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Performance Testing for Mobile Apps

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Testscenario Testing Team

01/07/2024
Performance Testing for Mobile Apps

Mobile application’s performance is just as critical as its functionality. Whether users are on the latest flagship device or a budget smartphone, performance testing ensures that your app delivers a seamless experience, regardless of network conditions. This article will delve into various strategies for efficient mobile app performance testing.

Importance of Performance Testing for Mobile Apps

Performance testing is one of the essential evaluative processes that scrutinise the usability, stability, and responsiveness of mobile apps under certain conditions. It helps the app developers ascertain that the app will work fine in practical environments and hence plays a direct role in user satisfaction. Apps that are not properly tested show problems such as slow response, poor handling under heavy load, and high power consumption, all summing to a higher uninstallation ratio. This can be facilitated by subjecting the application through rigorous performance testing of the set performance standards (KPIs) to, preferably, meet or exceed the set standards for the application’s overall success.

Example 1 – Ride Sharing Mobile Application

Take, for instance, a popular ride-sharing mobile application that experiences peak user activity at peak hours. Without rigorous performance testing, the app will most likely crumble under the pressure of an increased demand line and start delivering delayed bookings and intermittent crashes. This means that the customers can switch over to a rival application offering a better experience, thus making the ride-sharing company lose revenues and reputation.

Example 2 – Online Shopping Application

You are the user who is eagerly downloading a new mobile shopping app to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday. Excitedly, you launch the app, only to have it take the longest time to finally load. You fumble your way through the clunky interface, suffering from slow page transitions and an occasionally unresponsive app.

In such a case, suboptimal performances of the app are big setbacks for your use and may even chase you from making the purchase altogether. This really underlines the importance of performance testing for a mobile app to ensure the levels of speed, responsiveness, and reliability promised meet the expectations of users.

Goals and Objectives for Performance Testing for Mobile Apps

Setting clear and measurable goals at the beginning of performance testing is critical. Following are the goals defined that is used for Performance Testing in Mobile Apps

  • Define human performance goals.

This might include specific, measurable goals for app performance: the app needs to load in a certain number of seconds, and it will have to transition from various screens almost seamlessly. This sets the targets that act as the baseline against which app performance would be measured.

  • Identify Performance Bottlenecks

Those are performance bottlenecks, which can strictly spoil user experience and should be managed in order to get detected and eliminated. This may include identifying instances when the code or design of an app is stopping efficient functioning—like poor performance in database queries, or image resources that have not been scaled or optimized.

  • Optimize Resource Usage

Resource optimization in this regard would mean ensuring the app runs effectively on mobile devices. In general, it is concerned with allowing the application to optimally utilize the CPU, memory, and battery of the device, to avoid problems like overheating, performance difficulties, or fast battery usage.

Performance Testing Types

Different types of performance testing address various aspects of the app’s functionality:

  • Functional Performance Testing

An even broader access and a pretty high guarantee of user satisfaction would be for the app to work perfectly under all types of operating systems and devices..

  • Cross-platform Compatibility

Test this app’s functionality on many mobile operating systems, like iOS and Android, to confirm that this is consistent in functionality across all the platforms.

  • Cross-device Compatibility

The developer focuses on making sure the app is able to deliver a steady and consistent user experience on different devices with various screen sizes and resolutions

  • Average Load Speed and Responsiveness

This measures the user experience response time during interactive events and the time a user has to wait for an application to become usable. Very important in the retention and satisfaction of users.

  • Load Testing

Simulates human-like usage conditions to find out what is the behavior of the application in normal conditions, as well as during conditions of the greatest possible load.

  • Simulate Real User Scenarios

It involves creating tests that mimic real user behaviours and actions, representing how the app responds both in the provision of expected traffic and patterns in interaction.

  • Measure App Stability

It determines how strong the app is and whether it can be able to retain its function under heavy loading and not crash.

  • Stress Testing

Pushing the app to extreme operating conditions for threshold and recovery capabilities.

  • Push App Beyond Normal Usage

This testing involves an increase in load on the usage patterns of the app so as to understand how much stress the application can take before it breaks down.

  • Identify Memory Leaks and Crashes

Helps developers find what may be problems causing the app to crash or become unresponsive, particularly under stress.

  • Spike Testing

Test the application’s reaction to sudden spikes in user load—such as during a special event or promo.

Simulate Sudden Surges

Such tests are important for apps that are expected to experience spiky increases in user activity.

  • Assess Ability to Handle Unexpected Traffic Spikes

Makes the application still work and responsive at unexpected or uncommon loads.

  • Network Performance Testing

Evaluate your app’s performance across different network types to make sure that it consistently performs the same, irrespective of how it’s connected, for your users.

  • Evaluate Performance Across Network Conditions

Test behavior of the app in different networks like Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, and 5G.

  • Ensure Usability on Different Connection Speeds

The reason behind this is the need to maintain the quality of user experience, as the users with slow connections will experience a different set of performance problems from the users with faster connections.

Tools and Techniques for Mobile App Performance Testing

Correct application of the tools will enhance the efficiency and area of coverage in performance testing.

1. Open Source Tools

Popular open-source tools like Apache JMeter and Gatling are invaluable for simulating multiple users and network traffic to test the performance of both web-based and mobile applications

2. Commercial tools

Different commercial tools available for the testing includes LoadRunner, NeoLoad & Loadview

3. LoadRunner

LoadRunner is a widely recognized performance testing tool by Micro Focus. It simulates thousands of users concurrently using application software, recording and later analyzing system performance. Its capabilities help identify and diagnose bottlenecks in web applications, networks, and server infrastructures, making it a valuable tool for enhancing application scalability and reliability.

4. Neo Load

Neoload is a product from Neotys that an organisation can use for the purpose of application performance tests, both web and mobile-based. The tool has a leading advantage when it comes to test design, maintenance automation, and analysis, hence reducing the time taken for testing drastically. Neoload supports continuous integration in any project, be it agile or DevOps. It, therefore, easily allows the management of performance over life cycles by teams.

5. Loadview

LoadView is an online performance testing tool, providing real browser testing from a hosted platform. Aiming at the possibility to test a website, web application, or API with real browsers, it offers more realistic test scenarios in contrast to the conventional simulation. LoadView is powered by a flexible and scalable infrastructure that supports varying levels of demands.

6. Platform-specific Tools

For Android and iOS, tools like the Android Profiler and Xcode Instruments have been designed to help developers optimise performance with respect to the unique characteristics existing on either platform.

Scripting and Automation Frameworks

Purposefully to save time and improve the accuracy of the tests, automation frameworks are developed in a way that makes them avoid execution of repetitions with regard to tasks and tests.

Testing Process

The test process is detailed and comprises quite a number of steps to provide complete coverage of the application under test and its effective testing for performance.

1. Planning & Preparation

This includes the careful planning that defines what parts of the app are to be tested and the selection of tools and devices required for such testing.

2. Test Script Development

It is very important to develop scripts that would model as many possible types of user interaction as possible in order to test the application in full.

3. Test Execution

We need to conduct tests in controlled environments, where they can monitor and record performance metrics systematically.

4. Analysis and Reporting

The last step of this phase involves analyzing the collected data from the testing in view of identifying any performance issue and recommending change or improvement.

Best Practices for Mobile App Performance Testing

Best practices dictate that the following should be in place during effective performance testing.

Test Early and Often

This ensures that performance testing is initiated early in the development process and sustained at regular intervals, for problems to be caught and fixed as quickly as possible.

Focus on Realistic User Scenarios

Test environments should be almost real-world, human test environments must be nearly identical to real-world usage because they will only cover the expected user interactions.

Continuously Monitor App Performance

Continuous monitoring allows for easy identification of problems and for making corrections quickly if users are experiencing them in reality.

Don’t let your app fall behind in the competitive market—start refining your performance testing approach today for better success tomorrow. Contact us today

Mobile App Performance Testing Checklist

Mobile app performance testing is a necessary process to ascertain if an application meets the required standards of speed, stability, and scalability. Here’s a checklist to guide you through it:

  1. Define Performance Criteria: Define clear performance goals including response time, throughput, and resource utilization limits.
  2. Select Testing Tools: Use tools that can simulate real-world conditions and user interactions with your app. Tools like JMeter, LoadRunner, and Appium are popular choices.
  3. Environment Setup: Prepare a testing environment that closely mirrors the production setup, including hardware, software, and network configurations.
  4. User Simulation: Interact with the system to simulate various user actions that may represent a wide variety of usage scenarios. This includes login sessions, data input, and page transitions.
  5. Load Testing: Gradually increase the load on the application to verify its behaviour under both expected and peak load conditions.
  6. Stress Testing: Test the app under loads above normal operational capacity to see how it handles extreme stress and to find its breaking points.
  7. Monitor and Analyze: Use monitoring tools to track performance metrics and analyse the data to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
  8. Optimization and Retesting: Optimise based on the test results, and retest the optimised elements to ensure the improvements are effective.

This comprehensive approach ensures that mobile apps deliver the best possible performance, enhancing user satisfaction and supporting scalability.

Conclusion

In conclusion, performance testing plays a pivotal role in the development process of mobile apps. By implementing robust testing strategies and best practices, developers can create applications that meet the high standards expected by today’s mobile users.. That is, effective performance testing can assure successful performance, which, in turn, assures better user retention, higher satisfaction, and, eventually, survival and winning success in the cutthroat competitive mobile app market.

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