With the uncontested growth of the mobile industry, mobile technology has become a constant fixture in the technology world. Tablets and smartphones have emerged as the principal medium of interaction for consumers and businesses globally, leading to the proliferation of a myriad of mobile applications. The impact of mobile technology has now pervaded cars, wearables, and household gadgets as well.
The broad acceptance of mobile devices has paved the way for organizations to weave them into their computational architecture. However, due to complex functionalities and restricted computing resources, mobile applications pose distinct challenges. Such varied requirements necessitate the deployment of exceptional testing methodologies.
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In this discussion, we will delve into the difficulties experienced during mobile testing and the current solutions to overcome them:
The Mobile Testing Quality Report by Cap Gemini reveals that around 18% of the surveyed firms don’t have adequate time for testing their mobile applications, and 65% lack the requisite tools. Furthermore, 52% of respondents pointed out the deficit of devices as an obstacle to mobile testing. These are real-time obstacles grappled by organizations that aspire for successful mobile testing.
Figure 1: Mobile Testing Challenges
Real-Time Obstacles in Mobile Testing
Let’s take a look at the on-ground challenges encountered in mobile testing:
#1) Abundance of Mobile Devices
There’s an enormous variety of mobile devices, with over 500 million Android devices and 220 million iOS devices being shipped. Ranging from traditional handsets and smartphones to modern tablets and wearables, the assorted mobile environments pose a challenge for testers. Ensuring that an application functions well on one handset doesn’t necessarily mean it will perform evenly on another device, even within the same product line. Factors such as screen resolution, CPU, memory, OS optimization, and hardware can differ significantly.
Figure 2: Diversity of Devices for Testing Mobile Applications
One question to ponder over is whether it’s adequate to test on 5-8 devices. If satisfying just 25% of your user base meets your CEO’s expectations, then the answer is affirmative.
#2) Device Segmentation & Multiple OS Platforms
The array of devices and operating systems, especially in the case of Android, makes mobile testing a challenging endeavor. This complexity is highlighted by the fact that OpenSignal recorded nearly 12,000 different Android device models in 2013. Assessing quality across platforms proves challenging for cross-platform applications.
In addition, the diversity of mobile operating systems proves to be another obstacle for engineering teams striving to provide a consistent user experience across different platforms. Compatibility issues are prevalent with different operating systems such as iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and the various versions of each one.
#3) Various Mobile App Models
Mobile apps are diverse: native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps that merge the two. Each type of app warrants unique testing strategies based on their specific deployment.
Figure 4: Categories of Mobile Applications
The distinctive characteristics and testing prerequisites of each application type should be considered while performing tests.
#4) A Variety of Test Interfaces
While emulators and simulators are extensively used for testing mobile applications, they have their limitations. Although these tools can help validate basic functionality and perform regression testing, they don’t suffice for real-world testing. The best results are achieved by a combination of emulator/simulator testing with actual device testing.
#5) Assortment of Testing Tools
The mobile test automation market offers an extensive selection of both free and paid testing tools, designed for different application types and operating systems. With the vast array of tools available, it’s crucial to choose the most suitable ones for your specific requirements.
Figure 6 – Mobile Application Test Automation Tools
Some solutions to counter these challenges are as follows:
#1) Mobile Test Lab
If your mobile testing requirements are intense and regular, you might think of creating your own mobile test lab. This lab should comprise a selection of devices representing different device models, OS versions, screen sizes, and other factors that can influence application performance. You could also consider external test labs or cloud-based mobile lab solutions provided by companies specializing in mobile application testing.
#2) Suitable Testing Solution
Pick a testing solution that best fits your precise requirements. Essential considerations should include reducing scripting via an IDE, a keyword-driven approach facilitating easy use for manual testers, integration with mobile clouds to negate device-related issues, and tools capable of identifying objects based on properties or images. Multiple solutions are available in the market, both open source (like Robotium, Appium, Calabash) and commercial (like Eggplant, Perfecto).
The table below provides a feature comparison of several testing tools:
Table 1 – Comparative Analysis of Mobile Test Automation Solutions
The discussion sought to tackle real-time challenges encountered during mobile testing and table a comparative analysis of potential solutions. Recognizing and surmounting these obstacles is critical to ensuring quality and performance of mobile applications. By employing appropriate solutions, organizations can successfully maneuver the complexities of mobile testing and ensure a smooth user experience.
About the author: The guest post is composed by Pallavi Sharma, a seasoned software testing professional with an experience of 7.5 years. She is well-versed in functional and non-functional testing, and has experience in utilizing automation tools like Webdriver, QTP, Sahi, Watir, SoapUI, OpenSTA, and RPT. Currently, Pallavi holds leadership and project management roles, adhering to the SCRUM methodology.
In our subsequent discussion, we will delve deeper into why mobile testing is a challenging endeavor.