During the last couple of years, there has been a steady increase in the creation of mobile apps that meet the diverse needs of the population: from apps made for entertainment purposes - such as games and movie streaming services - to apps that help users keep track of their monthly income and spending. Due to this, it has been necessary to develop a mobile testing methodology that is continually updated and improved to ensure only the best practices are applied to test mobile apps.
These best practices include:
- Apps available for more than one operating system (OS) should always be tested side by side to ensure consistency in user experience among all platforms. Versions of the same app on iOS and Android should be as similar as possible in order to maintain design consistency and ensure user retention even if the user changes to a mobile device with a different OS. The QA team should always apply tests to make sure the only differences between versions are expected, and that these happen solely because of variations between the two operating systems.
- Think outside the box when testing. You should always focus on the most important or more used parts of an app to ensure the user finds as little bugs as possible (ideally, they should find none). One very important practice when creating test cases is to have a “What if ...?” mindset, focusing on edge cases or even weird scenarios. This can help you find bugs such as crashes caused by unexpected integrations that were overlooked when the requirements were created.
- Always test on as many different devices as possible. When it comes to mobile apps, there is a whole world of difference when testing on different devices - even on devices with the same OS. This is why it’s important to always test on many different devices to find as many hardware-specific bugs as possible.
- Be aware of the most common device models and OS versions used by the app user base. Even though you should test on as many different devices as you can, doing so on every existing device is impossible; and if it were possible, it would imply great (and ultimately unnecessary) effort. You’d be better off focusing your time and resources on more important aspects. Therefore, it’s essential for the QA team to know which are the most used devices and versions of the mobile OS. This way, you can focus primarily on testing conditions that are as similar to the final users’ as possible.
- Keep testing as efficient as possible without sacrificing the quality of results. Although this practice is not exclusive to mobile apps (the QA team should always be as efficient as possible), what makes it so important in this case is the ease with which app updates are released into production. This makes mobile releases much more frequent, making efficiency a key factor when testing all important scenarios in the least amount of time while maintaining high-quality standards to ensure the reliability of your work. Just remember, a new feature or update should never be released into production without the approval of the QA team!
In short, the most important things you need keep in mind when testing mobile applications are the attention given to the smallest details, the creativity to come up with new scenarios to test unexpected integrations, executing tests on different devices and OS versions without overextending unnecessarily, and to be as efficient as possible when running all required scenarios within a limited amount of time without compromising the quality of the testing.