According to data from StatCounter (2020), the total share of internet traffic through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) was approximately 55% in the year 2020, and this trend continues to grow slowly year by year.
Thus, the number of applications released for different mobile platforms (mainly iOS and Android) also increases. There is now a shift towards reducing the development time of an application, because customers want to know when an application will be available as soon as possible.
This then leads to mobile apps not being tested thoroughly, and as a direct result of this lack of testing, a product ends up with several bugs and unhappy end-users.
Why is continuous testing of mobile software important?
According to the data from Evans Data Corporation (EDC), mobile apps that have been released in recent years have on the average one to ten bugs.
Further results from this survey, which was conducted with more than 500 mobile software developers, indicated that approximately 75% of respondents noted that from 1 to 10 errors were found in their applications after they’d been released.
Around a further 20% of respondents said that up to 15 errors were found in their applications after release, and only 5% said that no bugs were found in their applications after they’d been released.
These results indicate that more attention to detail should be paid during the testing process, so that errors can be eliminated before a product reaches the end-user. Moreover, this applies to both iOS and Android OS.
Identifying bugs is important, both at the testing stage and after a product is released, because updates for various apps to fix identified bugs are released regularly (weekly or monthly, in about 33% of cases, Evans Data Corporation).
To release an application without any errors is difficult, because all apps will need updating and will have to be fixed at some point in the future. Plus, as soon as you add a new feature to an app this creates potential bugs that inevitably need fixing, and so on. This process continues for as long as an application is around. Therefore, effective testing and bug detection is critical for the success of the mobile app.
The components of mobile app testing
Mobile app testing is a complex process, during which an app's functionality, usability and compatibility with different platforms, as well as some other aspects, are checked.
Testing is carried out in a manual or automatic mode. Here are the basic components in the mobile software testing process:
- Functional testing is the most basic type of testing. At this stage an app must meet the requirements described in it’s specifications. Additionally, basic human to application interaction scenarios are tested at this stage.
- Compatibility testing. This is a very important stage, and it’s when you check to see if an application works across different devices and platforms. During compatibility testing, the performance of key functions is evaluated for specific hardware configuration. The procedure itself is fast, but it is not always possible to cover a large number of configuration options and this can cause problems.
- Localizations testing. Modern mobile apps are supposed to be used across the world. So, most apps have several interface languages, which means that all elements of an app need to be tested to make sure that they are appropriate for different countries. (Different time zones, is another example of this).
- Laboratory testing. This is conducted by network operators and their aim is to simulate the operation of a wireless network. This test looks for voice and/or data failures in a mobile application when performing certain operations.
- Performance test. This test measures the performance of an application, a server and a network. This type of test is intended to identify bottlenecks in server applications at a specific load level.
- Stress tests. At this stage, teams look for exceptions, lags and deadlocks when the app is under stress (large load). Such things might have gone unnoticed during functional testing.
- Security testing. The application should be quick, convenient, ergonomic and understandable. But, first and foremost, it should be safe for all end-users. The app and user’s data should be held in a safe manner. It is therefore crucial to assess how easy it could be to hack the app, and then to put measures in place to prevent this from happening.
- Usability test. This test measures performance, accuracy/completeness and user satisfaction. It can be performed before the development process has been completed, as its results can affect the appearance, ergonomics, and even the functionality of the mobile application.
Problems appear when one or more of the above testing types are not given attention. Thus the final product contains bugs after being released.
The more bugs an app has the less appealing it is for users, which results in the app failing to take off. High-quality and rigorously tested apps will survive and thrive on the market. Testing should be an integral part of an app development process.