Easy Ways to Boost Your Mobile App Testing Skills

The number of mobile applications being developed and used by all of us is increasing day-by-day. This means that as a tester there are a plethora of opportunities in the field of mobile app testing. The next big question is how you can make the most of these opportunities?

The answer is simple. Start learning mobile testing. If you already know it then go into further depth and details. Put up a plan to improve and enhance your mobile app testing skills and you will be able to make hay while the sun shines. 

Let us help you get started. Below we have charted out a plan (you can add the dates to the plan as per your choice and learning ability). We have listed out the list of skills and expertise you will need to excel in your role as a mobile app tester. So, without further ado let us get started. 

Learn about the different types of testing tools

There are several different categories of tools that are now being used for testing the mobile app. While it may not be possible to be well versed in all of them, make sure you have enough knowledge about at least one tool in each category. 

1. Simulators and Emulators: Most of the mobile app testing happens using simulators and emulators. This is needed for simulating different locations, data bandwidths, and regional differences. Some of the most common simulators available in the market include XCode simulator, AVD embedded inside android studio and Genymotion. But always remember that simulator testing can not replace real device testing and at least one round of testing should be done on real devices as well.  Familiarize with them.

2. Performance and UX testing tools: When it comes to mobile app testing the performance and the user experience (UX) of the app is as important as the functionality. Most simulator tools would provide you with an option to check logs, messages and do code analyses. There are some performance testing and analysis tools as well which can help you to identify performance bottlenecks like Dynatrace, Charles Logs, etc.

3. Network Tools: The mobile device is constantly interacting with several systems and networks in the background while your app is running in the foreground. While doing a mobile app testing it is very important to understand the calls being made and which call is taking up more time. Several tools in the market can help you with this. Some of them are Network Line Conditioner, Fiddler, Charles, SoapUI and my personal favorite and the easiest of the lot Postman. Using these tools, you can track the api calls being made each time an action is performed on the mobile app.

4. Automation Tools: Automation is the key to reduced timelines and faster time-to-market. Appium and Selenium lead the pack of automation testing. The use of automation tools makes your mobile app testing faster. With your regression suite being automated you will be able to channelize your energy on more business-critical and new feature testing. Automation also enables you to run the same set of test cases of several different devices with different sizes.

Some of the most common automation tools include Espresso, XCUITest, Calabash, Frank, Selendroid, Robotium, etc.

Practice the different types of testing and analysis

1. Manual Testing: Manual testing is still important and relevant. Learn the setup and other things needed for doing the manual testing of a mobile app. Test the app as an end-user would do. No special tools are needed for manual testing, but a good defect tracking tool is recommended to track the issues professionally.

2. Exploratory Testing: Another important aspect is exploratory testing. This involves just navigating through each screen in the application randomly to make sure nothing is broken. It also ensures all the screens are coming up as expected, it validates the back and forth navigation on the mobile app as well as the back and forth navigations to any external link from the mobile app.

3. Beta Testing: Beta testing allows you to test build installation as you would from an app store or play store once the mobile app is pushed to production. Is the build pushed correctly, are there any issues in installing the build from the store, are there any size limitations, is data an issue when installing an app and so many more such scenarios? TestFlight is one of the most commonly used apps for this purpose. Other tools include HockeyApp, AppCenter, UberTesters, etc.

4. Application Analysis: Analyzing the app is as important as testing. This will be your USP as a mobile app tester. While it will take some time for you in the system to master the skill of analysis, you should always have it in your mind. Know what happens where the app crashes, generate crash reports, find out the api which errored out. Don’t panic there are several tools to help you with this data. They include AppSee, CrashLytics, FireBase, Dynatrace, etc.

Tips and Tricks

While we are at it, let me give you some tips and tricks to help you shine in your role as a mobile app tester. This list is based on the most commonly made or ignored mistakes by the app developers. 

1. Device orientation: Always check the application and button orientation in both portrait and landscape mode.

2. Change the Location: This is needed while you are testing something related to map or any search based on the area like a dealer or location search. In such cases make sure you switch location and then verify the search results with the actual results from another authentic source.

3. Responsive Testing: Testing the application on different devices of different makes, sizes, and OS is important. There are many tools available in the market to do responsive testing.

4. Wi-fi and Data usage: If your mobile app involves usage of the internet, which in most cases it will. Make sure to perform the tests in wi-fi and data mode. In the data mode also try to set up the data from 2G, 3G, and 4G to check.

5. Screen Switching: Another important yet ignored aspect is screen switching. What happens to your app if you switch to another app and come back to it? Cache and cache retention time is an important criterion here. Some apps may be logged out after a fixed time, while others may be reset to the home screen or even stay on the same page. Get more clarity on the requirements before proceeding to test this scenario.

6. Low Battery & Low Space: Remember to check what happens to the app when the battery is critically low or when it is running in power save mode. Also, remember to check for the available disk space requirements for your app. Check what happens when the disk space is low too.

These pointers should be enough to get you started with mobile app testing. Hope this was helpful.

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