As out mobile devices get smarter and faster, they modify our acceptance thresholds. We are ever more demanding regarding apps’ and websites’ speed. The human attention span is decreasing and users have less patience for slow or unresponsive apps. That is why testing is becoming the cornerstone of quality and can offer companies a competitive advantage.

Back in 2013, 64% of people were not willing to wait more than four seconds for an application to load, and 85% expected the same performance on a mobile device as on a desktop. The recommended loading time in 2017 is two seconds.

App developers should always keep in mind the company’s focus and translate it into code that satisfies the users’ demands. Even if the target devices are not from the latest generation, through rigorous design and testing, they final product should run flawlessly, overcoming any mobile-specific challenges.

Mobile Quality Assurance Strategy

The best applications are designed from the end user’s standpoint. A straightforward approach to testing takes every scenario and converts it into test cases with acceptance and rejection levels. This creates an initial framework that can easily extended later, instead of starting from scratch every time.

Companies with short time-to-market periods that create innovative products have testers integrated in their development team to shorten production cycles. This agile approach detects problems early on, but creates more robust applications and facilitates pair testing between QA and developers. Integrating testers means a better time estimation since they can envision the necessary test scenarios and inform the other members.

Software Testing Essentials

An app needs to serve its main purpose in the most resource efficient way,  be secure, compatible with all types of devices and networks, and able to cohabitate with other apps and settings without causing system failures, as outlined by mobile app testing services from A1QA. On top of all these constraints, here comes the requirement for testing to be executed as fast as possible, which is:

  • Functional testing – This type of testing answers the simple question “Does it work as intended?” Not only should the app behave as expected, but it should avoid bottlenecks or dead ends with no clear way for the user to get back to a safe and familiar state. All the flows should be logical and properly labeled.
  • Usability/ UX testing – Apps don’t come with a user manual. If it is not self-explanatory and doesn’t direct users to making the right choices, somewhere along the way there is a flaw in the design. The role of this set of tests is to compare the initial UX briefing and project objectives with the actual result. Even a slight change in the font or spacing can make a big difference. A great app asks the user to input as little initial information as possible to get started.
  • Performance testing – Since the resources of a mobile device are still inferior to those of a desktop or a laptop, each app feature should be well-balanced by its impact on the memory, CPU, and battery life. As new capabilities are added, the tester ensures that these are not burdening and slowing down the app. When it comes to mobile app design, less is really more. Load testing is also included in performance testing. It aims to determine the number of concurrent users that would cause the app to perform poorly or simply crash. You will also need intermediary numbers of users at which the app gets noticeably slower or has errors. Otherwise, each failure can cause a financial loss, especially if the app features payments or is used for an e-commerce business.
  • Security testing – Data protection is one of the hottest topics, and the rise of mobile cyber-crime should alert developers and testers. The statistics show that although 84% of users feel that their apps are secure enough, 90% of the most popular apps have at least two significant vulnerabilities. Data encryption is neither paranoid nor optional. Cutting corners in this sector could compromise not only the app but the reputation of the company it belongs to. 

Mobile Challenges

While the previously mentioned testing types can be successfully applied to any product, even hardware, mobile testing has a few particularities that need to be addressed.

  • Compatibility testing – The wealth of brands, screen sizes, operating systems, and network connection types on the market today is overwhelming. Creating an app that can run smoothly on so many platforms or at least support the majority of them is a daunting task. Yet, with a careful consideration of your target market, you can narrow down the options to a manageable amount and avoid the device fragmentation problem. Don’t fall into the trap of using only emulators to mimic the app’s behaviour, since regardless of how sophisticated they are, they can’t replicate real user interactions.
  • Network testing – Connectivity issues are still prevalent, and although we are getting ready for 5G networks, the reality is that some users still struggle with 1G in remote areas or even in the underground parking areas of skyscrapers. Your app needs to be at its best even when the signal is poor or at least help the user out in adverse situations.
  • Event and interruption testing – Since mobile devices have taken on many functions beyond pure communication, testing needs to address the way an app handles top-priority interruptions such as incoming calls, instant messaging or plugging in the charger. If the app can resume easily, it is one way of how you can minimise your users’ frustration.

Testing Brings A Competitive Advantage

Creating a comprehensive testing program translates into gaining a competitive advantage. In a world where it is easier for the end user to uninstall an app and look for its alternative instead of trying to solve the issue on their own or asking the technical support , a company usually gets only one opportunity to make a positive impression.

Professional mobile application testing reduces failure risks, shortens the product’s time-to-market and fuels innovation. By making fewer changes in later stages, the company can also significantly save costs and optimise the way it uses its resources.