With technological advancements, mobile phones have evolved from being a simple communication medium to a multipurpose gadget. The last five years have witnessed extreme momentum in technological front which has triggered a huge explosion of smartphones and tablets with a variety of operating systems.
Today, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of personal and professional life, thanks to the thousands of mobile applications on Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry platform dramatically revolutionized the mobile usage. Variety of apps for different purposes have been rolled-out and have been made available on the respective app stores in the last two years. The combined number of applications in both Google and Apple App Store exceeds 2 million. Besides, here are some more interesting facts that highlight the exponential growth of mobile and mobile applications.
This increase in adoption of smartphones and tablets and the underlying rise of mobile applications have paved the way for companies to develop applications for mobile and tablets. Thousands of companies today are developing mobile applications to serve a variety of purposes such as communication, business operation, reporting, etc. Moreover, every company today is also developing or outsourcing development of mobile application for its internal use. With so many applications hitting the road and competing in the market, it is essential for every company to develop quality applications and be ahead of the curve.
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However, it is extremely challenging for companies to develop applications for mobile that goes well with myriads of handsets, screen sizes and operating systems without compromising on quality and performance.
Furthermore, the need to push applications quickly in the marketplace makes it difficult for companies to meet the required quality and performance benchmarks within the fixed cost and time. Thus, their applications fail to impress the users and leads to customer opt-out.
According to a survey conducted by Compuware and Mobilewalla, 80%-90% of apps are used once and eventually deleted by users.
The same survey conducted by Mobilewalla revealed interesting facts and reasons of customers opting out of the downloaded applications.
If your application falls into any of the above four categories, then it is tough to survive in the market and meet the desired business goals.
A poor app not only restricts user adoption, but also causes loss of revenue and hamper brand image. Hence, to ensure the application meets all the defined quality and performance standards, it has become extremely necessary to have a dedicated process of testing the mobile applications.
Testing a mobile application not only ensures that the given application works as expected, but also helps in identifying the security, scalability and usability aspects. It also ensures success of the app in the long run in the highly competitive market.
However, in today’s agile market, it is necessary to upgrade the versions and OS frequently, which calls for the need of regression testing. Testing a mobile application in the regression testing environment while keeping up with shorter release cycles is difficult since there are several challenges attached with mobile testing.
Different Operating Systems: We all know that mobile apps are developed for a variety of OS like Android, iOS, Windows, etc. Hence, an application needs to be tested separately for each and every platform in which it is supposed to be delivered.
Variety of Devices: Testing an application for a single device with a particular screen size and resolution does not guarantee that the same application will work similarly for a different device. These problems keep on creeping up when a company is more into developing Android applications which run on multiple devices and tablets.
Network Incompatibility: The incompatibility among different mobile networks like GSM, GPRS, Wi-Fi, etc. also affects the mobile test automation practice due to difference in bandwidth, speed, connection, etc. Hence, an application tested in a GSM network, also needs to be verified for the speed and functionality on other network. This adds to extra cost and effort.
Usability & Navigation: The difference in UI and navigation across different devices also impacts the testing of an application. The way an application interacts with a particular navigation and UI does not necessarily gives the same response on a device having different UI and navigation. This also creates a challenge for a company to deliver universal user experience.
With all these challenges of mobile testing, it becomes tough for companies to reach the required level of application quality and meet customers’ expectations. Hence, companies mostly prefer automation testing over manual testing that promises to deliver rapid ROI with flawless applications.
Test automation is the key to ensuring quality and performance of apps in rapid roll-outs and agile market. Automation testing promises to test applications quickly and efficiently reducing the overall time-to-market.
The entire process of testing an app is taken care of by a test automation tool which runs real test scripts and cases across different devices, operating systems and browsers to verify the functioning, speed, quality of the app.
Test automation of a mobile application is different from traditional desktop or web app testing. While desktop or web app automation testing requires testing an application in a single environment or operating system, mobile app testing adds more complexity owing to the different screen sizes, networks, operating systems as discussed above.
Therefore, it is necessary to implement a dedicated and planned mobile test automation strategy that will guide companies in their approach to conduct mobile test automation and deliver apps on time and within budget. Here are the key elements for effective mobile test automation.
Conduct a Feasibility Study: Before jumping on test automation, the foremost things a company or a tester needs to do is to conduct a feasibility study. This will help determine which testing will deliver the best result and required ROI.
Proof of Concepts: It is also advisable to have a proof of concepts and requirements on hand before starting the actual testing process.
Select the Test Framework: The next thing for a tester is to select the framework that gives the suitable methodology of testing a specific mobile application which will also serve as a foundation of the entire test automation project.
Select the right mix of Simulators & Emulators: One must also create combinations of simulators (software systems) and emulators (physical devices) with different memory and processor to understand different mechanisms and working of the application to maximize the test coverage.
Test Automation Tool: Having a right test automation tool in place is also necessary to attain the desired level of testing and reduce the cost of regression testing. This will help for apps that require repetitive testing due to frequent upgrades.
Network Environment: It is also important to consider the primary network environment to base the testing project to check the performance of the app. Besides, one must also deploy tools to stimulate the different network connectivity and response of the application under test.
Type of Testing: Tester must also analyze the different types of testing (functional, performance, security, and compliance) to check the different aspects of the given application.
Considering these key strategies before implementing any mobile test automation project will help a company in processing the testing in the right direction without compromising on the results thereof. All the more, the right kind of test automation strategy also can help a company understand the various complexities and implement best practices that can lead to various results.
A telecommunication giant based in the USA developed a VOIP application for iPhone and Android devices to professionally manage all the incoming and outgoing calls of corporates as well as the individual users. The application also featured capabilities to route incoming calls, send SMS and fax, conduct call conference and many. To test whether the application performed each of these functions seamlessly after every update without showing any discrepancies and check whether it sustains the increasing load of customer’s data at a single point of time, the company hired a testing consultant. The consultant analyzed the application’s working on both iPhone and Android devices and based on the functions, it decided to automate the process. It implemented MonkeyTalk which helped in automating all the process verification and ultimately respond to multiple end user’s requests without a glitch. It also helped in achieving the regression cycles and increase test coverage which resulted in saving 70% of human efforts, time and cost.
The company which understands these nuances of mobile test automation will certainly get the needed capability to scale up their applications and improve their application’s efficiency. The only thing to be kept in mind is to understand and implement a well-orchestrated automation strategy as mentioned above that enables you to achieve the desired testing purpose with reduced efforts and accelerated time-to-market.
It is more advisable to take the help of a dedicated test automation consultant who can guide to adopt the right mobile test automation process, tool and framework.
Cygnet Infotech is a leading software and QA service providers. We have a team of veteran test automation professionals with years of experience in developing and implementing test automation strategy and projects for web, mobile and cloud apps. Get in touch with us if you have any requirements related to the mobile test automation project.
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