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How and Why to Perform Manual Mobile Application Testing

Written by 
Olga Uznali
,
Quality Assurance Professional
How and Why to Perform Manual Mobile Application Testing
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Table of contents

Testing mobile applications generally follows the principles for testing in any context, but there are also a number of specific characteristics of testing mobile applications.

To understand the peculiarities of testing applications on mobile devices, it is necessary to take into account the factors that distinguish a mobile application from a desktop one. These include specific and diverse operating systems for mobile platforms, various configurations of components, the functionality of devices such as communicators, and so on.

Because of these factors, the approach to testing applications on mobile devices is quite different from doing so on desktops. A large number of additional nuances and requirements occur that need to be tested.

Let's take a look at the main points that you need to pay special attention to when testing applications on mobile devices:

  • Screen size and touch interface
  • Various screen resolutions and OS versions
  • Application response to external interrupts

Mobile testing

Mobile app development is different from desktop app development. Consequently, during the testing process, the engineer is required to carry out checks due to the nature of the software products. For example, you need to check the installation of updates.

Operating system developers are constantly improving platforms to make them more secure and performant. This also creates new requirements for mobile applications. The user should have no difficulty in the upgrade process. What if the user does not install new versions in time? How will the application react to this? The tester is looking for answers to these types of questions.

Testing helps determine how your application responds to unpredictable user actions. Imagine that you have an unlocked gadget in your pocket or bag, and the application must properly handle a set of chaotic and incoherent activities.

Another type of check is to assess the quality of various types of connections. Such testing takes place in a laboratory setting, where you can recreate the most realistic communication conditions. This type of check demonstrates how the application will behave in non-standard situations — for example when the Wi-Fi signal is barely perceptible.

The project team can be composed entirely of mobile application testers or remain unified. It depends on the characteristics of the product being tested. An outsourcing company may have only a few mobile software quality assessors or a large department. In this case, a novice specialist can build a career from junior to leading.

Mobile application testing tools

The QA engineer's toolkit is quite rich: emulators, beta testing services, programs for collecting statistical data, and so on. Let's consider them in more detail.

Emulator

Emulators are programs that mimic the behavior of other devices. The main advantage of emulators is that they help you test complex scenarios that are not recommended for real mobile phones (if tests can damage the device).

Today you can find emulators for all the most common operating systems. For example, the Simulator, Android SDK allows you to debug and test source code. In addition, the results can be obtained in real-time.

Android SDK and AVD Manager

Of course, there are alternative options for emulators, like MobiOne Developer or Electric Mobile Studio 2012, but such solutions are paid.

Beta testing services

We remind you that beta testing is an active work with an almost finished version of the product to find all possible errors and eliminate them.

The Beta Family is a free service that allows you to create an account and download the beta version of the application. Then you can send an invitation to test the software and analyze the results.

Collecting statistics

Statistical information about how users work with the application will be useful. You will find out which features attract users the most and what mistakes they make.

You will also receive statistics on which OS versions are most often found among application users and the representation of your application on a geographic map. Such data can be obtained using information-gathering solutions. Examples of the most common free systems are Google Analytics, Flurry, BugSense, and Apsalar.

Flurry

For effective testing of software products, many companies complete their own fleet of mobile devices. This is a large collection of a wide variety of gadgets from smartwatches to tablets and e-books based on various operating systems. The larger the fleet of devices, the more software defects can be detected to make the mobile application better and more reliable.

Frequent defects in mobile app testing

Speaking of testing mobile applications, there are a number of specific bugs.

Stopping the application

This happens when the application has unresolved defects. As soon as the application suddenly stops working, the user is notified of an error. But resetting or clearing the device's memory does not always help.

Sometimes you need to resort to more radical methods. For example, completely wiping the internal memory, reinstalling an app, or even a factory reset. In this case, user data is erased without the possibility of subsequent recovery.

Errors in support of different versions of the OS, browsers, and devices

This often happens with gadgets whose platforms are no longer updated by the developers. Defects are discovered when doing cross-platform and cross-browser testing. Some bugs can be fixed, but the most serious bugs can be eliminated only after changing the gadget.

It is recommended to test on different operating systems (Windows, Android, macOS, Linux) and in different browsers (Chrome, IE, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Konqueror, and others). However, the scope of testing will of course depend on the customer's requirements.

Crashes when displayed on screens of different resolutions

These errors occur when the app is not optimized to run on devices with different screen resolutions. Also, interface elements can deform when changing the position of the smartphone in space.

Defects in application localization

Since mobile applications are now mainly intended for use in the international market, a lot of attention is paid to testing localization.

The localization process includes not only the translation of a text into another language. It is also important to take into account the peculiarities of translation inherent in each specific culture. For example, the correct transfer of abbreviations, names, currencies, date, and time formats. Even color can make a difference.

Localization errors occur very often and often they scare away users and reduce the success of an application in a specific market.


Olga Uznali
Written by
Olga Uznali
Olga Uznali

As a Quality Assurance Professional at FullStack Labs, I strive to add value to the final product through extensive quality assurance testing. For the last 2 years I have been working on improving my skills in analyzing functional, user and technical requirements throughout the entire software life cycle. Product quality and customer satisfaction are key milestones in my work. Besides my work, I love spending time with my family.

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