Mobile App Testing – How to Minimize Bugs in 2017

Mobile app testing is vital. If you don’t test properly, you won’t catch errors, and your app will be more likely to suffer from serious bugs. It’ll also be more likely to suffer from stability issues.

And what happens to buggy and unstable apps? That’s right: they get deleted!

Here’s our guide to the main things you’ll need to know about app testing.

mobile app testing

Mobile app testing is broken down into a few different processes, all of which you’ll need to take a look at.

Here they are:

Functional testing

The meat and potatoes of mobile app testing: functional testing is, as the name suggests, the process of ensuring your app works as it should, and according to the project requirements.

Functional testing is both essential and also very time-consuming, as it requires the skills of a genuine human tester for maximum results.

It is possible to automate testing to a certain extent, but apps are built for people, not for machines: humans are incredibly skilled at finding unorthodox ways of breaking software!

Just because automatic testing hasn’t found bugs, don’t assume a person won’t.

Performance testing

This area of testing is focused on how the application performs in terms of its network and server speed: is the infrastructure set up powerful enough to ensure the app functions as it should, even when there are thousands of users logged on?

This area of testing will focus on finding any performance bottlenecks in terms of both the front and back-end. Again, your app might work smoothly on one device, but are the available resources strong enough to deal with multiple customers at once?

Memory testing

Mobile devices don’t have the same amount of resource as desktops, which means it’s essential to test your app’s ability to still function when those resources are low.

Why is this important? Because in the majority of mobile devices, the default reaction when an app uses up too much memory is simply to shut it down: not what you – or your users – want!

It’s important to conduct memory testing on real devices, simply because emulation software won’t use the same system architecture as the real deal.

Unfortunately, there are some things you can’t imitate.

mobile app testing

Interruption testing

How will your app respond when the mobile device interrupts its processes?

Remember, all apps get interrupted at some point, whether it’s by a text message arriving, a low memory or low battery warning or simply the device’s mobile network losing signal.

You’ll need to verify that your app can handle all of the above situations without crashing.

Simulation testing can be useful here, but for some things – incoming calls, particularly – you’ll again need to test on the real device.

Usability testing

We put real emphasis on user experience: if users don’t like actually using your app, you can be sure they’ll delete it. UI and UX should be your primary focuses.

What does this mean? Simply that as with all functionality, you’ll need to test how your app functions when it comes to giving users what they want.

Usability testing comes down to three main areas:

  • Efficiency, or how easy it is for users to meet their goals when using your app
  • Effectiveness, or how well your app makes use of available resources to function
  • Satisfaction, or how comfortable and happy users are when using your app

Usability testing is entirely human based, for obvious reasons: there’s no substitute for getting feedback from genuine users.

mobile app testing

So, you’re app is up and running, and you’re ready to start the testing process. Here are the key things you should bear in mind in order to achieve the best results possible.

If you follow these tips, you’ll end up with a more efficient, better app.

Device emulators can be useful, but don’t rely entirely on them

It’s possible to test your app on emulators: that is, software that simulates different devices and operating systems.

This can be a real time-saver during the mobile app testing process. However, it’s important to ensure you don’t rely solely on emulators – the real devices will nearly always throw up issues that the simulators can’t replicate.

As we said previously, people will find ways of breaking something a logical machine would never come up with!

Don’t try to manually test everything

Alright, this might seem to contrast the previous point, but this is all about balance. In an ideal world, you’d manually test everything, However, when it comes to larger projects this often just isn’t possible: it would take way too much time.

Which features should you use automatic mobile app testing on? The basics, essentially:

  • Data tables
  • File contents
  • Memory contents
  • Internal program states

And so on.

Save manual mobile app testing for those things that absolutely require it – usability testing being the best example.

Don’t forget that you’re developing mobile apps

When you test mobile apps, you need to take into account things like when they’ll be used: your app might be loaded up while someone’s sat on a crowded bus, or when they’re out running.

Sat at your comfy desk, your app might look great, but can you really read it when you’re out walking the dog on a dark evening?

The optimum word is MOBILE: remember to keep this in mind.

Make sure you test across devices and operating systems

There are thousands of different mobiles and tablets on the market, and you should look to test your app on as many of them as you possibly can.

Multiple screen sizes, multiple operating systems, multiple software iterations, multiple hardware options…the more versatile and wide-reaching your testing process, the less likely you are to suffer issues later on.

(One of the most common examples of this is a developer assuming that building an app for iOS and Android is a case of building once and then porting it across, when this is very much not the case!)

mobile app testing

Focus on UI, but don’t forget functionality

Don’t get us wrong: the front-end of any app is what’ll keep your users around. It’s what’ll stop them deleting your app in the first thirty seconds.

The user interface – and the user experience – matters.

However, you need to invest just as much time on the features and the functionality.

A pretty UI will definitely reel users in, but if the app ends up buggy and doesn’t give the users what they want, they’ll still delete it: they just might take a bit longer to do so.

Strike the right balance between the front-end and the back-end, and you’ll end up with a better product.

Be aware of how your app will respond to connection issues

So, your app is up and working fine. You’ve tested it on different operating systems and different devices, and you’ve got a healthy balance between the UI and functionality.

But…then your Wi-Fi connection drops out for a second, and the whole thing crashes.

We hinted at this earlier, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be re-iterated: network connectivity is vital.

Even high quality mobile networks drop out, as do those at home. Your app will have to deal with connectivity issues at some point. It’s vital to try and ensure your apps remain stable when this happens.

Users won’t expect your app to work flawlessly with no web – this is exceptionally rare in 2017 – but they’ll get annoyed if it instantly crashes and needs to be reset.

Too many developers ignore this, and their apps suffer as a result.

Listen to feedback

If your app’s been released and you’re getting your first reviews and early feedback, USE that feedback.

Many app developers treat reviews as an irritant if they state anything negative: don’t fall into this trap. Bad or middling reviews can be invaluable in the testing process; you’re getting advanced user testing without paying for it!

How can you tell which feedback to take seriously? Simple: see which errors or issues have come back multiple times from different users. If two or three people have all highlighted the same problem, test it.

Test your app in its full capacity

Some apps aren’t tested in their ‘full’ capacity, which is obviously an error.

To give an example, an app that is set up to launch in ten categories might only be set up to pull information from three during the testing process.

Though you can certainly get a good idea of performance by this sort of ‘partial’ testing, there’s no substitute for testing the full performance of your app: you simply never know which variables will be thrown up when everything’s going at full tilt.

mobile app testing

If you want to automate some of the process, then there are a number of different software testing packages available that’ll make your life easier.

Here are some of the standout programs:

Appium

Built to test both Android and iOS applications, this open source software can test native, mobile web and hybrid apps, and it supports a variety of languages including C#, Java and Ruby.

If you’re publishing on both major platforms, Appium is definitely a good option.

Robotium

Another open-source mobile app testing tool that’s popular with many developers, Robotium makes it easy to create automatic black box test cases that’ll sniff out potential errors in your code.

The only downside of Robotium is that it currently only works with Android and native applications: no iOS support as of yet.

MonkeyRunner

When it comes to back-end functionality testing, MonkeyRunner is hard to beat. There are a whole host of invaluable tools included within the software, including multiple device controls, regression testing, automation and functional tests.

Developers don’t need to make changes to the source code in order to automate testing, which is another invaluable feature.

MonkeyTalk

This is another of the more versatile tools, offering compatibility with both Android and iOS. Even less-technical users can run tests using MonkeyTalk, simply because it doesn’t require knowledge of scripting.

MonkeyTalk’s standard tests are simpler than some, but that doesn’t mean you should under-estimate it. The screenshot feature alone – which takes snapshots of any failures – is invaluable.

Selendroid

Our last pick is a definite market leader, but only in the Android market. A UI testing tool that works with both hybrid and native applications as well as mobile web tools, its abilities to interact with multiple devices at one time are invaluable, and it also supports plugging hardware devices.

mobile app testing

If you’re interesting in working with specialists in the field of app marketing and promotion, give Iconic Solutions a call today. We’ve helped businesses across the country achieve great results, and we’d love to do the same for you.