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A handy mobile app testing checklist for developers

Application testing is a necessity in the era of enterprise mobility. Define the right testing criteria and adopt the proper tools to build and deliver high-quality mobile apps.

As mobile applications evolve into critical components of the business, it becomes more important for organizations to ensure that their apps are high-quality.

Users won't hesitate to abandon an app that is slow, buggy or difficult to navigate. And bad code can create security risks and lead to regulatory compliance violations. As such, a mobile app testing checklist is a necessity for any enterprise development team.

There are a variety of mobile app testing tools, services and approaches available to developers, which makes it difficult to create a workable strategy. This mobile app testing checklist can help developers start off on the right foot.

Define your mobile app testing checklist

The specific metrics to collect and analyze during the testing process are different for every app in every organization, depending on the use case. But in general, a mobile app testing checklist should at least cover the following:

  • functionality: ensuring that the app and its features work as designed;
  • user interface: ensuring that users can perform their desired tasks in a clear and logical manner;
  • performance: measuring an app's effect on CPU, memory and network usage, plus the time it takes to complete certain functions;
  • load testing: measuring the effects of multiple concurrent users on back-end systems; and
  • security: ensuring that the data that the app creates, accesses and stores remains protected.
Simulators and emulators may not capture the individual nuances of every device and OS.

Developers and quality assurance testers should perform these tests on every new and updated app. Furthermore, developers should perform regression testing to ensure that an update does not break previous versions.

Additionally, automated scripts and manual templates should reflect the mobile app testing checklist that an organization uses for its mobile apps, enabling developers to perform repeatable tests that generate apples-to-apples results.  

Integrate with mobile application lifecycle management

Mobile app testing in a vacuum is not especially useful. It must be part of an overall mobile application lifecycle management (ALM) approach.

Mobile ALM involves a continuous cycle of development, testing and deployment. Each of those stages relies on different technologies and different staff from the development and IT teams. Those technologies and personnel need to work together to ensure that functional apps end up in users' hands. Developers rely on mobile testing results to fix errors and improve the user experience of an app, and only then should IT deploy the app.

Test for all OSes, device types and networks

Most enterprise mobile device deployments, whether they rely on BYOD or corporate-owned devices, are heterogeneous. As such, developers must ensure that their apps work on all device types and operating systems that end users have at their disposal.

Employees and customers see the competitive advantages of mobile apps.

This requirement poses some app testing challenges, however. Mainly, organizations with large numbers of internal applications and supported devices and operating systems may find it difficult or impossible to physically test every iteration on each OS, endpoint and network combination.

Consider mobile app testing automation tools and services

Mobile app testing automation can address this problem, speed up the testing process and improve accuracy.

Automation tools and services often make use of simulators and emulators, which recreate the experience of an app running on a specific device and operating system. Then, the tools provide reports and analytics to help developers identify and address problems with the user experience and application code.

There are some downsides to mobile app testing automation. Whether deployed on premises or in the cloud, it's an added cost, so developers must ensure that they achieve a satisfactory return on investment. Further, organizations that don't subscribe to a mobile app testing service must roll out and maintain automation software. Improper deployment and management in these cases can actually slow down the testing process and increase the number of errors.

Additionally, simulators and emulators may not capture the individual nuances of every device and OS, potentially allowing some errors or UX problems to sneak through the testing process undetected.

This was last published in January 2018

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