Mobile testing tools: Six major application testing techniques

By Jonathan Crowl

No matter how great, addictive or revolutionary a new app may be, its fortunes will always depend on the success of its testing process. After all, mobile testing tools can uncover functionality issues that could swiftly inflict a mortal blow to an app’s fate. There’s nothing worse than a poor user experience caused by glitches or errors that could have been easily avoided in the first place. As such, it’s critical that developers put their app through a battery of mobile tests to make sure that every potential point of weakness has been identified and addressed before the release date.

Here are six key mobile testing tools:

Randomly generated mobile tests

Perhaps the greatest strength of this type of random testing is that it doesn’t use scripts. By sidestepping any scripts or coding, randomly generated mobile tests can uncover defects that other scripted tests could not discover. These tests can reveal errors rather quickly, sometimes in a matter of seconds. In fact, the longer it takes for random testing to identify problems, the better your mobile app’s overall design.

Keyword-based mobile app test scripts

Keyword-based testing is a relatively quick process that should be completed numerous times throughout development. This particular testing tool allows developers to run a number of tests based on different basic parameters, which are set by the keywords selected. The decision-making process is fairly straightforward, allowing for an easier workflow overall.

Programmatic user interface testing applications

This mobile test aims to make sure that your app is meeting its functional requirements and delivering a quality user experience. After all, the better the overall quality, the more likely users will be to engage with the app as a whole. Programmatic user interface testing can be done manually. But this often time-consuming and difficult process can result in human error. By using automated tools, you can eliminate this risk and simplify the once-complicated process. Developers can even run these tests several times over.

Behavior-driven development (BDD) testing

A mobile app is developed from the inside-out. But in the end, the thing that matters most is how the app is received and experienced on the outside, between the interface and the user. BDD tests this performance based on expected user behaviors and how an app’s functions will be interpreted by the user. Most important, it considers the experience of users who aren’t tech-savvy, making sure that developers have built a product that the masses will understand. Expanded feedback loops in the BDD testing process can provide continuous information that supports iterative development and fine-tuning, allowing developers to put the final touches on a mobile app before consumers can get their hands on it.

Image recognition-based automation

Image testing verifies the display and design of the visual elements within an app. For instance, it tests how images relate to touchscreen interaction by helping to mimic how a human hand would engage with the program. The main advantage of this particular type of testing is that it’s platform-neutral, which means that one test can apply to any mobile operating system. Image recognition-based automation is best deployed in later stages of development and testing, when the visual elements are more fixed into their final positions. If you move the visual elements around, you will need to run this test again.

Instrumental application object and event-based automation

Applications are built to respond to particular events or situational changes with automated processes. This test can verify that the automated processes kick in as intended. Oftentimes, an extra piece of code will be placed in the mobile environment to act as a local agent that drives an automated response. Developers can then monitor this behavior to make sure it goes as planned.

When an app successfully passes through these six mobile testing tools without turning up any red flags, developers and brands can rest assured that their product is as ready as possible for launch day.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl


Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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