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What Makes Mobile Testing So Important And All-encompassing?
Mobile applications are leading the way as far as driving the process of digital transformation is concerned. Their increased usage can be attributed to the scale of penetration of smartphones using the latest technologies. In fact, customers have spent around $92.1 billion on mobile apps in 2018 (Source: businessofapps.com.) At the same time, the number of mobile apps seems to have gone through the roof – 2.1 million & 2 million apps on Android and Apple app stores respectively. Also, given the scope of mobile application usage in areas such as vehicles, watches, kitchen appliances etc., customers have become choosy when it comes to any deficiency in the quality standard. The said deficiency can be related to issues like device compatibility, functional defects, and below-par user experience. No wonder mobile testing has become a critical process in the SDLC, for it is directly linked to revenue generation or the lack of it.
The challenge of staying competitive is forcing businesses to launch newer mobile apps with better features and functionalities. This has put the developers and testers under strain to not only meet the stiff market demand but even face the heat should the revenue stream is not consistent with expectations. To add to the existing challenges of stiffer turnaround times and staying on top of the technological curve, there is a plethora of device configurations, operating systems, networks, frameworks etc. Any mobile application, to provide even a modicum of quality user experience, should ensure its compatibility across the above mentioned digital touchpoints or elements.
To address the challenges of compatibility and below-par performance of mobile apps, testers are adopting methodologies like Agile and DevOps. In fact, embracing mobile test automation has enabled testers to address the inadequacies of manual testing. On the flip side, choosing the right test tool may not be the easiest thing to do resulting in inefficient and often ineffective mobile testing. Let us find out the reasons as to why the scope for quality assurance and testing is expanding.
# Entry of new devices and OS platforms: The smartphone market is expanding at a rapid pace with the entry of new players and newer versions of operating systems. Due to the frequency at which these are introduced into the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the QA experts to live up to the user expectations. With different variants of operating systems in the fray, ensuring the compatibility of mobile apps across operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry or their mindboggling versions can shut the living daylights out of many testers. And unless these issues are sorted out and users provided with seamless navigation, the concerned mobile app cannot be expected to climb the charts of popularity. Since user expectation has become the ultimate differentiator for businesses to stay competitive, testers have no option but to expand the scope of mobile testing.
# Diversity in networks: The internet connectivity network is diverse in its range. If on one side you have network configurations like GSM and CDMA, the other side has 2G, 3G, and 4G for mobile app developers to grapple with. Even though mobile test automation tools like network emulators can provide testers with the basic wherewithal to validate the compatibility of apps across networks, they do not offer the challenges of a real network. Testing a mobile app across networks requires studying the impact of Wi-Fi/3G/4G speeds.
# Security challenges: The growing menace of cybercrime has brought about the criticality of security testing. Moreover, since mobile apps are increasingly used to provision/buy/sell products and services, they deal with sensitive personal/business/financial data and information. With hackers on the prowl using viruses, trojans, malware, ransomware etc. as their tools, mobile app testers should ensure the data is properly encrypted and payment gateways made secure.
# Diversity in app types: A vast number of mobile apps are built for various industry verticals, be it eCommerce, health, payment, utility services, banking, or travel. To ensure the apps meet the desired business objectives as well as provide a seamless user experience, they need to be tested rigorously based on the relevant metrics.
The scale, diversity, and scope of mobile apps are expanding at a frenetic pace. To ensure they meet the basic criteria of aesthetics, usability, performance, and security, a robust mobile testing strategy should be adopted.
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