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Challenges in mobile testing and how to solve them

Author:

Guest Contributors

Date: Jan. 05, 2024

Mobile applications have evolved dramatically over the last decade, and they shape our everyday lives. Due to their extensive use, mobile testing has become an indispensable part of the development process.

A well-tested mobile app should live up to its expectations when it comes to quality, performance, and user experience. However, with an ever-expanding range of devices, operating systems, and modern features, a host of challenges have been introduced to the mobile testing landscape.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of these challenges in mobile testing and provide actionable strategies to overcome these hurdles.

Device fragmentation

Many devices exist in both national and international markets, and it’s challenging for developers to ensure consistent app performance across all these devices. The wide range of hardware, screen sizes, resolutions, software, and more is a problem known as device fragmentation.

Problem

It’s important to understand exactly how a wide range of devices can be problematic when it’s time for developers to test their applications. Applications often work differently on different devices as functionalities depend largely on the platform, software, and operating systems. Since it’s practically impossible to test an application on every single device, your application may offer different and even unexpected experiences on untested devices.

Solution

In order to make sure device fragmentation doesn’t impact mobile testing, you should employ a robust mobile device lab. This should include a broad range of devices that have different operating systems, software, etc. First, prioritize testing on the most popular and relevant devices among your user base. You can easily get this data through the analytics tool your application uses.

In order to make sure device fragmentation doesn’t impact mobile testing, you should employ a robust mobile device lab.

You can also leverage cloud-based testing services such as Tosca Mobile, which provide a range of virtual devices you can use to test your applications without needing a physical version of that device.

Variety of screen sizes and resolutions

Varying screen sizes and resolutions have always been a nightmare for mobile developers. It’s challenging to design and test apps to ensure consistent user experiences across different displays.

Problem

Let’s say you build an app that looks and functions exactly the way you’d expect on the latest iPhone. However, once you start testing it on iPads and devices such as a Galaxy Fold, you start noticing issues with your layout and usability.

Solution

While developing mobile apps, always follow responsive design principles. Responsive design principles are a set of rules that ensure that no matter the screen size or result, your application looks and appears the same. Your layout won’t break on smaller or larger devices. In fact, it adjusts automatically based on the screen dimensions and resolutions.

You can utilize automated testing frameworks like Appium and Espresso that can verify the app’s layout and functionalities across different screen sizes, helping you identify and rectify issues early in the development process. You can also use a no-code automation testing platform like Tricentis Testim Mobile to speed up your automation testing.

Security

Many mobile applications need to handle sensitive user data like login credentials and credit card information. Security is crucial, so you need to thoroughly test and ensure that no potential vulnerabilities are left in place.

Problem

If your application’s security is breached, it can lead to a loss of user’s trust and even legal ramifications. It could also severely damage the reputation of your app and your company. Stores such as Google Play and the Apple Store might even ban your app if a security vulnerability is found.

Solution

Before you can fix security vulnerabilities, you need to identify them. Conducting frequent security audits can help you uncover these vulnerabilities. Further, you can write code in a more secure manner by following some security-related best practices. For instance, if you have input fields, make sure they’re validated on the front end. If you send sensitive data to servers or third-party services, make sure they’re encrypted and are only sent through secure communication channels.

Security can be tricky, but staying up to date with the latest security trends and subscribing to vulnerability databases can help you address emerging threats promptly.

Localization and internationalization testing

Your app will most likely be used in various parts of the world. This means your users will have they’ll have cultural and regional preferences and will want to use it seamlessly across different languages and time zones. You’d need to tweak the content, data, language, and timestamps with respect to the local preferences in every region.

Problem

With respect to localization and internationalization, your app could face language-specific issues, text truncation, and layout problems that can arise when the app is used in different locales.

Solution

Conduct thorough testing with localized content, considering variations in text length, direction, and cultural nuances. Test date, time, and number formats to ensure consistency across regions.

User Experience (UX) testing

User experience is one of the deciding factors when it comes to your application’s success. A good UX leads to more satisfied users and the potential for converting these users into customers. It also creates a good brand image for your app. Clearly, you need to ensure that you’re delivering a consistent, smooth, and intuitive UX across various devices.

User experience is one of the deciding factors when it comes to your application’s success.

Problem

A poor UX can lead to drop-offs and uninstalls. If your UX is not intuitive, it can confuse users and lead to negative ratings. Therefore, it’s imperative to incorporate UX testing so you can spot problems early on, fix them, and provide a smooth and intuitive experience for your users.

Solution

There are different kinds of UX tests you can employ. The most promising is usability testing. Conduct thorough usability testing of different features of your applications and analyze the user feedback. This can help you identify the pain points and areas that need improvement.

Network connectivity and performance

With the rise of low-latency and high-speed networks, your users will be using devices in diverse network conditions. While one of your users could be using 4G, someone else could be using 3G, and yet another person could be using a high-latency and slow public Wi-Fi. Testing an app’s performance under these various scenarios is crucial.

Problem

Network connectivity can directly impact the user experience. It can lead to slower responses and screen-loading times, timeouts, and even disrupted functionality. This might frustrate your users and could even turn them off your application entirely.

Solution

Test your applications under different network conditions. This will help you identify potential bottlenecks and optimize the app’s performance accordingly. You should implement caching and offline capabilities to enhance the user experience during periods of limited or no connectivity. Further, use network simulation tools to replicate real-world network conditions during testing.

Battery consumption

The more complex your application, the more likely it will drain device batteries quickly. This can be frustrating for your user and may even lead them to abandon your app for good. Hence, it’s important to test and optimize your app’s battery consumption.

Problem

If your application consumes excessive battery, it can directly lead to uninstalls.

Solution

First, you need to test and identify your application’s power-intensive components. These are mostly background processes, expensive API calls, and data processing tasks. Optimize your code to use the device’s battery efficiently. Minimize the use of libraries and native APIs that you don’t need. Finally, regularly monitor battery performance during testing phases and strive for continuous improvement.

Conclusion

An effective mobile testing strategy enables you to create high-quality, high performing applications that your users love. Next time you ship a feature or an application, make sure you’ve tested it thoroughly on various devices, screen sizes, operating system versions, and networks so you can optimize your app and provide an intuitive, secure, and smooth experience for your users.

This post was written by Siddhant Varma. Siddhant is a full stack JavaScript developer with expertise in frontend engineering. He’s worked with scaling multiple startups in India and has experience building products in the Ed-Tech and healthcare industries. Siddhant has a passion for teaching and a knack for writing. He’s also taught programming to many graduates, helping them become better future developers.

Author:

Guest Contributors

Date: Jan. 05, 2024