With the advent of modernization, technology has become an integral part of our life and mobile application is one such discovery which has eased our lives to a large extent. Today, we have mobile applications which help us not only in everyday chores like ordering food, paying various bills, booking a cab or a hotel etc. but also in our leisure times.
Since mobile applications are so indispensable to us, here comes the question of how to make a user friendly and successful mobile app. In 2019, over 200 billion apps were downloaded worldwide but the user retention rate for mobile apps was only 32%. This is actually a thought-provoking fact which makes us ponder over the factors which are responsible for the success of mobile applications.
There are numerous factors like market research, strong back-end, user experience but the most important factor is ‘Mobile App Testing’.
Mobile App Testing is a process in which an application software developed for handheld devices is tested to ascertain its functionality, usability, and consistency. Mobile app testing is essential to optimize the user experience which will in turn lead to high monthly users and high retention rate.
While downloading any application, users generally look for two things i.e., ratings and reviews. Now the challenge is that there are plenty of mobile phones in the market which have different operating systems, screen sizes, processing capacity and this makes testing a vital process to get the desired responses from the users. Hence, testing is done to look for new features, check for periodic bug fixes, and also to make sure that new features do not introduce new bugs.
Mobile app testing also helps in segmentation or categorization of users and target them accordingly. In simple terms, it will help to understand the audience and their needs in a far better way which will eventually help the owner to develop marketing strategy and future optimization.
Mobile app testing also allows app developers to test different variations of any feature before the final launch. Experimenting with features helps to select the best for the users and this reduces the dropout rate of apps.
Just like software testing for the web, there are two approaches for mobile app testing as well i.e., Manual Testing (rather core functional testing done through non automated steps) and Automated Testing.
In Manual testing, analysis and evaluation of the application is done by a user in an explorative process. Hence, this approach is user-centric and focuses on whether a mobile application meets user requirements.
It is advisable to use manual testing approach for 20% of the testing and the rest should be automated. Automated testing approach covers 80% of the testing process and this is a general guideline followed in the software industry.
Some of the test cases which are performed using this approach are test cases that are easy to automate, test cases with predictable results, test cases for most frequently used functionality and many more.
Automation testing is a more preferred approach because it is a more efficient and effective method that saves a lot of time and efforts.
With two known approaches, the question that comes to our minds is what all can we test in a mobile app. The four major things which should be checked while testing any mobile app are Functional testing, Compatibility testing, Connectivity testing and Performance Testing.
In Functional testing, a mobile app is tested for screen orientation, gesture, install/uninstall, battery consumption, memory usage, app’s behaviour under interruptions like phone calls, messages, push notifications etc. Under Compatibility testing, a mobile app is tested for app’s functionality on different devices.
In Connectivity Testing, a mobile app is tested with different mobile connections, behaviour while switching between different networks and even sometimes without network connection. Lastly, Performance testing checks for parameters like speed, resource usage, response time, reliability and scalability of the app under their expected workload.
While the above are core, and other areas such security are covered in depth in the web testing piece, some focus should be set aside for those as well, to ensure all stakes are covered on mobile too.
Mobile app testing has proved to be really effective across industries like eCommerce, Gaming, Fintech etc. With regular testing, developers or app owners checked and re-checked different variations for a feature to ease the use of the application.
To substantiate this fact, let’s look at the example of RunKeeper, a fitness app launched in 2008. This app was successful with 50M+ downloads but the challenge was to reposition the brand as the go-to destination for tracking all health and fitness-related goals.
The team decided to revamp their app design to show how the app can be used for various activities and even encourages them to inculcate those activities in their daily routine. With the help of primary A/B tests, they used a plethora of designs and see if those updates in designs are working or not. And these variations actually worked and increased their downloads by 10X.
Over time, we have realized the importance of mobile app testing and how it is absolutely necessary for the success of mobile applications. But it also has its own set of challenges and the major challenge is the diversity of mobile phones available in the market with different operating systems, screen size, hardware options, software versions etc.
Another challenge is Multi-Platform Compatibility in which an application has to be tested over multiple platforms like Android, IOS and many more. Just like testing over different platforms is necessary, testing with different connectivity modes like 3G,4G, roaming etc cannot be ignored.
Application must be tested in all these various connectivity modes. Also the Mobile industry is the industry which is so quick in bringing updates and with new updates comes new features as well as new bugs so mobile app testers have to be always on their toes to keep the app trending.
In today’s digital and mobile-first era, offering an optimized in-app experience is as important as developing an app itself. Mobile app testing is absolutely crucial for the app strategy which helps to boost the app’s core metrics, monitor and alter the user engagement as well as retention.
With regular Mobile app testing, you can optimize each and every element/feature of the app which will ultimately help you to deliver the best app experience and enhance the overall app performance.