Key Drivers, Challenges and Opportunities Facing Mobile App Testing

Key Drivers, Challenges and Opportunities Facing Mobile App Testing

Mobile has transformed the way we consume and share information. Increasing affordability due to falling hardware prices, and the plethora of software applications that are out there in the market across mobile operating systems has made mobile computing more and more widespread for personal and business use.

With the entrance of a wide range of smartphones in the market, the mobile app ecosystem is continuing to grow and dominate the web. Mobile apps have altered the way in which people interact, and this has led to the rapid growth of mobile application development.

How far a mobile application helps users drive more engagement and enjoy better experiences depends on the quality of the application. The method that application development organizations use to verify and validate their software across key parameters such as stability, performance, robustness, usability and so forth is called mobile application testing.

What’s driving the growth of the mobile ecosystem

There are millions of apps out there in the market as of today. There are both paid and free apps, and there’s certainly more than one everything — communication, gaming, banking, shopping, learning, entertainment, productivity, fitness and pretty much anything you can think of.

There are three types of mobile applications:

Native: Native apps are built specifically for use on a particular platform and device such as a smartphone or tablet. Native apps are coded in programming languages specific to the mobile operating system they are built for — such as Objective C for iOS and Java for Android mobile OS. These apps are installed by users through an application store  — such as Google Play (Google’s app store) for Android or Safari (Apple’s app store)for iOS.

Mobile Web: Web apps are not real apps but rather websites that essentially look and feel like native mobile applications. Mobile web apps are typically written in HTML5. The apps are stored on a remote server and delivered through a browser, within the mobile device, over the internet.

Hybrid: Hybrid apps are web applications or web pages that run in the native mobile browser — such as UIWebView in iOS and WebView in Android. Hybrid apps are programmed using web technologies (HTML5, CSS and JavaScript) and run on the mobile device just like native apps; except they run inside a native container and  use an embedded browser to improve access to dynamic online content.

From the business’ perspective, it brings new opportunities for marketers to engage with buyers and deliver more personalized and experiences much faster. But in order to successfully engage with their audiences via the mobile ecosystem, businesses also need to make sure that the applications they deliver are reliable, rich, interactive and user friendly.

Challenges in mobile app testing

Mobile app testing is complex, time and cost intensive. Yet, companies cannot afford to neglect any defects that may affect their end users’ experiences. No matter how good, useful and creative an app is, if it crashes, end users will not appreciate it. As such, businesses strive to ensure their applications deliver experiences that are rich and interactive — every time.

With growing device diversity across smartphones and tablets, constantly changing operating systems versions across Android, iOS and Windows mobile, and over 400 mobile network operators  globally, testing mobile apps is not straightforward.

From a technical standpoint, there are factors such as:

  • Test coverage versus device types
  • Testing on real devices versus testing on device emulators
  • Testing real networks versus testing on emulated devices on the local network
  • Testing using manual or automated scripts
  • The cost and effectiveness of one approach over the other and so forth

From a business perspective, critical aspects such as speed to market and ROI factors have a major impact on QA investment decisions.

Opportunities the ‘right mobile testing strategy’ can present

While mobility presents many challenges, it also opens up new avenues for growth, offers new ways of interaction, and creates potentially new revenue streams for businesses. By designing the right mobile applications testing strategies, companies can fully leverage the mobile application ecosystem and tap new opportunities that arise from mobility. By doing that, companies can ensure that their mobile QA strategies result in higher quality mobile apps, which can ultimately optimize business performance and deliver more profitable outcomes.

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