The advanced cross-platform mobile app development tools have made it easier for developers to make the same app available on multiple mobile platforms using a shared code base and same set of APIs. But testers often find it challenging to assess all aspects of the mobile app, across multiple devices, platforms and networks, within a shorter amount of time. At the same time, the testing professionals also need to address a number of common challenges to make the mobile app testing project successful.
7 Common Mobile Testing Challenges Testers Must Overcome
1) Mobile Platform and Device Fragmentation
While developing apps, most businesses nowadays target iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Each of three popular mobile operating systems powers a wide variety of mobile devices. Also, a large percentage of users still use older versions of Android. Hence, it becomes essential for testers to assess the application using different versions of mobile operating systems, and a variety of devices powered by each version of these popular mobile platforms. To overcome the mobile device and operating system fragmentation, testers need to use real devices along with emulators and simulators. Also, they have to pick the most popular mobile devices according to geographic locations and choices of the targeted audience.
2) Network Diversity
There are a number of factors including quality of the network affect the functionality and performance of the mobile app directly. Each user nowadays has option to use the app with a variety of internet connections including 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. Hence, the testers need to assess the performance and functionality of the application across many networks and internet connections. Many testers rely on network emulator to test mobile apps without any hassle. But the network emulators can be used only for basic level of mobile testing. The testers must assess the mobile app with real networks to generate more accurate and reliable test results.
3) Growing Focus on the Mobile App’s Performance
Many studies have highlighted that performance of a mobile app affects its user experience directly. Many users even uninstall mobile app that take additional time to work. So each organization needs to optimize the speed and performance of mobile apps to keep the users engaged. To assess the performance of an app accurately, the testers must test it under diverse and real user environments. Options like network virtualization do not enable testing professionals to assess the performance of the mobile app accurately. So the testers have to explore ways to assess the performance of the mobile app effectively by overcoming constraints related to time and resources.
4) Deciding the Right Testing Approach
Each business nowadays has option to build three distinct types of apps. A business can develop a native, hybrid or web application. The design, behaviour and features of each type of mobile app differ. Also, the installation and distribution process of each type of app vary. So the testers cannot use a single testing approach or style to test different types of mobile apps. Also, they need to decide the test coverage and the types of tests to be performed based on the type of mobile app. The testers must have adequate expertise and experience to pick the right testing approach. Also, they need to identify the key challenges associated with each testing approach.
5) Picking the Right Test Automation Tools
Based on their needs, the testers have option to choose from a wide variety of mobile testing tools. Some of these tools are open source and free, whereas others are commercial and proprietary. Likewise, some of these tools can be used for testing mobile operating system specific apps, while others facilitate cross-platform mobile app testing. Often testers opt for open source mobile testing tools to keep project overheads under control. But the free tools lack some of the advanced features and functionality provided by commercial mobile app testing tools. Hence, it becomes essential for testers to pick the right test automation tool according to the nature and requirements of the mobile app testing project, while keeping in mind budgetary constraints.
6) Balancing Different Test Interfaces
As noted earlier, testers need to assess all aspects of a mobile app across multiple devices and operating systems. But no organization can invest in a large number of real devices powered by targeted mobile operating systems. Hence, testing professionals often test mobile apps using emulators and simulators. Some organizations invest in cloud-based testing solutions to enables testers to access a variety of devices remotely while testing the mobile app. However, the emulator, simulator and similar test interfaces can be used effectively only for performing basic functionality testing and regular regression testing. These testing tools cannot replace real devices completely in a testing environment. That is why; testing professionals have to explore ways to test a mobile app using real devices as well as emulators and simulators, while addressing constraints related to resources.
7) Keeping Sensitive User Data Secure
Nowadays, users store a variety of personal data on their mobile devices. Also, they access, store and share personal data through mobile apps. But most users do not check the reliability and credibility of mobile apps at the time of downloading them. Many cyber criminal launch malicious apps to take control of the mobile devices and access the sensitive data stored on them. Likewise, many hackers even execute targeted malware attacks by taking advantage of the loophole in mobile apps. Hence, it becomes essential for testers to ensure that the mobile app is 100% safe and secure. At the same time, they also need to identify and eliminate all loopholes in the app that make it vulnerable to targeted malware attacks. But the new tools and techniques used by cyber criminals make security testing of mobile apps both difficult and challenging.
On the whole, the testing professionals have to address and overcome a number of issues to make the mobile app testing project successful. But the challenges faced by testers vary from one project to another. The testers can always prepare robust but flexible test plans to maximize test coverage, complete the required tests, and address these common challenges.