What is Mobile App Testing (and it's Types)?

By NIIT Editorial

Published on 02/06/2021

8 minutes

The mobile app industry is the bastion of light-speed innovation in emerging technologies. As the OS-wars between Apple and Android get taxing by the day, smartphone applications introduce just as many out-of-box functionalities to go along with it. These unyielding attempts towards engineering mobile apps make this business both rewarding and competitive at the same time. With serious implications for negligence or even a shortfall of standard tools and equipment, apps tip-toe a thin line between success and failure. 

This calls for greater due diligence and what quality assurance analysts would know by heart as mobile app testing.

Significance of Mobile App Testing

Unlike run-of-the-mill software development lifecycles, mobile apps consume less time for development. Testing constitutes a major part of quality checks to ensure the digital product meets desired expectations. It is key to offering personalized in-app experiences and instills confidence in product developers to roll out their apps in full swing. 

You can test the following sections of a mobile app: 

  • Chat windows 
  • Layout design
  • User interface 
  • App flow 
  • Sign-up options 
  • In-app navigation 
  • Checkout gateways 
  • Push notifications 
  • Other miscellaneous features

Types of Mobile App Testing

The entire process of testing targets specific areas of a mobile application. Let us have a look at the various types of testing that you can conduct.

Functional Testing

It ensures that the app is functioning as per the desired blueprint of its developers. The application is made to pass through all the drills so that it meets the industry standard in responsiveness and usability criteria. Some of the areas to look into include: 

  • Install time and device-compatibility 
  • Users can sign-up and checkout easily 
  • Buttons are working as they should 
  • A successful gateway for push notifications is getting established  

Usability Testing

If the phones are smart, apps should be smarter. The design, build, and in-app signages should convey a sense of intuitiveness about the app. Minimal design and maximum comfort should be the aim. Usability tests are chiefly tasked to debug the app to alleviate the customer experience. 

You don’t want a situation where the app has debuted in the market and its users are complaining about a lacklustre performance, pages displaying 404-errors, and users being kicked out mid-way during their sessions. It is also important to recruit the right-fit audience for carrying out this testing. 

Compatibility Testing

Operating system compatibility could make or break your day. The objective is to find out the compatibility level of the app with either Android/iOS, in case the app is native or both if the app is cross-platform. At the same time, OS is just one of the parameters on which the tests are conducted. The following list includes all the areas where compatibility testing is carried out: 

  • Hardware 
  • Software 
  • Operating System 
  • Browser 
  • Device 
  • Network 

Testers can conduct 2 types of compatibility tests namely forward testing and backward testing.

Performance Testing

As the name indicates, performance testing is designed to validate the workload credibility of an app. The difference in geographical time zones for instance could cause periodic spikes in the app traffic. The checklist shared below highlights the various stages of performance testing:

  • Load Testing 
  • Stress Testing 
  • Spike Testing 
  • Endurance Testing 
  • Scalability Testing 
  • Volume Testing 

Common issues that tend to surface during such tests include hardware inefficiency, scalability ceilings, and software configurations.

Secure Testing

Smartphones store a lot of personal information such as IDs, passwords, and whatnot. Users are unwilling to install an application that is sound leak-proof. Encryption is assumed to be an end-to-end safety passage for data, but its effectiveness remains to be seen as quantum computing finds its feet. Nevertheless, some of the factors instituting the phases of mobile app testing include: 

  • Checking integration with third-party apps
  • Unchecked gateways for communication channels 
  • Hidden malware/bugs in the app 
  • Safe authentication pages 

Installation Testing

Would you carry on signing up on an app that doesn’t even install quickly? Perhaps no! Mobile app creators must make sure that the app, irrespective of the Wifi speed, gets installed and opened up in a couple of seconds. Installation testing also ticks the boxes in version control updates. 

Localisation Testing

This applies to apps that cut through cultural ethnicities and appeal to a broad spectrum of people. An app that respects your linguistic capabilities by offering multi-language support is poised to fair well than an app that doesn’t. 

Even UI boo-boos could result in the app being downgraded by a certain cohort. Everything from the style guide to the navigation buttons and the logos should be designed to the preferences of people. 

Manual Testing

Manual testing is designed to test the app through unconventional use cases that have a lesser likelihood of happening. They are exploratory and consider everything from physical interfaces to software behavior. 

Automated Testing

Some things are best left to machines to carry out. Automated testing is a quality assurance method by which an app is tested by high-speed computations. Tools such as Appium, Calabash, TestComplete, and Tricentis Tosca make can be used to carry it out. 

Common challenges that people encounter during automated testing include device fragmentation, double work, device matching, and finding the right toolsets. 

Mobile Device Testing

It pertains to quality checking the software and hardware for particular handsets. For this reason, app makers need to ensure quality output regardless of the smartphone design. More often than not, QA team members check their app in areas such as software interruption, location-based services, biometrics, and NFC functionalities. 

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