Mobile applications have become an essential part of the consumers’ lifestyle and for many, a pivot around which everything revolves. Be it communicating with family, friends, or colleagues, purchasing stuff from online stores, booking tickets or hotels, playing online games in leisure time, or watching movies or web series, there is no denying the ubiquitous mobile applications. Even when this was progressively getting evident in the last few years, the pandemic seems to have pitch forked the utilitarian benefits of mobile applications to the centre stage. For enterprises, this means more competition for their apps to get tracked let alone being adopted by the users. To understand the enormity of the challenge enterprises face, let us read some statistics:
- By 2021, roughly 7 billion mobile users are likely to emerge worldwide (Statista)
- Annual mobile app downloads were 218 billion in 2020, a 7 percent increase over 2019 (App Annie)
- 71 percent of un-installations were due to app crashes (AppSamurai)
- 70 percent of users are likely to abandon an app due to loading delays (Google)
- 65 percent of users make a negative opinion of the brand when faced with a poor mobile experience (Catchpoint)
The above-mentioned statistics show how mobile applications are driving the consumers’ interaction with the digital ecosystem and how user experience is driving the adoption of such applications. In other words, mobile application testing has become imperative to achieve the business objectives of enterprises. It is only by testing mobile applications that businesses can validate if the constant updates and facelifts provided to the apps are working at their optimum level. Let us discuss the factors to be considered when drawing a mobile application testing strategy.
Developing a mobile app and placing it in the play store do not make it market-worthy. What is needed is comprehensive mobile application QA testing to make the application secure, stable, high-performing, and usable. The key factors in consideration are:
End-to-end security testing: Since mobile applications are increasingly used to carry out financial transactions through banking interfaces, they are being targeted by cybercriminals. The threat actors target the vulnerabilities or gaps within applications to gain access to critical personal, business, and financial information. This calls for adopting a robust mobile application testing methodology comprising security scanning, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, ethical hacking, risk assessment, and security auditing.
Compatibility: The mobile app users operate a plethora of devices with different screen resolutions and memory sizes running on different operating systems, browsers, and networks. So, the users expect the mobile applications to function seamlessly across digital environments. This calls for undertaking compatibility testing to validate the app’s performance across the following systems:
- Databases such as SQL Server and Oracle, among others
- Web browsers such as Chrome, IE, Mozilla, Safari, and Firefox, among others
- Software systems such as web servers
- Operating systems such as Android, iOS, Windows and their versions
- Mobile platforms and networks
Scalability: In the event of the app becoming popular it is likely to have more number of users who may use the app more on certain days or at a specific time of the day. This calls for conducting load testing to ensure the app is capable of handling the increased user load. This can be of crucial importance on certain occasions such as festivals when the user load can peak exponentially, and if the app fails to perform at its optimum during that time or day the resultant user dissatisfaction can hit the brand quite hard.
Stable network bandwidth: According to statistics, mobile users are likely to abandon an app if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Hence, the mobile application testing approach should check the impact of network fluctuations and interruptions on the performance of the app. The behavior of the app should be tested during interruption situations such as network loss and restoration, OS upgrade, battery removal, device shut down, and plugin and plug out, among others. Further, the apps should be tested for their correct usage across locations and carrier networks.
Usability: Mobile apps should be user-friendly for every user type; baby boomers, generation X, and experienced, and possess a good look and feel. They should not have complicated workflows and functionalities but intuitive, interactive, and seamless navigation all across. It is only through usability testing that the app’s streamlined flow across functionalities can be validated.
With the increased usage of mobile applications across demography and geography, enterprises are facing challenges in reaching out to the end users and popularizing their mobile apps. It is only through mobile application testing that challenges such as ensuring effective usability, quick loading, great user interface, flawless security, and seamless performance can be addressed.