Best practices for mobile app testing automation

By Karin Kelley

As the number of global smartphone users increases dramatically, the number of mobile apps is also skyrocketing. Already, Apple’s App Store has nearly 2 million apps for sale, while Google Play offers 2.2 million apps for download, according to Business 2 Community. Those numbers are only expected to increase. In terms of market size, Newzoo predicted mobile app revenues will nearly double by 2020 to reach $80.6 billion.

To be successful in this increasingly competitive world, developers can’t afford to take mobile app testing lightly.

Creating a mobile app testing strategy

Though app testing is a vital step in building a successful app, it’s often very challenging and time-consuming because developers must consider the wide variations in devices, operating systems and network conditions. However, since consumers have exceedingly high expectations for their mobile experiences and many apps to choose from, developers must test with a consumer-first mindset.

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The following are some best practices to follow:

  • Take a test-driven approach:
    After specifying the features and requirements of an app, developers should write a test for each one before any coding takes place. This approach can be broken down into three steps, called “red-green-refactor.” Red means creating a test that will fail, so that developers can catch bugs and be confident that the test will fail when expected. In the green test, developers should update the test so that it will pass. Refactoring means updating code to meet standards, improve app design and minimize any duplication.
  • Test on real devices:
    Though using emulators is useful in the earliest stage of development, mobile developers must also test on real devices to get an accurate understanding of the actual user experience and application behavior. Factors to consider include compatibility with various OS versions, screen resolutions and different form factors (tablet versus smartphone).
  • Automate testing:
    To speed up the development process, implement automated testing frameworks. This not only eliminates tedious manual processes, but also decreases inevitable human error. Plus, companies can get their app to market faster to increase ROI.
  • Try different networks:
    Since most mobile apps require a network connection and mobile users are, by nature, on the move, developers must test apps on ones with various speeds and bandwidths. The end goal is to ensure the app can be flexible enough to work on any network.
  • Make sure apps are global:
    Mobility and the cloud created a global market for apps. To reach worldwide demand, developers should test apps in multiple languages and make sure different characters are recognized across multiple devices.
  • Ensure security:
    Usability is essential, but security reigns in the mobile app world. Users are very sensitive about the security of their personal data and credentials. Customers simply won’t use an app with known vulnerabilities. To ensure an app’s security, developers should make sure user credentials are encrypted while being authenticated over the network, and passwords should be mandatory. Further, apps should be designed with automatic update capabilities.

In such a fast-paced and hypercompetitive market, companies can’t afford to spend too much time developing apps to stay ahead. Further, in this consumer-driven market, apps must meet the demands of increasingly demanding users who won’t settle for a less-than-stellar user experience. To meet this demand, companies must take new approaches to mobile app testing or risk falling behind.

Written By

Karin Kelley

Independent Analyst & Writer

Karin is an independent industry analyst and writer, with over 10 years experience in information technology. She focuses on cloud infrastructure, hosted applications and services, end user computing and related systems management software and services. She spent nearly eight years…

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