Mobile applications constitute a keenly contested arena, especially when every other organization is looking to create an app. Platforms like Apple and Google shelter the largest chunk of usable apps with Windows growing ahead, steadily. Amidst millions of app choices, it is imperative for a user or the development team to bring in the best bits of knowledge— mainly towards creating a stand-out application. To be precise, Apple’s App Store gets more than 2,000 app submissions on a daily basis and for something to hold its own, it must be thoroughly designed and even tested for the best quality.
Figure 1: App Testing Flowchart
In this post, I have jotted down 11 most practical hacks which should come in handy for novices and even experienced development teams in their quest to a good or a rather great mobile application:
Modulate the Testing Strategy According to the Platform
Before initiating the process, the development team must zero in on the platform for which the app is being created. There can be three options for the same— including a web-based platform, native platform or a hybrid approach. Based on the desired platform, a testing strategy needs to be selected. For a web based application, developers need to deal with myriad browsers— including standard and even device specific ones. The important testing factors, in this case, include load testing, performance testing, responsive testing and even adaptive testing pertaining to the changing web-designing approach.
With a native application, we are bound to get massive levels of user control but the efforts involved in testing are far greater than its web-based contemporary. Any such app needs to be tested across multiple platforms— just to make sure it is cohesive with diverse operating systems and device hardware.
Assess the End-User Requirements
It takes a lot of work before an app is even displayed over Google Playstore and the next step towards the same is to be in sync with the end-user requirements. Any mobile application isn’t successful unless it is created according to the preferences of the end-user. It is, therefore, imperative that the development team deploys specific analytics for gathering end-user data. This approach helps the app with a better support policy, business decisions, refined user experience and prioritized development. It is actually important to understand how the end-user responds and even engages with the application as it comes handy for the subsequent test strategies.
Test for Functionality
Every mobile app needs to be tested primarily for functionality. Users prefer applications which can perform a specific job rather than those which are jacks of all trades. Being specific is what counts and incomplete functionality actually results in abandonment. The trick is to envision the app, well in advance and look to implement the main functions, beforehand.
Emphasize on User Experience
Even the best apps falter due to a disappointing user interface. The trick is to make the apps slick and accessible like showbox. The information needs to flow intuitively or else the developers need to rework the same. The preferred approach would be to evaluate the same for user-experience at the very beginning— upon the mock-up and prototype generation.
Prioritize Emotional Connect
The likes of ‘Pokémon Go’ reaffirmed the importance of emotional engagement within mobile applications. The modern era has thousands of applications catering similar attributes but only a few can actually survive the acid test. Even if a user downloads and installs the application, it must be used on a regular basis and shouldn’t be abandoned upon usage. The trick is to offer a hook to keep the users interested. One can even test the levels of emotional engagement with any representative group other than the development team.
Opt for Exploratory and Script-Based Testing
Figure 2: Revisiting Specific Testing Techniques
Developers must look to strike the perfect balance between exploratory and script-based testing for the mobile apps. While the former involves user-experience, special conditions and even edge case loopholes via session-based testing, the latter takes way longer to initiate as it deals with the technical aspects. The coverage time for each testing technique might be different but they need to work in unison.
Define Support Policy
Although developers look to test every single aspect of the mobile app, something or the other is often left untouched— leading to an issue in future. This might concern the device, browser or even the operating platform. The support policy, therefore, has to be defined well in advance and needs to be revisited quarterly. The trick here is to employ market research and end-user data for achieving the same— across multiple platforms and target devices. Testing should be completely user-centric.
Use Cloud Service for Expanding the Coverage
While one can use emulators for testing, nothing beats the real-time approach over devices. However, it isn’t possible to involve all possible gadgets where the app will be used.
Figure 3: Why do we Need Something More than Emulators?
This is where a cloud-based scenario or management platform comes to rescue— offering ad-hoc services over a wide range of gadgets without testing the app physically over each one of them.
Refine and Then Optimize
It is advisable to include certain specific tests for refining the applications further. Upon achieving refinement, these need to be optimized for general usage. The first approach is to opt for alpha/beta testing which is more of a staple, targeting delivery milestones. This test also reveals the preferences of the end-user and final decisions can be taken accordingly. Next stop would be Optimization testing, involving functionality, decisions and UI changes.
One can also opt for ‘Fake Door’ testing which offers insights into the prospective features which end-users are optimistic about. However, this is restricted to the early development cycle.
Incorporate Mapping for Better Traction
Every app needs to be location-specific in order to make the best use of the involved capital. This trend is evident as most apps, when opened, ask for permissions to access the user location. Developers need to use mapping technologies for incorporating this intuitive feature into the scheme of things. One way of achieving the same is with Google Maps, right over the Android platform.
Conclude With Performance Testing
A mobile app operates over a wide range of devices, spanning across diverse operating conditions. This is why some permutations are ignored while testing— resulting in performance issues over certain platforms. It is, therefore, necessary to test the application for multitasking performances, signal strengths, different carriers and cohesion with other core functions. Every scenario needs to be looked in for evading any kind of performance-based loopholes.
The bottom line: These strategies need to be followed in the given order for boosting chances of being popular over the most sought after app stores