The Challenges of Mobile Testing
Mobile testing is all about delivering the same quality to mobile user as we would give to any desktop user or online visitor. You may face some challenges when it comes to mobile testing, but in the long run it’s worth the effort.
Future on the screens
Let me paint you a picture why you should be thinking about mobile testing. According to report by CISCO:
- There are 7 billion mobile devices on Earth already.
- It is projected that by the end of 2014 there will be more mobile devices than people on the planet.
- Global mobile traffic grew 81% in 2013.
- Traffic from tablets will be counted for more than 15% of all mobile traffic by 2016.
- Smartphone traffic is projected to hit over 66% of all mobile traffic by 2018.
What can we learn from these numbers and predictions? Essentially it’s one thing: mobile is and will continue to grow faster than we imagine.
99 problems and mobile testing is one
Remote usability testing for websites and web-based apps is well researched. Since mobile is growing so rapidly, we’re only starting to think seriously about mobile testing. Of course, any business that is essentially based on offering a mobile app or mobile device will have it covered but what about the rest of us? Why mobile testing is a challenge?
Too many options
- Variety of devices to consider, from standard non-smartphones to new smartphone devices with different types of screens, keyboards and other technical differences.
- Too many operating systems: iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian etc.
- Too many versions of single operating system and not supporting all of them.
In other words, to test apps and websites on each tablet, smartphone and phone available on the market would probably take a small army to make it happen. That’s why mobile testing is challenging: due to the diversity there simply is no possibility to have all the bases covered, so the answer is to resort to the most popular devices, screen sizes and operating systems.
No easy access to testing tools
There are two things to consider when it comes to mobile testing. One, how to test website access on mobile and two, how to test mobile apps. How to deal with it?
- Get the most popular devices and test it physically.
- Run your test on emulators.
- Use cloud based services to test apps in web browser.
- Use automated testing scripts and tools.
The most challenging part about mobile testing tools is the fact that unlike most of web testing solutions, mobile ones are not easy enough for the novice to figure it out in a heartbeat. Especially the emulators and automated testing scripts. You will need a skilled QA Tester who knows „what’s what” to use these.
Overcome the challenge
If you feel like the entire mobile testing process with automated scripts and emulators is not your strong suit, there is always an option of hiring professional company to do the testing for you.
You can also use products like UserTesting to create short tasks and gather users’ feedback in a form of video and detailed reports. Using such a tool gives you the option to control the testing process, ask specific questions and set goals to check your initial theories about your product.
But, if you want to go deeper than that and see how real users interact with your mobile app, then using services like AppSee is a must. Using such a tool gives you a chance to run unmoderated mobile testing to get a specific, real-life data that may surprise you.
Do you have many experience with mobile testing? What do you think are the biggest challenges in the field? We’d love to know your thoughts, feel free to share it in the comments.