As a business is developing a mobile application, it goes unsaid that they want a fully functional product that serves the entire customer base. Achieving that goal requires rigorous and continuous quality assurance testing to be certain the software is hitting the mark. But QA tests aren’t as simple as a pass or fail grade. How do you know exactly what you’re testing? What input metrics are you going to be measuring? How will these impact the usability and success of your app? To get a closer look at the opportunities presented by mobile app quality assurance testing, there are five key metrics to keep in mind.
Network Data Requirements
Most mobile apps have an inherent dependency on wireless internet connection. Whether it’s to perform banking transactions, check a home security system, or confirm the delivery of a package, they’re intended to be used by customers on the go. However, the connection type and speed will vary on an individual basis by the user based on their device, data connection, and more. Therefore, businesses must test how data-intensive their app is. Will it behave acceptably in areas with poor cellular coverage or in a slow Wifi environment? Testing this metric will make it more likely that every user has a good experience, every time.
Integration with On-Device Sensors
Mobile applications are much more complex than traditional point-and-click technology. Popular apps often sync with features of the device itself, like speakers and GPS, to provide greater usage to customers. For example, a banking app may allow account holders to remotely deposit checks by taking a photo and uploading it. In that case, QA testing will need input metrics that completely consider all variations of camera resolutions. Another popular sync, GPS, might allow customers to find the nearest store, but that feature requires dependence on the device’s sensors. In general, you’ll need to consider just how dependent your solution is on the device where it’s working, and check that it works well on many different devices, too.
Screen Size Variations and Orientations
Even within ubiquitous brands like Apple, there is a disparity in screen dimensions from generation to generation of device. Your application needs to provide a consistent experience for users, regardless of what the display measurements might be. This is true in both portrait and landscape modes of display. If the solution doesn’t allow for an optimal picture quality, it may prove unusable for individuals with accessibility or vision issues. If the app doesn’t load correctly on even one screen size, a high volume of customers may be unable to use the tool.
Users want to be sure of two things when engaging with a mobile application: that it works and that it’s secure. While basic quality assurance may identify some security risks, it’s also important to conduct specific testing with the most current cybercrime methods in mind. Is the app’s data stored locally? Is it encrypted? Does the app collect any legally-protected information like financials or personal data? If so, the tests should be measuring for how that information is entered, stored, processed, and eventually disposed of.
Mobile Web vs. Native App
The end result of any app is to inspire usage and make the customer’s life easier. But that level of success can depend on the origin of an app. Creating the software from the ground up is a much different process than adapting an existing desktop web app for a mobile platform. For a native mobile application, all functionality decisions exist purely in the mobile development world. However, an app that is meant to mirror the experience of an existing desktop program needs to be created with careful decisions as to what functionality can be translated and what features need to be left behind. Additionally, your team needs to consider how often updates will be made to the app. If you’re working with mobile web apps, are you prepared to thoroughly test these updates at the release speed you expect? Regression testing is often the most time-consuming part of ongoing mobile software quality assurance.
Quality assurance testing for mobile applications is a must, but fewer than 40% of businesses test their mobile apps at all. Because these products run on devices with greater limitations in more unsecure environments under nuanced conditions, the input metrics for your testing team must be thoroughly considered and thought-out. By considering issues such as data usage, on-device sensors, screen size and orientation differences, security, and the difference between mobile web and native apps, you can be sure to get the most out of your quality assurance testing. iLAB, the global leader in software quality assurance, is a great partner if you’re in need of help making a plan or executing testing in a short period of time.