By now, the mobile boom especially Smartphones, should be obvious to all of us and it is expected to explode further. What this means is that smartphones are rapidly becoming the primary method of interaction for consumers and businesses worldwide. Mobile application platforms like Android, iOS, Blackberry etc. have now become a trendy things. The market for mobile applications is growing everyday and the demand for these applications is rising as the technology is advancing.
The explosion of consumer apps can be seen in every industry, but here are a few of the more notable ones. Depending on the industry a mobile application tester should look elements to test in industry specific mobile applications:
- Media: Magazines and newspapers going 100% digital
- Travel: Mobile bookings, check-ins, maps, deals, etc.
- Education: Tablets and apps in classrooms
- Retail: Location-intelligent mobile commerce
- Healthcare: Patient records, physician notes etc.
- Finance: Apps for real-time trading, portfolio analysis etc.
- Social: Games and social media platforms
Here Graphics is a challenge for testers as applications for Media need high definition graphics, controls and animations. Content is frequently changing hence application needs to be stable which can withstand such frequent updates and changes repeatedly. UI plays a vital role in media as it has to help visualizing concepts to demonstrate ideas, iconography etc. Testing UI as per user point of view, testing its usability is freaking many a times.
Travel apps make use of GPS, maps, check-ins hence it will be a challenge testing exact location of user, as user might be on move and looking for directions and other details about the places. Mobile application tester has to provision for all such real scenarios, which is not easy. Various details about the location would be shown like hotels, nearby places, places of attraction, modes of travel, availability of tickets, deals etc. In such situations applications might fetch data from various servers or multiple servers might be involved so testing for all such data from various servers is required. As it is a travel application, UI must be simple and important things like maps, finding directions and other related information should be handy.
App related to education may carry a large amount of data in device itself and mobile devices generally have a very limited memory. So testing for memory related issues is very important as most of the time app crashes because of memory related issues.
Retail apps make use of the built-in GPS to locate the retailer's stores based on user's current location. They have features such as single tap-to-map or call store option, display of store hours and services, serve special offers, discounts and coupons, updates on upcoming sales and store events and even purchase and payments. While testing these apps focus should be on testing of exact location identification of user, security testing for purchase and payments.
Medical apps are great for accessing medical content quickly. Beside patient treatment and improving overall efficiency, apps testing should focus on reducing overall clumsiness. Testing of streamlined data access is crucial for enabling better decision making and ready access to information on patients, providers, physicians, medical/clinical history, drug references, and diagnostic tools. The graphical representation of patient’s reports in the form of charts and graphs might require heavy UI elements so testing checklist should have a point for them. Testing schedules and appointments for medication should be done. For better understanding and testing, tester has to find out relations between various medical terms and I think it is more difficult job than testing itself.
The aim of these applications is to allow users to get stock quotes, market data, and news as fast as possible. Testing the application for real time trading, quick updates is very difficult and might require specialized skills. Moreover, testing of security breach is most important as user may perform many financial transactions on various networks. Compared to desktop or web applications, mobile applications are harder to test for security and hence often less tested.
For social networking applications, first of all applications must be attractive and simple to use. As far as possible features has to be self-explanatory. As I mentioned earlier, testing from user point of view is very important. It is too difficult as application usability differs for all different type of people and should take care of each age group. Other than this testing of large collection of social data, its management, and location data and at same time keeping them private. Mobile games are equally popular as social networking application. They should be easily accessible, easily installable and easily playable. Generally, game applications have high definition graphics and require more resources which are very limited in mobile.
All these points need to be considered while testing mobile apps. In order to meet these challenges, mobile application testing has evolved as a separate stream of testing.
In my next blog I will discuss more specifically and in depth about mobile testing challenges and guidelines for testing mobile applications.