Top 10 Best Practices for Mobile Testing


Mobile App Testing is crucial nowadays due to huge competition in Mobile App Space. Following few points can be considered while finalising your strategy for Mobile App Testing.

  • Know your Device/App/Customer Mix 

It is more than just knowing if your app is supported on a particular operating system. This includes knowing whether or not your app is native, Web, or hybrid. How your app is built will determine the way you go about testing, and the tools you use to test. There are some tools that are strictly used to test web (both desktop and mobile) and then there are tools that test native mobile apps. You should focus on the type of app first, and find a tool that does the best job testing that type of content.

  • Follow Mobile Trends

New features can make or break your app when you release it to your users. To ensure usability of your app and that it’s being tested properly, it is important to understand how your customers EXPECT to use the app. There is usually no instruction manual that is delivered when your customer downloads an app. They install it and use it. If they like it, they keep using it. If they don’t like it, they will uninstall it. Being alert to how your customers are using their mobile devices can help build a familiar feel to your application, increasing the adoption more quickly.

  • Don’t Rely On Desktop Methodology

The days of following desktop testing methodology are behind us. Statistics are steadily showing that mobile has become the most popular way to interact online, and it goes without saying that the mobile experience is vastly different than the desktop experience. The mobile imperative is quickly approaching, and it doesn’t necessarily make sense to attempt to apply desktop testing methodology to mobile testing. Finding a tool that can support a preferred method of capturing test results but can support a mobile-centric framework is ideal.

  • The Goal Shouldn’t Be To Fully Automate

With mobile, there are a number of features that are proximity/location sensitive, as well as hardware specific. There are testing solutions that might allow for some/all of these tests at the expense of testing on an average user’s device (not using emulation/jailbreaking/root access). It is important to draw a distinct line through what you are willing to sacrifice in order to automate. Thinking about your automation desires in terms of features instead of overall percentage of total tests will go a long way to align goals with expectations. This brings us to the next point of:

  • Maximize Exploratory Testing

Automate what you can, so you can free up your QA resources to perform as much exploratory testing as possible. DO NOT Automate in order to reduce head-count. Mobile is increasing in adoption, so the number of mobile testers within your organisation should be increasing as well. While increasing headcount is a preferred, it certainly isn’t usually a practical option for most organizations. Freeing up your existing resources for exploratory testing by augmenting their repetitive testing with automated scenarios is the key.

  • Integration into Build/Development

Another way to increase productivity and to streamline your testing process is by integrating into build systems. Look for tools that already have integrations into your existing build system. If you have a less popular build system, look for tools that have command line capabilities or APIs to help integrate. Create an environment that can automatically deliver your build to all of your mobile test devices and run a simple set of smoke tests. The time savings of automatically installing an app can save 2-10 minutes per device each day you test. If you test with 10 devices, that’s up to 2 hours a day freed up to perform additional exploratory testing, or to track down any bugs with the previous release.

  • Be Open to New Automation Tools

Don’t be caught up trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Many of the automation testing tools that have been around for a long time were built to perform desktop testing, and are now trying to fit themselves into the mobile space. Do not be afraid to try new testing tools that have been designed for mobile from the ground up. Due to the many different form factors, processors, screen sizes, cameras, and buttons found in today’s mobile devices, a fundamental difference in how you organise your framework is warranted. Trying to fit this framework into your existing systems may or may not be feasible. Many of the mobile testing tools available today will have ways to help pass the data to your existing testing framework through integrations and APIs.

  • Object Scripting is Key, But Not the Holy Grail

Object scripting will give high reusability across the same type of content (web) or across the same platform (native). While object scripting is certainly the most important part of automation, it isn’t the entire picture. Object scripting can drive a script based on elements and objects, but it can’t truly tell you if the object rendered properly (picture actually showed up, no pixelization, proper alignment, etc.). When searching for mobile testing tools, ensure they can seamlessly switch between object validation and image validation on the fly, and provide a simple framework to organize your validations as well.

  • Reuse Your Automation Scripts for Other Testing

Pre-production testing helps get your application into the hands of your users, but once the app goes into production, ensuring the quality requires monitoring of your application. Ideally the work that has gone into creating your automated scripts should be reused in a monitoring capacity to help better understand end-user experiences. Look for a tool that can pass the same script along to your Production Monitoring/Operations team so they can monitor how your testing flows work in real-user situations. Being able to leverage the same scripts will cut down on lead time, as well as help to create a unified baseline across different teams within your organisation. This will help minimize the time required to pinpoint a flaw or failure in production, allowing quicker resolution in your agile development process.

  • Focus on Quality

Above all else, the focus of your testing should be to create a high quality application. While this seems like a no-brainer, it is usually the first area to suffer when attempting to adhere to short development/testing cycles. In order to maintain quality, it is imperative that Development, Quality Assurance, and Production Monitoring/Operations maintain open communication through the entire lifecycle. Ensure that QA is made aware of new features during the initial development, so tests can be built in real-time as the development is occurring. Continuous integration goes a long way to help create and maintain a tight flow in the process, but automating this process alone does not ensure quality. Combining real-user experiences and usage patterns, in-production real device monitoring, and exploratory manual testing are the key aspects to focus on in order to ensure quality in the quickly evolving world of mobile applications.

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About Keynote

Keynote is the global leader in cloud–based testing, monitoring and analytics for mobile and web, optimizing the value of every digital interaction, enhancing user experience and driving business value through online performance. The company runs the world’s largest cloud testing, monitoring and analytics network in the world and collects over 700 million mobile and website performance measurements daily. In 2012 Keynote, a Thoma Bravo portfolio company, was recognized by Forbes Magazine as “One of the Best 100 Companies in America.”


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