A Complete, Step-by-Step Guide to Mobile App Testing

Scarlett Brown
Scarlett Brown, Technical content writer at A3Logics
Published on Dec 01, 2020 in App Development

You must be surprised to know that over 115 billion apps have been downloaded worldwide in 2019. However, the app retention rate was just 32 percent which is quite surprising. Mobile app companies have struggled to retain and engage users because of poor app design. It’s getting difficult for companies to make users return to their app after installing it.

Delivering a consistent, high-quality app experience is becoming critical today to delight your target users. You must understand that every element, page, and feature on your mobile app contributes to the delivery of a delightful in-app experience, as well as, move down a user to the conversion funnel. To make this happen, you need to harness the power of experimentation, and here‘s where mobile app testing steps in.

By working with a managed QA and testing services company, you can present beta users with multiple variations of an in-app experience to figure out what induces users to take desired actions that elevate the overall app engagement levels. A managed QA services provider can also help you identify what works and what doesn’t in your app, and accordingly optimize it to improve your app metrics. But, working with a testing expert alone is not enough, get clarity over the entire mobile app testing process. Before going into detail about the mobile app testing process, let’s first discuss:

What is Mobile App Testing?

Mobile app testing simply is the process of testing an application software designed for mobile devices to figure out usability, functionality, and consistency errors. It is also a form of A/B testing where different variations of an application are presented to beta users to figure out what app elements work best for them and incite positive action.

This helps you systemically optimize your app elements and improve desired app metrics to boost overall business growth. Mobile app testing is also performed on the server-side to make it more robust. This also lets you experiment and perform more sophisticated tests.

Why Use Mobile App Testing?

At its core, mobile app testing is all about optimizing your business apps to deliver insightful in-app experiences. It helps you identify the user pain points during their mobile app journey and finding what blocks them from taking the desired action. This is why investing in mobile app testing and making it an essential part of your development lifecycle is crucial. Below are a few more reasons why you should test your mobile app:

Elevate App User Experience and Improve Core Metrics

Proper app testing lets you deliver enjoyable user experiences and improve key metrics like retention rate, drop-offs, active users, and so on. When you thoroughly test an app, it lets you make data-driven decisions while moving ahead in your mobile app development journey. Be it a little change in the front-end button or a complete overhaul in your app database - testing lets you make sure your app experience doesn’t get distorted.

Deliver Personalized Experiences

Delivering a personalized app experience is crucial to improve your app engagement and user retention. In today’s digital world, you don’t want customers to feel disconnected from your brand. With app testing, you get the option to test multiple alternations of app pages by checking the user response based on their past purchases/interactions with your brand. For example, an ecommerce app repetitively showcases the home decor product recommendations to a user who recently purchased a product from the same category. This is just to make sure that the user is getting the right recommendations every time he/she enters the app.

Optimize App Features

Besides standard UI testing, app testing allows you to go an extra mile to test all your critical app features and validates your product idea, Needless to say, you want to test multiple variations of a specific feature or even multiple features before the app release just to make sure it contributes to improving your app performance. You might even want to test a specific functionality with different user segments to know its stickiness with different age users. Hence, testing enables product managers to test each functionality in production for guarantying app future success.

Minimize Failure Risk

Experimenting with app features before rolling them out is best to figure out what users like and what improvements you need to make before the launch. This helps you minimize the risk of failure of a critical app feature post its release. A technique called Feature Flagging lets you achieve that where you can universally control a system behavior by switching on/off a particular feature for a particular user segment to get diverse feedback. For example, an ecommerce app can launch the option of “save products for later” for a particular user segment and make it universal later on based on the positive/negative feedback received at the beta stage

What Features To Check Out During Testing?

There are certain features that you should definitely check in mobile before its release because they can make or break the overall user experience. Testing app features like messaging, layout, and push notifications are critical to delivering a hassle-free app experience to users. The following features create a positive/negative impression in minds of end-users about your brand. So don’t forget to test them during the mobile app testing lifecycle:

- Messaging
- Layout
- User Flow
- On-boarding
- Push Notifications
- Checkout Experience
- App Functionality

How to Test A Mobile Application Properly?

1. Define Test Coverage

The very step is testing is to determine the specific features and functionality that you will test in your app. Create a test strategy with the proper documentation to keep your QA team organized.

In your testing strategy, clearly define the types of testing you need to perform along with what features would be tested. Similarly, your testing scope will include a mix of functionality and usability tests. The most common functional tests are the signup and log-in experience. Besides the functional testing needs, you also need to analyze other aspects while setting your scope:

- Does the app interact with third-party apps to execute specific features?
- Is the app native, mobile-web, or hybrid?
- Does the app testing include front-end, back-end, or both?
- Is the app compatible with multiple networks?

Subsequently, you also need to analyze whether your app is targeting a global audience. If yes, you need to think of what kind of localization tests you need to perform. Typical localization testing requires you to partner with a global software testing company that has a presence in locations where your app is targeted. Also, you need to decide how many target devices you want your application to run. On average, leading QA companies test their app over 24 device-OS combinations.

2. Plan App Testing

Once you define with testing scope, the next obvious step is how you will test. You need to break down the testing strategy into a plan of action detailing who will execute your tests along with the timeline. Here you need to write test cases or test scripts for different test scenarios. You also need to make decisions like:

- Manual vs. Automated Testing:
Modern QA teams integrate both manual and automated testing to optimize overall testing efficiency. Automated testing is generally useful as it keeps you away from repetitive tasks. The drawback is that you need to continually write and update test scripts to verify your app’s standard functionality. Also, it’s not effective in complex test scenarios or when you need “in-the-wild” testing. That’s why most companies stick to manual testing or a mix of both approaches.
- Begin Writing Test Cases
Depending upon your chosen testing method, you need to first write test cases manually to turn them into automation scripts later on. Obviously, you can also take the assistance of an expert QA company to execute this task faster.
- Identify Your Testing Partner/Approach
If you have limited testing needs, you can execute test cases in-house with the assistance of your own QA engineers and testing tools like Selenium. But it has certain drawbacks. First, if your core specialization is something else, scaling this would be difficult. The absence of a testing lab environment can also hamper your ability. Hence, prefer leveraging the expertise of an outsource testing team to scale up your testing efforts.

3. Execute Test Cases

Now that you’re done with writing test cases and scripts, the next obvious step is to execute those test cases based on test scope and coverage and release cadence, which often varies in every company. DevOps team today generally uses the continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) approach during app testing.

4. Track and Resolve Defects

After the test scripts are run on different platforms, you need to trace and resolve app defects - which are also the first priority of any QA team. Project management tools like JIRA can be used to detect, log, and report application errors. Errors are reported based on priorities like:

- Low: App functionality has no major impact (e.g. misspelling in the App UI)
- Medium: Functionality is not working as intended.
- High: Critical functionality is stopped, but other features are available to run around.
- Blocker: App is blocked and the user has nothing to work upon.

Prioritizing app defects are crucial to improve your overall testing process. Fixing low priority bugs earlier than critical ones can result in app crashing which you don’t want. Make better strategic choices about your quality assurance partners to keep everything running smoothly.

5. Review

Last but not least don’t forget to review your entire process after every test teration. You should create a test summary report while documenting every little detail like:

- What devices and OS versions are tested?
- Major defects tracked
- Number of pass/fail test cases

Mobile App Testing Best Practices

Here are a few tips you should consider to get success in mobile app testing:

- Get familiar with the app you’re testing. Explore it in and out.
- Take into consideration the hardware and OS on which the app will run.
- Benchmark KPIs and core metrics for improvement
- Prefer testing your app on real devices
- Use emulators and simulators when needed
- Never ignore performance testing
- Beta testing is an added advantage always.
- Plan out your testing activities properly.
- Test frequently and iteratively
- Ensure maximum test coverage

Summary

Hope you have gathered comprehensive knowledge about mobile app testing via this detailed guide. Remember, testing mobile apps in an agile environment can be challenging. You should always strategize, plan, and execute the above-given steps to master your app testing journey. Give preference to certain app aspects like usability, security, and accessibility while performing testing. These factors can’t be examined simply by an automated test tool or advanced algorithms. Human judgment is irreplaceable when it comes to finding bugs in software applications. So, back your logical and instinctive capabilities during testing for getting the best results.

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About the author
Scarlett BrownTechnical content writer at A3Logics

Scarlett is a technical content writer and is associated with A3logics for over a couple of years. The organization is one of the top-ranked enterprise app development companies around the world. She is often found discussing the latest developments ...

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