With over 2 million apps on Google’s Play Store, and 1.84 million on Apple’s App store (statista, 2019) the battle for a piece of the $92.1 billion consumer spend (Businessofapps, 2018) will not be abetting anytime soon. This open for all app ecosystem has given the power to the users, letting them decide where their loyalties lie (a notoriously fickle thing) and spend money.
The real question then is how do create the right conditions for a user to stay with you? The answer lies in how user experience focused the app is, the functionalities it offers and the flawlessness in which it operates. Think of questions such as does your mobile app work across different operating system versions? How does your app render on different devices, with different screen sizes and resolutions? Does the app match the usability expectations an end-user might have?
If it sounds like a tall order (and it is), you’re in the wrong business and will be part of the stats in the image below. Apps that are functional as they are aesthetic is now the norm and is why we at Mood Up put an unrelenting focus on testing each app we deploy for our clients.
What are the real effects of mobile app testing?
The mobile app users of today are spoilt for choice and highly intolerant of any performance issues. Fail to ensure this and the user you just acquired after a sizable amount of marketing spend will uninstall and give you a negative rating in the same stride. It is to prevent such performance issues from materialising after the deployment of the product that QA engineers perform many tests while the product is in development.
At its most basic form, the job of QA is to prevent the malfunction of the app that was completed as per the requirements. Such testing, however, is not a linear journey as the portion of the app that received the green light last week might not function today on account of an update from this week. The job of a QA team, therefore, is to stress the app and attempt to break it at every point in development so that it will not do so once it’s released to the users.
The QA team utilizes many forms of testing to figure out the working of an app before forcing it to its limits. It’s their job to not only find issues in the code but also certain things that do not add value to the end-user. Some of the key factors to consider in mobile application testing includes
1. Selection of mobile devices – every app should have a certain target demographic and is why we sit down with our clients and ask some hard questions. The identification of these personas, preferences and usage patterns then allow us to understand the most suitable devices for testing via websites such as deviceatlas.
2. Network – testing the application under varying network conditions, to make them functional across challenging network scenarios. This is important when developing apps for nations that have varying degrees of internet connectivity.
3. Manual or automated – app testing can be done manually or via automation. Manual tests are performed by a Quality Assurance (QA) specialist to discover bugs in software under development. Such testing involves the checking of all essential features and generating test reports without the assistance of any automation software testing tools.
Automated tests in comparison are when testers write code/test scripts to automate test execution. These rely on a pre-scripted test which runs automatically and compares actual results with the expected results. Such an approach to testing as you can imagine can create cost savings and help deploy an app faster.
4. Performance – Automated testing can be implemented to check the performance of an application and verify its behaviour by simulating mobile networks, usage behaviour, and testing user load by using as many concurrent users as required.
What are the tests we run to before deploying an app?
1. Usability testing – concerned with the design intuitiveness of the product and tested with users who have no prior exposure to it. Such testing is paramount to the success of an end product as a fully functioning app that creates confusion amongst its users will not last for long.
2. Security Testing – refers to the tests done to ensure the security of the app against given requirements. Doing so is pivotal in light of the spate of recent data breaches and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
3. Functional/compatibility testing – performed to ensure the app functions as it is expected to. The QA team, therefore, pores over each of the requirements expected of the app and creates a script for how it should perform. The actual performance of the app is then compared against the script and any unusual results are highlighted with the developers who will then work on a fix. Such functional tests are usually automated as doing this manually across many physical devices is a very complex and exhaustive process.
4. Localisation testing – tests the apps ability to integrate with the local culture, making sure the local language, time zones and calendars are all available and functional. Doing so is vital to the popularity of your app as the modification of content to suit the users’ needs will increase its usage compared to an app that does otherwise.
Don’t believe us? Take a look at the diversity of languages in countries with the most app downloads.
5. Performance Testing – carried out to put the app through a battery of tests that will test the performance in varied conditions such as poor network connections (2G,3G,4G), low battery power and reduced memory.
6. Interrupt Testing – performed to observe how the app functions when it is interrupted during usage. The interruptions we test for include incoming/outgoing phone calls, messages, putting the phone on charge or removing it and drops in the network. A good app should be able to withstand all of these by putting itself into an idle state and allowing the user to continue from where they left off.
What’s the secret to making sure an app is bug free?
A good workflow between developers and app testers we feel is the most pivotal component of any app testing. This covers components such as the manner through which the testers highlight bugs in the code (screenshots or a video) to communication mediums (Trello, Slack, Github or a face to face meeting), ensuring the end software is one that meets all client requirements and functions consistently.
Remember to quiz your software house on its quality assurance for digital products. A good software house should have set procedures and work processes in place to ensure its customers receive nothing but the best.