A Beginner's Guide to Mobile Application Testing
Mobile phone use is predicted to top 5.5 billion devices by 2021. For us as testers, that should look like a giant market—with tons of potential bugs. Mobile is a great area to focus on for testers who are looking to expand their skills.
So, what do you need to know before you can start testing mobile applications?
First things first: You should already have good testing skills. A mobile tester should not only be an experienced user of various devices, but also a competent strategist, an excellent critic, and a phenomenal engineer. If you feel that you have these skills, then we move on.
The next mandatory area is awareness. The most common mobile platforms are iOS and Android. The mobile tester must masterfully manage each of them, know how to navigate the system, have an idea of the guides that Apple and Google provide, and be aware of all the new features that software manufacturers implement each year.
You also need to know the typical ways to find a bug in a mobile app. For example, you should try disconnecting the Internet connection, changing the application from portrait mode to landscape, minimizing applications, and more.
It’s also important to keep in mind that in the world of Android, there are many different device manufacturers, so each of them can add unique features to the mobile operating system. Consequently, these features can cause bugs for millions of users.
Last, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with mobile testing tools for a variety of purposes. These tools can be divided into several categories:
Shipment: In order to get all the necessary versions of an application to test across your devices, you can use such services as HockeyApp, Appaloosa, AppBlade, TestFairy, or TestFlight. Of course, you can also use cloud-based file stores, such as Google Drive, but you'll have to work harder to manage them.
Information: Mobile testers must follow the guidelines from Apple and Google, as they specify some must-have functions for each specific app as well as any legal documents to comply with. Violation of these rules will cause prohibition of publication in the AppStore and Play Market, so you need to know what’s standard and allowed.
Simulation: If you needed to check an application on a rarer device you do not have, you can use simulation and emulation tools. Apple Simulator works for iOS, and Android Virtual Device and Genymotion can help for Android devices. It's important to note that simulators and emulators do not guarantee 100 percent success, so use them only as an additional tool.
Becoming familiar with all these tools and techniques can help you get a good start in the expanding arena of mobile application testing. Stay focused, don’t be afraid of learning new things, and always test creatively.