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Challenges in Mobile Application Testing

Akshay Topre Apr 25, 2013

Mobility Testing mobile application development Mobile Development mobile application testing Technology mobile app testing

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the market for mobile applications is growing every day and the demand for mobile applications is rising as the technology is advancing. It’s been clear from current market conditions that mobile devices are among the current market leaders. Some experts are considering them to take over the PCs and desktops in near future. But as with any emerging technology, developing and implementing mobile applications can pose a number of unique challenges, so is the testing of mobile applications.

Here are some of the challenges experienced while testing Mobile Applications –

Variety of the Devices is available in market. That means we have devices with various screen resolutions, various screen sizes etc. And I can say number of devices available is directly proportional to efforts needs to be taken for test cycle i.e. the more the devices, more is the test cycles need to be performed on various devices and which increases cost. Using emulators is out of scope because it time consuming and it’s always better to test application in actual environment i.e. on actual devices with limited resources. For e.g. testing of location based applications on emulators is a very tedious job.

In this case, we generally target screen resolutions and screen sizes which can cover most of the devices. Sometimes it also depends on the devices used by targeted audience.

Different OS versions, like various screen sizes and screen resolutions this is also one of the major challenges faced in mobile app testing. It is observed that though a new OS version is launched in market, still there are customers who use its older versions hence test cycles with different mobile OS versions need to be carried out to support to maximum mobile app customers.

Here, testing application on different OS versions and device hardware combinations is necessary to launch a robust and compatible application. It includes testing Application to ensure that it should be backward as well as forward compatible. That’s why it’s one of the major challenges to test mobile application on different OS versions.

Frequent changes, Mobile apps continuously evolve based on reviews & feedbacks for delivering richer user experience or enhance functionalities causing frequent changes in application. These frequent changes are actually a nightmare in mobile application development for both developers and testers. Numbers of applications are launched into the market daily with new features and designs and to cope up with them more changes are proposed. And hence there is lot of rework for developers and testers.

It needs a better understanding and communication with client to resolve such critical phase in middle of application development where one has to face frequent changes. We have to decide and freeze the scope of new change requests and a border line to limit these unexpected changes mutually agreeing with client.

Automation is still a big question for mobile application testing. The reason mainly, as mentioned above, frequent changes in application causing frequent changes in test scripts.

Because of the multiple platform possibilities, the potential of retesting and regression testing is huge. For longer duration projects we can leverage automation. Smoke testing or regression testing can be automated up to a certain limit.

Meeting tight deadlines, mobile application delivery is pushing traditional delivery approaches to the breaking point. Teams are being asked to produce value in weeks instead of months or years. Test environments are expensive, difficult and time consuming to configure. In such a short span it’s very difficult and time consuming to isolate defect root cause. Agile methodologies need fast iterations but testing delays are becoming a bottleneck.

It’s sometimes not possible to buy more time for testing or bug fixing activities but a smart solution for this, that we follow is to report the issues while testing the application and getting them fixed parallel, side by side to testing from development team. It saves time remarkably and hence productivity increases. While developing mobile applications developer and tester need to work very closely to meet such tight deadline.

These are the major factors which affects mobile app testing. Careful selection of target devices, connectivity and tools can ensure a cost effective mobile testing process. Also, combining the solutions to mobile specific aspects of application testing with traditional best practices and testing processes can effectively address the challenges of mobile application testing.

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