In a world where everything goes mobile, applications are dime a dozen. With newer mobile apps heaping up the Play Stores, "competition" is all about grabbing the customer attention. But when the statistics say that there are over a billion apps in various App Stores and the list is ever growing, the picture becomes more massive. Perhaps, it is at this point where most of the mobile app developers and rather testers are at a deadlock. Here, every new application developed becomes crucial decisive factors of company reputation and hence is imperative to ensure that a high standard is maintained to win the race."A single sloppy code can ruin your app's rating. Proper quality check helps users stay with you."
The significance of testing is in a hype that ever considering the fact most of the mobile apps are designed to suit both the internal and external purposes and that a defective app can incur a huge loss to company productivity. This trend is more evident in the case of mobile app development while in comparison with its desktop and web counterparts. The major objective of any testing is to ensure the performance standard and efficiency of the application under development. However, in practical application, these goals are hardly met owing to several constraints. This article addresses the major challenges faced during the mobile app testing and tries to suggest some effective strategies to overcome themDevice Variation: Compatibility issues generally arise when mobile apps need to be deployed across various devices with different OS or versions of the OS, manufacturer specifications such as in screen resolutions, Hardware variations, memory, OS optimization, keypad type (virtual or hard key) etc. The slow pace with which the users update their mobile OS urges the testers to test a single application in different OS. This device diversity is particularly significant for android devices with varying screen resolutions, sizes as well as form factors. Tool Availability: Lack of mature tools for testing comes as a major setback for mobile testing. There is an immediate necessity to adopt complex scripting and sophisticated tools to ensure effective testing. Confirming to Industry Standards: Every new application needs to confirm to the specific industry standards so as to be accepted in the Google Play and Apple App stores. Hence, it is a challenge for every developer and tester to ensure that their application is efficient enough to gain public acceptance. Need of QA Specialists for Automated Testing: With newer applications and trends conquering the market every day, there is an immediate necessity for companies to have specialists to analyze the tools in the market. UI is kept in the forefront for any mobile testing considering its decisiveness. Shorter Release Cycle: In today's world of fast and evolving mobile apps, companies are expected to deploy enhanced versions of their app to ensure market existence. This results in the development of mobile apps with shorter release cycles which in turn provides even shorter testing periods. Addressing the Topographical Variations: Mobile apps can be largely affected by changes in the network connectivity, bandwidth changes, etc. These variations owing to the regional differences are to be addressed with suitable compatibility features that allow the real life implementation at an ease. Together, these challenges can make the whole testing process very expensive. To address these issues, proper selection of strategies is to be made for each problem. Mobile Application Testing Strategies - Some Recommendations 1. Select Targeted Devices: Market trend is a key feature in guiding the expected device population. It is a good guide to select the targeted devices, of course keeping in mind cost and optimization duration. It is equally important to choose appropriate device model too which includes software and hardware features. Some of the key factors to be kept in mind while selecting targeted devices are: i. OS Version - All major versions of OS are to be considered according to the present market trend. ii. Display Density - Test devices should include a mix of different display densities (screen size and resolution of phone or tablet). iii. Form Factor: As UI may behave differently on devices with different form factors (size, shape and style of phone or tablet), this has to be taken into account. iv. Other Factors: CPU, memory and other hardware can also effect application, specifically when applications rely on particular device features. 2. Use Simulators: Simulators are particularly effective at the early stages of product development as it helps the testing team to familiarize with application features and test basic functionalities of the system. However, it is always better to test with corresponding devices itself so as to understand the application behaviour. 3. Connectivity Options: As most of the applications rely on network connectivity for optimal functioning, network bandwidth (2G, 3G and 4G), connectivity issues, band width variations and on location testing need to be considered. Network simulation tools can be a good option to allow simulations at all conditions. 4. Automated Testing: It is most effective to ensure that new features being added don't tamper with the existing features of the app. Through the repeated execution of the same test case in various environments, it helps in making the testing procedure easier. However the major disadvantage is that it requires significant initial investment for the test tool as well as scripting. To help proper and wise selection of the test case and automation, these points can be kept in mind: i. Test cases those are expensive to automate such as handling real time data from multiple sources should be avoided. ii. Features which are most likely to change in near future such as UI should be avoided from automation. iii. Every other possible test case should be automated. 5. Selecting a Test Automation Tool:
It is very much imperative to consider the factors such as multiple platform support, deployment options, script re- usability, external system integration facility etc. while selecting a proper automation tool. Further, it is also necessary to ensure that the tool doesn't have any jailbreak requirement and is capable of producing an easy test work flow. The complexity of mobile testing follows a constantly burgeoning pattern, with different OS or its versions redefining the mobile market trends each day. Hence it is imperative for any developer or tester to develop apps that comply with the changing market trends, device specifications as well as customer interests. Here, the big question is about releasing an app that conforms to the required standards, without having to compromise on the budget limitations. Through proper analysis and adoption of appropriate testing strategies, it is possible to tackle the odds and hence stay ahead in the competition.
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