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Did you know that the average smartphone owner uses 9 apps per day, 30 per month? These figures aren’t surprising – you can download mobile apps for just about anything, be it for practical purposes or pastime activities. Mobile apps that don’t work correctly, however, are hardly popular. So, to publish high-quality apps that work, you must test them thoroughly – a tricky undertaking when you’re new to the subject. That’s why we’ve collected 9 essential mobile testing types for you, talking about the What, Why, and How to get you started and publish great apps confidently.

What Are the Major Mobile Testing Types?

Here are our picks of mobile testing types that you shouldn’t miss:

  • Functional Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Compatibility Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Localization Testing
  • Interrupt Testing
  • Installation Testing

Let’s have a closer look at each of them.

1. Functional Testing

Functional testing is one of the mobile testing types that every app development team focuses on heavily. It ensures that your mobile application works as intended and helps you to test specific functional behavior thoroughly.

For example, if you’ve created a ToDo app, you’ll need to carefully review all the ToDos creation, editing, and deleting features! Functional tests help you do that. These tests are best performed on real devices to provide real-world conditions that emulators can never achieve.

Additionally, functional tests are extensive, and you should avoid performing all test cases manually, as manual testing is error-prone, often leads to bottlenecks, and can have a negative impact on your release cadence.

However, you can hardly automate all test cases! Ideally, you’ll find the right combination of manual testing and automated testing to save time and increase the productivity of your team.

Our advice for functional testing:

Automate as many functional, repeatable tests as possible and execute them on a wide range of real devices. Do this on as many mobile devices in parallel as possible to save even more time. For this, you either need an in-house device lab or use cloud-based testing services, such as our real device testing cloud.

As described above, make sure you thoroughly test the key features of your app. But there’s more to do!

Here are some suggestions for functional tests:

  • verify that the user can sign up and log in
  • make sure all buttons, links, and other UI elements work as expected
  • test if your app launches correctly
  • ensure payment works on all provided options (such as credit card, PayPal, and so on)
  • check whether push notifications render correctly
  • test your forms to see if the input is validated (mandatory vs. optional fields)

2. Performance Testing

In a nutshell, performance testing helps to make sure your app works as expected under different and specific workloads.

As you can imagine, the performance of your app is critical and an important factor for its success. No one wants to wait, and many users will uninstall your app if it starts slowly or takes too long to load content from your API.

Performance testing helps you understand and uncover bottlenecks to counteract them and improve your app’s performance. We can divide mobile performance testing into two types: load tests and stress tests.

  • Load testing helps your QA understand how the app works under the expected workload conditions. To do this, you create fake user accesses to the app and measure their response under normal circumstances and peak loads.
  • Stress testing helps you gain insights into your app’s behavior under generally unexpected conditions. In this way, you can check your mobile app’s robustness and learn about its limits.

Our advice for performance testing:

Take the opportunity and get to know your app better! What are its limits? How does it behave when performing at its peak? The insights you gain through performance tests help you to improve your app sustainably and thus increase user loyalty.

Some suggestions for getting started with performance testing:

  • make sure your app’s start-up time doesn’t exceed 2 seconds (from opening the app to displaying the first screen)
  • ensure your app doesn’t consume too much battery
  • check whether certain functionalities overheat the device
  • make sure memory usage stays low
  • check how it works under different network conditions
  • make sure your server and API are responding timely
  • check if you need to reduce the number of API calls to speed things up

3. Usability Testing

From the viewpoint of user experience, there are two mobile testing types you need to tackle – usability testing and user acceptance testing.

Both mobile testing types focus on ensuring that the end-user has a pleasant experience with your app. Although some might think the methods are the same, they have slightly different goals.

Usability testing makes sure you build and deliver more user-friendly and intuitive apps. Users should be able to use the app according to their expectations. For example, a back button should always go to the previous screen – a different action would be unexpected and may result in negative user experience.

Our advice for usability testing:

For usability testing, you need a group of people who represent your target audience. You can pick testers from your company, but make sure these people aren’t working on the app.

Mainly, there are three parts that you should focus on during usability testing:

  • design and layout
  • response time and performance
  • subjective perception and emotions of users

Let your testers use your app on real devices and collect their responses and feedback during use. Here are some more important aspects of usability testing:

  • prepare a questionnaire for your testers to fill out afterward
  • record the testers’ screen
  • analyze the collected data and define recommendations to improve your app’s usability

After all, users don’t want to use apps that don’t feel right.

4. User Acceptance Testing

On the other hand, user acceptance testing (also called UAT testing) is another one of the mobile testing types and it verifies whether the app works for a user and if it meets the functional requirements. For this, testers perform a set of predefined tasks so you can see how the app performs used by real people under real-world conditions.

Our advice for user acceptance testing:

To conduct these tests, you also need several people who represent your target audience. Again, they shouldn’t work on the project!

In short, follow these steps for successful acceptance tests:

  • define requirements based on your User Stories (what does it mean for a feature to be working?)
  • create the UAT test cases based on these requirements
  • each test case must consist of a bunch of actions that the tester needs to perform
  • record the tests and evaluate the results
  • fix any errors that occur and repeat the test

5. Compatibility Testing

Compatibility testing is straightforward to explain: It helps you to ensure that your app works on different devices and operating system versions.

Next time when you’re out with your family or friends, pay attention to the smartphones they’re using. Most likely, you will recognize that almost everyone has a different device.

These were only a few people – think of the variety of smartphones and tablets that your actual customers use! You can find different device models, operating system versions, screen sizes, CPUs, memory sizes, etc. in your users’ pockets.

Therefore, you need to ensure your application works on as many devices as possible. At a minimum, your app must work on your customers’ favorite devices and operating system versions to make sure they can use your product.

Our advice for compatibility testing:

Setting a goal for test device coverage and defining which specifications to test should be part of your mobile app testing strategy.

Dig through some internal and external research data and find out which devices your customers are using. Create a device testing strategy and adapt it whenever a device or an OS version vanishes from the market or a new one is introduced.

Here are a few inputs to help you with your compatibility tests:

  • define which device models and OS versions you must support
  • check if your app works with older and newer software versions
  • ensure your app works with different hardware specifications
  • make sure your app looks great and works flawlessly with different screen resolutions

To run these tests, you need real devices to get accurate results. You can either do this in an in-house device lab or use a cloud-based testing service that supports concurrent testing on multiple devices. Never run compatibility tests manually, as this is never efficient! Like with most mobile testing types presented in this list, automation is key!

6. Security Testing

By performing security tests, you can ensure that your app works according to specific security policies.

For this, the executed test cases attack your app to find potential threats and loopholes. Protecting your users’ data should always be your top priority. We store a ton of data and personal information on our devices – if something gets lost or leaked, the damage can be massive.

Our advice for security testing:

Make sure you follow your company’s security guidelines for mobile devices. If you don’t have such a guide, you need to take action and create one as soon as possible.

Alternatively, you can follow existing standards such as the Mobile Security Requirements and Testing Guide from OWASP (the Open Web Application Security Project).

By following these guidelines and conducting security tests, you can provide your customers with stable and secure apps in good conscience.

Here are some examples to help you get an idea of where to start:

  • make sure to encrypt data before storing or transferring them
  • ensure data can’t be modified by third-parties during transmission (check for integrity)
  • test if only authorized users can perform specific actions
  • verify that sensitive data is sent or stored only when needed

7. Localization Testing

Localization tests ensure your app works as expected in different markets and countries/regions.

Making sure your app’s text and UI elements align with your audience’s culture and language may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about testing.

However, many users won’t use your app if it isn’t available in their language. And you can’t expect everyone to be comfortable with reading English.

Also, don’t use automatically generated translations because users will recognize this immediately and probably won’t enjoy using your app.

Our advice for localization testing:

The bigger your coverage of target markets, the more important localization testing becomes. If you want to reach an international audience, you need to customize your app to make it attractive to different cultures.

Make sure to include the following in your localization tests:

  • make sure your translations are correct
  • verify that your app displays time correctly in different time zones
  • check if information such as weights, length measures, data, etc. are provided with the correct units
  • ensure the interface looks and works in different languages flawlessly (e.g., what happens if the text is written from right to left?)
  • perform functional tests to detect bugs due to missing UI elements or translations

8. Interrupt Testing

Interrupt testing is one of the few mobile testing types that are often overlooked. It ensures your app works as expected when it encounters abrupt and unexpected events.

Such events could be, for example, an incoming call or a lost internet connection. Testing these interruptions helps you gain insights into how your app behaves and to see how your app recovers from them.

Our advice for interrupt testing:

Our smartphones are an integral part of our daily lives, and we use it to fulfill our daily tasks. The chances are high that your customer receives a call or push-notification while using your app. Thus, you need to make sure your app handles interrupts well and behaves accordingly.

Some frequent interrupts to test:

  • receive an alert when the battery’s low
  • receive a call or text message
  • get a push notification from another app
  • be notified when the device is connected to / disconnected from the power supply
  • encounter network connection changes

9. Installation Testing

The most fabulous mobile app is worthless if your users can’t install or update it without running into troubles. For that, you need installation testing.

Installation testing is one of the most popular mobile testing types. It ensures that your app is installed, updated, and uninstalled without interruption under a variety of realistic conditions. For example, what happens if the user gets a newer OS version for their device? Can the app install properly on an SD card? As you can see, you need to consider a great many things when creating installation test cases, and the test type is not as negligible as it may sound!

Our advice for installation testing:

As mentioned above, we strongly recommend you to perform installation tests. Sure, your app probably installs and updates on most of your user’s devices, but you should never rely on such assumptions.

As usual, we have collected some input to get you started:

  • verify that the user is still logged in after updating the app
  • make sure the stored data is consistent after the upgrade
  • test if the app can still be used if the user doesn’t update
  • see what happens when more updates are available for your app
  • check the memory space before, while, and after installation
  • make sure an OS update doesn’t break your app

Publish High-Quality Apps by Tackling 9 Mobile Testing Types

As you’ve learned in this article, there are many things to keep in mind when using the nine mobile testing types we’ve discussed.

Consequently, it’s easy to forget something or not to pay enough attention to specific areas – especially when time is running out! For this reason, we strongly recommend that you create a strategy that includes all of the discussed mobile testing types. Additionally, improve efficiency, save time and money (and nerves) by introducing continuous testing to your team.

In addition to the right mindset, the right people, and strategies, you also need the right tools for testing! Testing on real devices is necessary if you want to get accurate results and improve app quality. Run automated tests on an unlimited number of mobile devices concurrently to get the most out of your testing processes! Register for our real device testing cloud for free and see what you can achieve with it!

Image by Hebi B. via [source link] (copyright-free)

Sarah Mischinger

Tech Writer