10 simple considerations when conducting mobile/enterprise application testing
Testing (quality assurance) in mobile and enterprise applications is a painstaking task and one that needs to be carried out rigorously in order for the mobile application to work seamlessly, so that it doesn’t impact on your business or your customers.
The main aim of mobile application testing (and enterprise application quality assurance in general) is to TRY and ‘break the system’. Bugs in software aren’t as easy to find as a pidgey in Pokemon Go – they lurk in places where you least expect them or at the end of a hugely long process that you simply don’t want to go through again. But you have to – to offer the best possible experience for your user.
Here at ACT Mobile Solutions, we take mobile application testing and quality assurance very seriously, and, as we have come across multiple different scenarios over the years – here are 10 important things we’ve learned over the course of our years in mobile application testing (in no particular order):
Process testing: Test every possible process within the application. By ‘process’ we mean every different path a user can take within the mobile application. For example, a user may choose to click the ‘ok’ button on a screen, but another user may decide to do something completely different, like want to go ‘<back’ on the same screen or ‘swipe’ to a new screen. It is important to bear this in mind because the ‘ok’ button may work correctly but perhaps the ‘<back’ button causes a system error.
Functionality testing: Remember that if the system does not do what the client expects it to do, it is an error in the system and needs to be fixed. Therefore, if, as in our last scenario, the client has asked that the mobile application go to the ‘main menu’ screen when the user clicks ‘ok’ but it infact goes to different screen, this is considered an error in the system and needs to be amended. That is why the ‘mobile application architecture’ section of the project is so important. This is something we will be touching on in our next article.
Testing steps: Noting testing steps is vitally important! This will help the mobile application tester and the mobile developer. In my early days of mobile application testing, I learned the hard way – I would test something and, when it came to replicating it for the developer, I couldn’t do it again! It is important for a number of reasons, the developer can follow the steps and get the same error, it is good to have a history of common system errors and you don’t have to waste time trying to work out what you did before, to cause the error in the first place!
Test more than once: Just because it worked once, doesn’t mean it’s ‘working correctly’. This is especially true of sections where the user needs to enter information. For example, the mobile application may well work the first time of registering however, the user may use a character that the system doesn’t accept, or they may enter too many characters that the mobile application is not set up for, or the number keyboard may appear instead of the letters keyboard. These are all things that need to be tested and taken into consideration.
Make a note of system error codes: Often times, during mobile application testing, the application will display an error message with a number (error 404 for example) which is very useful for mobile developers to determine where the fault is and how to fix the error as quickly as possible.
Device testing: This is a complicated subject; but essentially, the two main platforms (iOS (Apple) and Android) have multiple devices that could use your mobile application – especially Android. Different devices can mean different screen sizes, different operating system versions and different reaction times. This means that, wherever possible, it is useful to test on a number of different devices as they will have different screen sizes (which could mean the application may not look as it should) and that the mobile application may not move as quickly as it should and in extreme cases, may not work as it should.
Swipe and scroll testing: It is very common to find system errors in mobile applications in the swipe and scroll functions. Again, depending on the device, the swipe function may work well on a newer phone but may get stuck on an older phone. It may be jumpy or it may not react at all.
Section testing: It is very easy to overlook sections of a mobile application, especially when it is a big project. It is important to keep a record of every section and every screen of the mobile application and to test its functionality accordingly. Upon conducting final testing, every process should be completed at least five times and every screen should be checked on a number of different devices. Care should be taken when looking at icons, pop ups and buttons, to make sure nothing looks out of place or off kilter.
Pop ups and progress bars: When testing a mobile application, it is incredibly important to keep the user in mind at all times. If a process takes a while to complete, a progress bar should be put in place to notify the user that the system is still working and is not ‘hanging’. The same goes for mobile application pop ups. When a major process has been completed (such as sending a message, a game has finished or the registration process has been completed) it is best practice to inform the user that the ‘message has been sent’ or that the ‘game has been completed’. Try not to leave the user guessing as to whether the mobile application is working correctly.
Re-testing: Every time a bug has been found, it is vitally important that you retest the function multiple times to make sure it is working. Also, bear in mind that when one system error is fixed, something else that was working correctly, may be affected – so again, best practice dictates that the system be retested to ensure that something else hasn’t gone wrong as a result.
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