Mobile Application Testing – 8 Key Challenges and Considerations

24 / Apr / 2017 by Nidhi Choudhary 1 comments

Mobile phones have become smarter than they were a decade back. They are your personal assistants enabling you to quickly perform a variety of activities from the comfort of your home or office. With multiple mobile products being launched frequently, right from booking a movie ticket to transferring the money from your bank account, things are a lot easier now than they were a few years back.

Companies want to ride the mobile bandwagon quickly as smartphone penetration is rising and impacting multiple sectors at once. According to a research by PEW, roughly three-quarters of Americans (77%) now own a smartphone. Here’s more food for thought:

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Clearly, the adoption of smart devices is increasing and adding new revenue streams for the global players. However, developing well-tested and bug-free mobile products is challenging because of the diversity involved in testing. While some companies are outsourcing their testing requirements to other companies specialized in mobility testing services, some others prefer testing products in-house.

Outlined below are some of the most complex mobile application testing challenges:

1. Screen sizes: With an advancement in technology, plethora of new devices are launched in the market – all varying in their screen sizes. It is extremely challenging to consider multiple screen sizes and test the product across different sizes.For example, iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches in size whereas the iPhone 6 Plus includes a 5.5-inch.

2. Display: Nowadays mobile phones are coming with colored displays however there are devices that have a white display and they are needed to be considered as well.

3. Operation system: There are numerous operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry OS, Symbian, Maemo, MeeGo, and Bada. With multiple operating systems and various versions of each OS, it becomes difficult for testers to test the application and rule out bugs. Remember, it could work fine on one version but might not work uniformly on some other version of the same OS.

4. Device Memory: With new devices getting launched at a rapid pace, the problem of device memory is resolving eventually. However, not all devices have larger memory slots and a low device memory can surely impact the app’s performance. While engineering products, do not fret out on using memory when needed thinking about user experience, but at the same time ensure that you don’t load a whole lot more than what you actually require.

5. Network Challenges and Response Time:  In order to work accurately, most mobile applications require excellent network connectivity. While testing mobile applications, it is, therefore, imperative to test network impact on application response time. However, most development teams do not have an access to multiple networks for testing application’s response time. Moreover, there are nearly 400 mobile network operators present globally using different network infrastructure and this limits the flow of information. When a customer is traveling, he moves from one network coverage to other leading to a drop or change in the connectivity. This factor will have a direct impact on mobile application’s performance and behavior.

6. Complexity in application’s architecture – Applications are built using a variety of frameworks and architectures. The behavior of a native application might vary against a hybrid application. Test planning and coverage of different applications require a different thought process. This is quite challenging for most testing teams as they need to consider various questions such as:

  • What are the risks if the foundational parts of the architecture go wrong?
  • What are your key assumptions, and how will you test them?
  • How would the bugs resolve? Would there be a need to refactor the design?

7. Regression Testing: Applications keep on enhancing with new features and functionalities. They also change on account of patches, configuration changes and so on. Testers find it difficult to practice regression testing and verify the previously tested application after the enhancements in the application. Some companies have started using automation testing tools to run test scripts after every build, but still, most developers who are not equipped with automation find it challenging to go through various releases and detect bugs.

8. Test Coverage: Test coverage is typically measured by mapping the requirements to the test cases, the status of the test case, and code coverage analysis. However, test coverage only covers the code which is written so far and it does not factor in the upcoming releases or planned builds. That said; one of the challenges that most teams face is of inadequate test coverage. This is mainly because either there are very few test cases written for each user story or there is an unexpected change in the code. At times, testing team and development team doesn’t work parallelly which further delays the testing of one particular feature after it is pushed to QA team.

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Customers have been evolving digitally and most of them consume information on-the-move. It is, therefore, mission critical to provide a break free mobile experience and develop mobile products that are error-free. However, on the other side, QA teams are struggling to mitigate the challenges involved in testing mobile applications. Penetration of new devices, multiple networks, operating systems, resolutions, and browsers are all adding fuel to the fire. It is now critical for testing teams to resort to a right automation testing tool and enhance the performance of applications as well as improve time to market.




comments (1 “Mobile Application Testing – 8 Key Challenges and Considerations”)

  1. Michael Wade

    Hi, you are absolutely right that the adoption of smart devices is increasing and adding new revenue streams. The interesting factor is that it is happening across diverse economies, including the emerging economies. The challenges in Mobile app testing are all-pervasive. On similar lines, your readers might also like to check out this post by us on ‘Top 10 Mobile Testing Problems and How to Avoid Them’.


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