As opportunities for the best mobile apps explode, so does what’s required to develop and maintain one. Here are 11 main challenges for mobile testing in 2016.
1. The Need for More Shift Left Testing
Shift left testing consists of conducting your mobile testing earlier in the development process. The need to expand test coverage, and to test sooner will only increase as more devices come to market. The farther along the development process you find defects, the longer it will take to fix them. This can put pressure on the Quality Assurance manager to meet his deadline by testing less.
This is where automation testing becomes critical. You can perform regression testing immediately. What is regression testing? Whenever you make a change to the app, every function, even those not directly impacted by the changes, needs to be tested for. Quite often some complex programming logic will be used to develop or upgrade an application. As a result, functions that don’t look related are connected because of the fuzzy logic employed to create them.
To perform thorough regression testing you need a good automated mobile testing tool. Bugs lying beneath unrelated functions can be caught and fixed before they are discovered by the user.
A good test automation strategy addresses these challenges by enabling the mobile testing team to test every new build, even builds completed before the entire mobile application is even complete, confirming that everything is working.
2. Renewed focus on How Mobile Testing Affects the Bottom Line
Quite often a process within a process will lose itself in the details. DevOps is the process of developing your mobile app. Mobile testing is a process within the DevOps process. It is very easy to get lost in the details while forgetting the big picture.
The big picture is simple: Mobile testing underwrites a flawless customer experience. No matter how amazing your mobile application is, if it has just one error the user has to experience, your customer or your prospect will not be happy with it. Even worse, they will associate your entire company brand with the error. Items that your business produces that have nothing to do with mobility will sit on the shelf as disgruntled users choose something else.
Mobile testing accomplishes the opposite. It makes the customer feel like they are in a 5-star restaurant. The user will continue to associate your brand with excellence. Even products that don’t show up on your mobile application will wind up in your user’s shopping cart simply because you have proven the quality of your brand to them.
Mobile testing directly impacts sales, market share, and the bottom line.
3. Performance Matters More than Ever
Mobile application performance testing is the scary ghost of mobile quality. It is invisible. It wreaks havoc with your mobile application, and you don’t know what’s going on until the damage is already done.
You can test all the functions of your mobile application to the point where they are operating perfectly. The challenge comes when a function is called by the user, and it executes as it was programmed to, but in 6 seconds. If a mobile app takes too long to work, the user will think it’s broken and delete it anyway.
Network virtualization and load pose the primary challenges for mobile application performance testing. When an application is tested in the QA department of your company, it will likely use a first class server operating under an ideal local phone network. Many of us will test our apps with the assumption that the network conditions will be the same for all of our users. The “ghost” begins to haunt when a user in rural Montana has a tougher time executing your functions smoothly than one in midtown Manhattan. Network virtualization testing works to make all of your users happy. A good performance testing tool will go the extra step by mobile testing for smooth performance even if someone enters an elevator, or rides through a tunnel.
Facebook and Google, with over $74 billion in cash and liquid investments, are in a race to provide 3 billion unconnected people with internet access. As smartphones become more ubiquitous, the worldwide audience for your mobile applications will continue to grow. Today there are over 2 billion smartphone users. By 2020 there will be 3 billion. Their goal is to have over 6 billion smartphone users who can connect immediately within our generation.
This makes network virtualization a top priority today. It also raises the stakes for load testing. The potential number of people able to access your mobile application will continue to rise to levels never experienced before.
Mobile application load testing addresses to challenges: One, how well will your app perform when an above average number of visitors are using it? Two, how well will your app perform when an average number of users are accessing it, but they are all using one function at the same time?
4. Greater Need for Cloud Testing
To capitalize on automated testing, the cloud can be utilized to make a mobile testing team more productive and efficient.
A mobile testing lab consisting of hundreds of devices can be set up at a centralized location within your business. Using the right mobile cloud testing tools, a mobile testing team can be spread out across several offices. They can all access any of the mobile devices from the mobile testing lab via the cloud. Instead of buying the same device more than once, you can have one device in the cloud and the testers can reserve times for when they wish to test on them.
A manager can assign specific devices to teams located in offices around the world to maintain a 24 hour a day testing process. Each tester has access to all the devices in the testing lab so he can enjoy a greater testing coverage.
Mobile applications can get tested sooner and faster using a cloud testing tool. The tool is what connects the tester to the lab. At the desktop of the tester can sit a mobile testing suite consisting of both automation, network virtualization, and load tools which can guarantee the mobile quality of the app in record time.
5. Specialized Skills for Mobile Testers
A tester must go beyond the traditional role and work with the business analysts, even the marketing team to determine what parts of the app the customers are happy with, and what parts they are complaining about. 10% of all social media users have complained about a brand in the past year alone. Someone who hears a bad review is 20 times less likely to buy a product.
They must work with the business team to see what parts of the app are converting users to leads, and leads to customers. $3 billion is lost every year to users abandoning a shopping cart right at the point of sale due to functional or performance problems.
If the mobile tester lacks the resources to cover everything, he has to put on his business cap and decide which functions are more important to the user and concentrate his testing resources on it.
The mobile tester needs to expand his skills to test for new mobile devices like smartwatches, fitness bands, and applications reading information from sensors on cars, at homes, even inside the human body. Mobile applications are rapidly expanding beyond phones and the mobile tester has to expand his or her skills to be ready.
It will also be the makers of the testing tools the testers use that has to keep up. Along with enabling a testing team to use any major testing language, a testing tool expands with the changes in technology.
The best testing tools for 2016 will include constant updates to encompass all the new advancements in mobility.
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6. Digital transformation and the Emergence of Big Data
According to the 2015-2016 World Quality Report, the main driver of the need for mobile testing is Digital Transformation. It is the emergence of ubiquitous digital platforms changing the way your customer learns about your product, buys your product, and uses your product. This isn’t simply a new technology that aids an existing production process. It is changing the process itself.
As we move into the era of big data, internet of things, smart devices, mobile, and social media, the world itself has changed. Not only have new technologies demanded new ways to produce and promote a product, but big data creates the opportunity, and the demand for far more detailed quality assurance. Information about every question a business will ask about its users, customers, market, products, and potential will become available to a degree of precision we’ve never witnessed before.
7. Continuous Testing as a Part of Continuous Integration
As mobile devices, mobile operating systems, even mobile networks continue to add new features, functions, and abilities, mobile applications need to constantly redefine themselves to include them.
That means a lot of new builds. Most businesses will release an update of their app every month. Some will do it every week. It has gotten to the point where DevOps teams are constantly developing, testing, and re-releasing their mobile applications. The process is known as Continuous Integration and it is aimed at enabling you to keep your mobile application cutting edge and free of problems by constantly improving it.
There are platforms like Jenkins, QC, and JIRA that can put your entire DevOps process on a virtual assembly line. The best mobile testing tool will be one that integrates into all of them. The best example is Experitest’s SeeTest Suite, where all of its mobile testing tools integrate into CI platforms that enable continuous integration, continuous development, continuous testing, and a rapid time to market.
8. Corporate Reputations Are Now On the Line
Social media has given the user more power than ever. One in ten people will complain about a brand via social media every day.
Mobile testing becomes all the more important as the danger of a damaging social media post going viral is real. The number one objective of QA is to give the user a positive experience with the most popular interface between him and your company brand. A satisfied customer is the best type of brand ambassador, and mobile testing makes sure all your customers are satisfied. The link between profits and mobile quality is real, and an integral part of a business’ strategy.
Having the best mobile application in your industry is an effective tactic. It is a bona fide way for a small company to compete with a larger one.
QA testing has moved from the back office to the front lines of generating revenue. Over 30% of retail bankers have admitted that they will switch banks solely based on the mobile services the bank provides. As businesses like fast food, coffee, and groceries offer full service on their mobile apps, the battle for market share will be digital-first.
Reducing expenses is as much a factor in maximizing net income as is increasing sales. The more productive your mobile testing team, the lower the expenses, the greater the income, and the higher return on investment (ROI) on your mobile testing strategy.
Businesses have not only developed mobile applications for the customers, but for their producers, suppliers, and front office as well. Mobile devices empower workers to set flexible work schedules, working by remote during those hours when they are at peak performance. The IoT has enabled manufacturers to use google glass technology to produce and analyze data without using hands, letting them continue with their task as they relay the data to other workers, and make instant decisions based on the information.
The ability of a business to reap the productivity gains made possible by mobile devices lies in the quality of the mobile applications. Flawless apps enable those gains to be maximized, reducing the cost of labor for every unit of product produced, and increasing profit margins.
10. Parallel Testing
Less than half of all tests performed today are automated. That implies most tests are not conducted in parallel. Parallel testing is when you run a test script and it executes on multiple devices all at once. You can test a tablet with an Android operating system, and a smartphone with an iOS running it at the same time and double your test coverage.
The key to mobile testing is to do this to scale. With a cloud testing tool you can connect with tens, or hundreds of devices. Using the right automation testing tool you can record your own test script, and then run it on as many devices as you need. At the same time, you can add in a performance testing tool to simulate any type of local network condition, and even traffic load testing tool while you test the functions for accuracy and performance under different conditions. This empowers you to expand your test coverage as fast as the coverage is expanded for you.
11. IT Departments Need to Realize Economies of Scale for Mobile Testing
According to the 2014-2015 World Quality Report, by 2017 no more than 29% of IT budgets would be dedicated to quality assurance and testing. But by 2015 the testing spend rose to a whopping 35% of IT budgets. While businesses are taking testing more seriously, they are not getting the most out of their investment.
For 2016, this number needs to stabilize as DevOps teams learn how to get the most out of the resources they are currently using. 2016 will see a migration into top tier testing tools that test for function, performance, utilize the cloud, integrate into all major continuous integration platforms, allow for parallel testing, are compatible with all mobile devices, are compatible with all mobile operating systems, and work in all major ALM environments (languages).
The leading mobile testing suite that meets all of these requirements is Experitest’s SeeTest Suite. You can download a free copy for a 1-month trial right here:
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