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How to Test a Mobile Application [Step by Step]

Android App Testing, iOS App Testing

Friday May 3, 2019

With smartphones gradually becoming a must-have, developers are finding good careers in mobile app development. The markets are eventually getting flooded with millions of apps. But the truth is only a few are able to make their mark and rule the mobile world.

In such high competency ratio, you have to be sure that apart from offering something innovative and interesting to your customers your application should also be free from any glitches. And hence, mobile app testing is becoming very important.

What is Mobile Application Testing?

Mobile application testing is a procedure to test mobile applications for usability, functional, and consistency glitches.

What are Mobile application testing essentials?

Mobile application testing is very different from software testing and web testing. There are a few specifics that you should consider before performing mobile application testing:

  • Screen resolution
  • Turning on/off GPS
  • Screen orientation (landscape, portrait)
  • Different devices’ manufacturers
  • OSs
  • Type of mobile application

Types of Mobile Application

The type of mobile app you are testing plays a very important role in defining your testing process. So, be very clear about which type of mobile app you are going to test. They are largely categorized into three different types:

  1. Mobile web applications: These are the web pages that you open through the mobile browser.
  2. Native Apps: These are the applications that are developed for one particular platform. (iOS, Android, Windows 10 M0bile, Tizen, BlackBerry).
  3. Hybrid: It is an amalgamation of mobile web app and Native App.

How to strategize your mobile application testing efforts?

Strategizing your testing efforts can help you carry out testing in a streamlined manner thus increasing its efficiency and effectiveness.

The basic points that you need to consider while strategizing your mobile app testing efforts are:

Selection of the device

Testing on a real device is always the best decision for your mobile app testing. It gives the highest accuracy. But, with markets flooded with hundreds of various brands and various models of mobiles, selecting the most appropriate one for your testing is a cumbersome task.

Here are some pointers that can help you with the selection of the devices:

  • Research for the most widely held and used mobile in the market.
  • Look out for the mobile with different screen resolutions.
  • Select the mobile with a different OS.
  • Don’t underestimate features like compatibility, memory size, connectivity, etc. and pay good attention to them.

Which is better – Emulators or simulators?

Emulators or simulators are widely used for mobile testing these days. But what are these Emulators or simulators? They are tools that are capable of emulating/simulating the behavior and working of mobile devices.

Though many of us might confuse between “Emulator” and “simulator and might mistake them to consider the same. But they are very different.

An emulator is the original device replacement that allows you to run applications on your gadget without being able to modify them.

While simulator doesn’t imitate mobile’s hardware but can set up the analogous environment as of your original mobile’s OS.

Hence Simulators are preferred to test mobile application whereas Emulators are better for the mobile web application testing.

Cloud-based testing of the mobile application

Allowing run mobile devices to run on several systems and networks, cloud-based testing helps to get over the drawbacks of simulators and real devices.

Which one is better – Mobile manual or automated testing?

Some testers till date support manual testing while to others they believe it is going to die. But the fact is that both automation testing and manual testing are important.

There are scenarios that are best tested with automation testing, but there are few that give the finest results with manual testing.

Stages of Mobile application testing

Let us now learn about various stages of the mobile application. Here goes the list:

1. Documentation Testing

The beginning of mobile testing takes place from Documentation testing -preparatory stage.

Even before the development of the app starts the testers are handed over screen layouts, navigational charts, and other requirements that are obscure on the design.

In this phase, you need to analyze the requirements for wholeness and discrepancy. All the discrepancies found in this stage are required to be resolved before the development begins

Documentation phase marks the creations and analysis of requirements (Specification, PRD), Test Cases, Test Plan, Traceability Matrix.

2. Functional testing

It helps you test whether your mobile application works as expected and in accordance to the requirement specifications. While you are performing functional testing for your app keeps the following factors in mind:

  • Business functionality of your app like banking, social networks, ordering and delivery of food, education, tickets, the game industry, etc.
  • Target audience like companies, students, entrepreneurs, etc.
  • Distribution channels like Google Play, direct delivery, App Store, etc.

The basic validations that you need to test in functional testing are:

  • Installing and running the application
  • Fields testing
  • Business functionalities testing
  • Interruptions testing
  • Constant users feedback testing
  • Update testing
  • Device resources testing
3. Usability Testing

Usability testing ensures that your application offers convenient browsing to your customers and creates an intuitive interface that abides by industry standards. It promises fast and easy-to-use applications. Usability of your application is judged based on these basic three criteria:

  • Satisfaction
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
4. UI (User Interface) testing

User Interface (UI) testing ensures that your application’s GUI meets all the required specifications.

5. Compatibility (Configuration) testing

Compatibility (Configuration) testing validates the optimal performance of your application on different devices based on their size, screen resolution, version, hardware, etc. Compatibility testing also takes care of

  • OS Configuration
  • Browser Configuration
  • Database Configuration
  • Device Configuration
  • Network Configuration

Compatibility testing can be further divided into

Cross-platform testing: Testing your mobile application compatibility with different operating systems: Windows, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry, etc.

Cross-browser testing:    Testing your mobile application compatibility in different browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini, etc.

Database testing:    Testing your mobile application compatibility in different database configurations: DB2, Oracle, MSSQL Server, MySql, Sybase.

Device Configuration testing:  Testing your mobile application compatibility on different devices based on

  • Device type: smartphone, tablet, etc.
  • Device configuration: processor type, RAM, battery capacity, screen resolution, etc.

Network configuration testing:   Testing your mobile application compatibility in different network configurations (TDMA, GSM) and standards (2G, 3G, 4G).

6. Performance testing

Performance testing helps you test your application reaction and constancy under the specific workload.

Performance testing attributes

  • Load Testing: It is done to check the application’s behavior under normal and extreme loads.
  • Stress Testing: It is done to test the application’s ability to sustain stress. It ensures that your application is capable to bear undue stress.
  • Stability Testing: It tests if your application can work well for a longer period within normal loads.
  • Volume Testing: It is conducted to test your application’s performance when subjected to a huge volume of data.
  • Concurrency testing: It tests the performance of your application when multiple users are logged in.
7. Security testing

Security testing validates the security features of your application. It also analyzes the risks of application hackers, protection, viruses, and unauthorized access to extremely sensitive data.

8. Recovery testing

Recovery testing tests the ability of your application to withstand and successfully recover from possible and potential failures caused by software issues, hardware failures, or communication problems.

9. Localization testing

Localization testing tests the adaptability of your application for a specific target audience based on cultural specifics.

10. Change related testing

Finally, when complete testing is done, you might find some bugs, resulting in a certain piece of code to change to eliminate those bugs. After these code changes you again need to carry out a round of testing. This basically includes:

  • Re-testing or Confirmation testing: to test that all the detected defects are successfully fixed.
  • Regression testing: sometimes code changes can even disturb the working of existing and properly working functions. Regression testing is done to ensure that the new changes did not lead to the appearance of new bugs.

11. Beta testing

 Beta testing is done by real users on real devices to validate usability, functionality, compatibility, and reliability testing.

Before pushing your app forward for beta testing, take account of the following factors

  • A number of testing participants
  • Testing duration
  • Shipping
  • Demographic coverage
  • Testing costs

Beta testing is good investment ensuring a better quality of your mobile app.

12. Certification testing

Certification testing tests whether your application meets the standards, licensing agreements, terms of use and requirements of stores like the App Store, Google Play, and Windows Phone.

How to Test a Mobile Application

Challenges of mobile application testing

  • Testing approach based on device
  • Availability of multiple mobile user interfaces
  • Greater security issues.
  • Time constraint to market app
  • Constantly changing environment and usage pattern of mobile phones
  • Testing of touch screens is more complicated.
  • User Experience & Issues with App Performance
Tips to test mobile application

Let’s systematize our knowledge, and try to determine the main tips for mobile application testing.

  1. Be very familiar with your mobile app. Learn it in and out
  2. Keep in mind that you are testing a mobile app and not desktop software
  3. Take into account the hardware specifications and operating system of the device you are testing on
  4. Use real devices whenever possible for better testing results.
  5. Use the mobile application testing tools that you are familiar with and not pick any because of its popularity.
  6. Try using cloud mobile testing.
  7. Try using development menu options to the maximum.
  8. Emulators and simulators can be your protectors, use them whenever required.
  9. Remember performance testing is important.
  10. Don’t run after automation have a balance between automation and manual testing
  11. Beta testing is always an added advantage.
  12. Plan out your time for various testing activities.
Popular Mobile app testing tools

For functionality testingAppium, Selendroid, Robotium, Ranorex.

For usability testing: Reflector, User Zoom,  Loop.

For mobile application interface testing: iMacros, FitNesse, Jubula, Coded UI,  LoadUI.

For compatibility testing:  CrossBrowserTesting, BrowserStack,  Browsera, Litmus,  Rational ClearCase,  Ghostlab.

For performance testing: Apteligent, NeoLoad ,  New Relic.

For Security Testing: OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, Retina CS Community, Google Nogotofail, Veracode,  and SQL Map.

Hope this article might have given an overview of mobile application testing. Stay tuned for more such informational articles.

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