How to perform software quality tests on a mobile app?
Today, when the cell phone is part of our daily lives, developing new applications is an ever-growing need for all types of companies.
As specialists in software quality (QA), we must be part of this wave of mobile development and contribute to creating new quality applications that meet the market’s needs.
Our work as QA involves guaranteeing that the best practices in developing applications are followed and that quality criteria are met, such as Functionality, Usability, Performance, etc.
In this article, we review a series of concepts and good practices that, as QA, we must follow in the certification process of a mobile application.
How to create a QA testing strategy for mobile applications?
Before starting, it is essential to highlight that QA specialists must follow the entire testing process correctly. Therefore, the first thing to consider is creating and documenting a testing strategy, laying the foundations for any QA specialists following it.
A testing strategy will help us to:
- Determine scope and risks and identify test objectives.
- Define a global approach to testing.
- Schedule test design and analysis activities.
- Estimate tests.
- Assign resources for any defined actions.
To develop a test strategy, QA must first analyze the
project details and define the scope and test methods.
Developing a strategy provides a vision for the project and gives the development team clear, written expectations for how often QA will be tested.
The next step is analyzing and designing the tests you will be using. For this step, it is crucial to have a solid plan; a good test design will result in a higher quality product and save time in the testing process.
Testing is a critical stage of the software quality certification process; tests must be exhaustive to meet the established standards and determine the quality of the product.
Types of functional tests for mobile devices
We must perform various types of tests when testing a mobile device. Below you will find the most important ones.
1. Functional Testing
The purpose of functional tests is to ensure that the features of the mobile application verify the acceptance, processing, and retrieval of data and the proper implementation of business rules and functions. This type of testing is based on the black box technique, that is, checking the application and its internal processes through the user interface (GUI) and analyzing outputs or outcomes.
In short, QAs use functional tests to answer the questions, does it work well? Does it follow business rules?
2. Usability Testing
The purpose of these tests is to evaluate the system from the end user’s perspective. They verify the navigation schemes between app screens, that the app screen adapts correctly to the size or position of the device (horizontally or vertically), that all GUI elements are appropriately designed and standards compliant, and how intuitive an App is.
3. Performance Testing (stress and performance)
Stress and performance tests measure application speed, stability, and scalability under high-stress conditions, such as traffic spikes, determining whether an application performs high or low under those conditions. Performance tests identify issues such as slow load times, poor response times, bottlenecks, poor scalability, and faulty hardware.
We must recognize the variety of mobile devices currently on the market and the existing operating systems. Testing on various real devices helps catch as many hardware-specific bugs as possible. These tests help us check the application’s operability in multiple software configurations.
Of course, testing on all devices is impossible. Thus, QA must know the device models and OS versions that are popular among the target user base, as evidenced by market research.
It is necessary to use the app simultaneously with other apps to check for any interference and simulate end-user conditions as much as possible.
5. Reliability Testing
They are performed to ensure that the software is reliable, fulfills the purpose for which it was created for a specified period in a given environment, and is capable of providing faultless operation and ensuring information security.
Manual Vs. Automated Testing
Test automation tools and frameworks reduce testing times, get faster feedback, reuse code, run multiple tests on new builds, and ensure more accurate test results. Test automation can make the testing process less stressful for QA and build developer confidence.
Despite the apparent benefits of automated testing, it is vital to understand the scope of a project early on and the testing strategy phase to make an informed decision between manual and automatic testing.
Automated testing is only sometimes better. If a team is not running multiple tests on new builds, implementing and maintaining a test automation framework may not provide a return on investment.
Tips and Additional Tests When Testing Software for Mobile Devices
These are recommendations you can consider when implementing QA tests on mobile devices.
Homologation between Operating Systems
Applications available for more than one operating system (OS) should be tested in parallel to ensure consistency in the user experience across platforms. For example, versions of the same app on iOS and Android should be as similar as possible to maintain design consistency and encourage user retention if the user switches to a mobile device with another operating system.
The QA team should perform tests to ensure that the only differences expected occur because of the variations between the two operating systems.
With so much of our personal and work lives dependent on cell phone use, mobile app users value battery life.
An essential part of creating a positive user experience is being aware of the battery your mobile app uses. Apps that use much battery are likely to perform poorly in the market.
Have a “What If” Mindset
We must be creative. When performing tests, we must imagine and think out of the box; for example, what would affect a calculator application if I turn off the Wi-Fi? This can help find bugs, such as crashes caused by unexpected integrations missed when the requirements were made.
Quality control tests are necessary when developing a mobile application to avoid bugs, bad experiences, or functionalities that do not follows business rules.
There are many good practices and tests in the quality control of an app; however, with new technologies, these tests are constantly changing and adapting.
Mobile app testing will vary from project to project based on the app’s audience, features, and scope. QC should develop a proper and cared-for strategy before testing.
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