Mobile Application Testing Explained

Mobile Testing

When you have finished the last line of your latest mobile app, you’re still not done. There is still a battery of tests you need to run to ensure that your customers will love your app. Many novice developers tend to place little importance on the testing phase which could result in their app never truly taking off. In order to ensure that your app is of the highest quality, you’ll need to embark on the journey of properly testing your app.

In this article we’ll be discussing some of the different testing areas that need to be checked and some of the more popular testing tools you can have at your disposal.

Top Five Essential Testing Areas for Mobile Apps

In this following section we’ll be going over the major areas of testing a mobile app must go through to ensure that it is up to par and can handle large volumes.

Functionality Testing

Functional testing in essence is your quality assurance processes that will focus on aspects of a mobile application such as; launching the application, logging in, checking out account balances and similar straightforward processes.

Performance Testing

Performance testing is a bit more complicated than functional testing as all performance testing has its limitations such as the host system, the type of system its running on, whether or not other applications may interfere with environment, connectivity and so on.

Memory Testing

The idea of testing for memory in the mobile environment is to “plug memory leaks”. A Memory leak essentially is the loss of available memory when an application fails to return memory it used. In turn, eventually all the memory is drained from the system which means that programs will no longer run or function properly. Memory leaks usually is a result of a programming bug, so it’s important to figure it out during the actual development stage. However, at times applications may store info in memory in the form of a cache. If the cache grows beyond a certain point it can cause issues and in turn affect the performance of the app. It’s important to deal with these issues prior to moving on from the development stage of the application.

Interruption Testing

Interruption testing refers to see how an application responds to unexpected or abrupt interruptions. There are many variables that fall under this category including; phone calls during usage of the application, battery removal, device shut down, OS upgrade prompts, other applications. This type of testing allows you to preemptively work on how the application will respond to these interruptions.

Usability Testing

This type of testing usually refers to the “user experience” and there are many ways to go by it. Steve Krug suggests that all companies conduct their own testing and find that sometimes by merely acquiring the input of “free-range customers” will do more for a company than many major labs would. UX testing includes things such as, ergonomics, user behavior and the ease of use of features within your app. Steve suggests getting in on the ground floor and getting people in long lines of coffee shops to help with this however you could always find a sample group online or even within friendship circles and similar social circles.

Using Built in Emulators

Using Emulators is a cheap way to see how your application will run on a multitude of devices. There are some serious benefits to using emulators and more importantly, since you already have access to the emulators provided, it’s a no brainer.

Some of the benefits include;

  1. Price – As opposed to actually buying a device and testing, an emulator will simulate the environment of a specific device.
  2. Processing Speed – Emulators usually have faster processing, however at times network latency may be an issue.
  3. Debugging – It’s easier to debug on an emulator

Top Android Testing Tools

There are some amazing tools available for anyone who want to take their testing more seriously.

Robotium

This is a Free Android UI testing tool. It can run automated tests on different Android Versions. Tests that are created in Robotium are written in Java.

MonkeyRunner

Written in Python, this is a less robust testing tool than Robotium however and provides the option to test on real devices when connecting through a PC.

Ranorex

This is a good tool to run for a wide variety of Android versions and gives you detailed reporting and screenshots.

Top iOS Testing Tools

Finally we take a look at some of the best tools for iOS.

iPhone Tester

This web based tool allows you to test on iPhone-sized frames. If you’re using this tool, we suggest you use a browser like Safari as it has higher compatibility.

iPad Peek

Test your applications specifically catered to the iPad. We recommend using this emulator on any webkit-based browser.

Appium

This test automation tool is used for native and hybrid iOS applications. Appium is based on iOS Auto.

TestFlight

TestFlight, prior to March 2014, was available for both Android and iOS applications, however since then Apple has removed the support for Android applications. In addition, since 2015, all apps must be published for TestFlight using Xcode.

However this is where TestFlight gets interesting. If you want to invite a “tester” you must use iTunes Connect to do so. Once a subject has been invited (up to 25 internal testers who can use up to 10 devices each), in addition to 2,000 external beta testers will have the ability to download the application and test the app.

What’s more, with this approach, up to one hundred apps can be tested simultaneously (both internally or externally). You can also group testers and test different builds of the app for further data collection. The actual TestFlight application also will notify testers when a new build of your app is available in addition to prompting them with notifications such as, “Which features to focus on, feedback prompts and so forth”.

TestFlight takes out the complexities of testing, making it extremely easy for you to invite users to test your iOS, watchOS and tvOS applications prior to releasing them on the App Store. With the ability to invite up to 2,000 testers by merely using their emails, it is a no brainer.

There you have a quick overview of what it takes to test your mobile application for the best results possible. We cannot stress enough the importance of proper testing and hopefully this article gave you enough resources to take your testing to the next level.