The Everest-Like Challenge of Testing Mobile Apps

/ 19th September, 2013 / Best Practices

With the diverse mobile landscape being what it is, with the ever-increasing number of platforms, testing is not just a nice to have, it is crucial to your apps’ success. Without it, your app might just get kicked off the iTunes App Store or Google Play. Or both. As quickly as it was accepted.

Mobile testing is an entirely different animal. For example, a tester who is used to testing a web application might eventually become a great mobile tester by applying an identical analytical approach that he or she used in web testing. However, their job will still be cut out for them, as it is more than likely to prove more challenging with the testing of mobile applications.

To further drive home the point of how much more challenging app testing is, say you have a team of testers who test web applications, the testers need to test using the various browsers out there. This is no easy feat. A major part of the complexity of testing mobile applications comes from the multitude of platforms, each with their own slew of devices and diversity of OS versions.

This leaves you with having to strategize and test only a few physical devices. It is not feasible to go test your app on every device out there. With that being said, mobile app developers who venture into the beta testing phase need to be aware that successful testing on one device is almost never an assurance that it will work on any other device. This is irrespective of whether it is of the same make, identical OS version or even using the same platform. When you don’t test on a physical device, the risk of potential failure on that device is high, especially when the audience targeted for that app is very widespread, as for a gaming app.

Demands of Testing

  • Mobile environment: The environment is extremely dynamic and has limitations such as resource constraints, memory and battery life. How an app behaves depends on these factors and others such as any applications that may be concurrently running in the background and the constant switching of one network to another. Memory chips, GPS, Accelerometers, camera and other technologies that are present are also factors. A well-built app should fluidly integrate with these technologies.
  • Sending new build versions to testers can be complicated and not secure: With so many different builds for different platforms, devices and OS versions, you want the QA Project Manager to stay in control over which builds are being sent to which testers, ensuring only the latest builds are being tested and on the right devices.
  • Testers need to be able to test the most current build on the actual device and send back detailed bug reports including screen shots and case study history from the actual device on the fly, not only from a computer.
  • Time to market has been shortened, so the development life-cycle and complete testing needs to be performed in a thorough and accelerated fashion. If you don’t get to the store fast with your app someone else will with a similar one.
  • OS Versions: As we mentioned, the different versions of operating systems pose a huge challenge even on the same platform. So, if you test an app on Android, Windows, and iPhone for example you might feel your job is done. Well, nothing can be further from the truth. Don’t lose sight of the various OS versions that are floating around in the marketplace. Not all apps may behave the same way using iOS7 as they do on iOS6. There are also different versions of Android’s Jellybean OS floating around, many on different devices.

Mobile Testing Solutions

In addition to all the challenges outlined above, there is also a lack of true mobile testing services. Think about all the elements of the testing process. You need to distribute your builds on a massive scale to testers on all the different platforms, devices and operating systems. You require a tool that handles bug submissions in a real-time fashion. You need a way to manage, control and monitor the entire process. There are plenty of “crash reporters” on the market, but this is not enough. Anyone who is in the business of developing mobile apps needs to have a tool which takes into account all the players in the testing process, from the testers and developers, all the way up to the QA project manager. Having a comprehensive tool that takes these QA necessities into account will empower you to reap the rewards of launching the ultimate, bug-free app, one that will never get booted from any app store. Visit us at and take control of your testing destiny.

Happy testing…

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