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How To Test Mobile Applications Effectively?

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By Author: Michael Wade
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Any Mobile Testing Strategy should involve choosing a mix of physical devices and simulators to widen the sweep of features, form factors, networks and platforms. Again, increase in automation should be the key to cut down on test time, regression testing costs and pushing in better compliance. The suite of Mobile App Testing Services should include testing options such as functional, usability, performance, and security to ensure the robustness and responsiveness of the application.

In the past decade or so, the penetration of smartphones has led to growth in the number of applications that is mindboggling in terms of its targeted end users, range and functions.
The applications work on a host of mobile devices, form factors, hardware, software platforms, Operating Systems and networks. It goes without saying that this diversity has a bearing on the quality, stability, usability and responsiveness of an application.

The sheer range of applications present challenges that Mobile Testing Experts have to grapple with to ensure that applications pass muster on the litmus test of end user satisfaction. This is important as any glitch/bug can lead to user dissatisfaction with the application. Thus impacting the revenue stream, credibility and brand image of the company.

Mobile Testing Challenges
1. Diversity of devices: The range of devices in terms of their screen resolutions, sizes, screen sizes, and various other factors make application testing important.
2. Diversity of OS: Applications should be tested for a host of operating systems such as Android, Windows, iOS, and BlackBerry. Moreover, as every OS keeps getting updated periodically, so incorporating these changes in unavoidable.
3. Diversity of Network: Networks have challenges in terms of their speed, availability and strengths. So, applications should be compliant notwithstanding such limitations of network diversity.
4. Increase in test cycles: As networks, operating systems and software platforms undergo version changes to fix bugs or to meet newer customer expectations, aligning applications to meet such changes is done by implementing additional test cycles. This has an impact on the recurring costs for the company and also impacts time to market.

Scope of Mobile Testing
The scope and type of Mobile App Testing is determined by the kind of applications (e.g., health, education, banking, and gaming,) its target audience (customers or enterprises,) platforms (various OS’s,) and channels (Google Play and Apple Store). Importantly, Mobile Testing Services should include testing types such as functional, performance, usability, network, security, and compatibility – each testing a particular aspect of the application or the environment in which it operates.

Five ways to test applications
1. Use of testing tools: A mix of manual and automatic tools should be used. In manual testing, remote access solution implies accessing various types of devices from distributed data centres over the Internet. In automation testing, object or image based tools are widely used. Object based tools are helpful in testing devices that are independent of screen sizes and resolutions whereas image based tools are for testing end user applications. Even though automation is fast and reusable, it is cost intensive.
2. Choice of target devices: As the number and types of devices are humongous, it is advisable to select a mix of simulators and physical devices for testing.
3. Use of Wi-Fi: Instead of relying on cellular networks, it is better to use Wi-Fi for network compatibility testing for it is easier as well as cost effective.
4. Form Factors: Mobile Application Testing should ensure that the application is compatible with smartphones, tablets and phablets.
5. Use of Cloud: Instead of investing in procuring test tools and devices in-house, the services of Cloud should be utilized.

Michael works for Gallop Solutions, which is North America's largest Independent Software Testing Services & company operating since 2003 with offices in Philadelphia & California.

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