cases for mobile testing apps because obviously, the user experience is completely different than the desktop usage.

Mobile network operators

This is very critical because, for many apps, the user experience and usability depends on a lot of the performance of the available networks. The app testing challenges increase with increased complexity. Nowadays, people travel very often, changing network, roaming and making sure that apps work when users need the apps at the different locations for different networks. This may be online or offline, with a weak signal too.

The apps which are supported across multiple locations and are available in multiple languages need to be tested with different operators across multiple countries and states.

Lack of access to multiple devices

At many times, it may be possible that two or more testers might require the same device at the same time, wherein a tester is left out waiting until the other tester finish their work. In case of using multiple devices involves cost incurred, which could also involve additional time.

Moreover, it would be big a problem if testers are placed across continents.

Complexity in application’s architecture

Mobile applications are developed using a variety of frameworks and architectures. There are popular types of mobile applications which are native and hybrid. The behavior of native mobile applications might vary in comparison to the hybrid application. Test planning of different applications needs a different thought process.

This is very challenging for most testing teams as they need to consider various queries such as:

  • What are the risks if the functional parts of the framework go wrong?
  • What are your key estimations, and how will you test them?
  • How would the bugs fix? Would there be a need to recreate the design?

Boost the battery life

The invention in the battery storage capacity field hasn’t been as quick as in the app consumption. We are using lots of apps and multiple processes are running in the background without us even noticing. This all need CPU cycles which on its turn require power and thus the batteries tend to dry.

When testing mobile apps we need to make sure that the power consumption is kept minimal and the app is built by keeping the best practices in mind.

Management of device memory

With new devices getting launched at a frequent pace, the biggest issue of device memory is resolving eventually. However, not all devices have larger memory space and a low device memory can surely impact the performance of the application.

While engineering products, do not get irritated on using memory when needed thinking about user experience, but at the same time ensure that you don’t load a whole lot more than what you actually need.

Multiple testing tools

Another challenge for developers and testers is the choice of the right tools for mobile application testing. There are so many tools available that it is not possible to choose from unless you have a mobile application testing strategy and you know exactly what you need to make your testing strategy happen.

Unplanned timelines to release the app to the market

The impossibly unplanned timelines declared might also cause a lot impact on the testing of mobile applications as it requires proper requirements, design, development and testing. Various mobile development stages are closely linked and testing requires to be followed up.

Users demand shorter delivery time of less than 20 days for a mobile application which makes turmoil situations during testing.

Different operating systems

There are many operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Symbian and Bada etc. With multiple operating systems and various versions of each OS, it is difficult for developers to develop the applications and for testers to test the mobile application and find out defects. Remember, it could work fine on a version but might not work uniformly on some other versions of the same operating system.

iOS users are known to be upgrading very fast to the newest versions. On the other hand, Android uptake has historically been very slow and the fragmentation is very wide.

Summing Up

Mobile app testing is more complicated than web application that’s why a tester needs to face more challenges in mobile testing. However, having a good knowledge in multiple areas like technology (requires multiple tools), software, hardware, usability and user experience, can save your time and efforts!

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