There are over 3 million apps available via Google Play Store alone and the revenue generated by these apps has reached unprecedented heights. It’s fair to say that the mobile app development space is booming, and startups are enjoying significant market share. Launching a tech startup can be as daunting as it is riveting, especially when a big part of the business strategy rests on the smooth running of a new mobile app. When it comes to mobile app testing, as a startup, you cannot be thorough enough – although the majority of today’s most successful startups will urge you to resist the struggle for perfection, get off the ground and iterate as you go. Whatever approach you take to getting off the ground, there are a few fundamentals you should include in testing phase. We’ve explored them below.
Test the App’s UI On Different Screens
With (literally) millions of smart devices out there, there are just as many screen sizes and aesthetic factors to consider when testing a mobile app. UI is essential – in an age where appearances are everything, it can make or break your app. Try to test the app on a number of models, to see how your app will respond to changes in screen size. You can’t risk elements not aligning or images bleeding off the page. The same rule that applies to nature, applies to the world of mobile apps: adapt or die. The most highly responsive mobile apps are the ones that get downloaded the most. There are other factors to consider of course, but when it comes to looks, consistency is vital.
Test Your App On Real Devices
Emulators are a great place to start when testing a new mobile app, particularly because they’re significantly cheaper than the real thing. Emulators are software apps that mimic the hardware, OS and functionality of a mobile device. They also allow you to debug flows as you’re testing the app. According to Ahmed Hassan, senior QA and test automation engineer, you can “delve into code, file structures, and databases in real time, allowing for nuanced inspection of whatever feature you’re testing.” But there a few downsides to using emulators that make it necessary to use real devices as well.
For example, emulators cannot test each device’s unique configuration. Bear in mind that users are going to be using real devices, not emulators, so factors like battery life, GPS, connectivity issues and camera functionality will vary from device to device. Therefore, the best way to test an app is to use a series of devices. You will need to take into account which devices are used per geographic region and according to your target market’s demographics such as age, income bracket and occupation. In Africa for example, a range of more affordable smartphones and legacy devices are unique to the market and Blackberry, although redundant in most parts of the world, is still being used. Make sure you test at least 80% of the devices used by your target market and you should be good to go.
Measure Sentiment as Part of Pre-Launch Testing
One of the opportunities that many mobile app developers miss out on, is tapping into the broader consciousness and involving a test group. Vu Pham, QA Manager at KMS Technology points to the importance of emotional engagement in the recently released “Pokémon GO” game. It was imperative that before the mobile game was launched, developers ensured that it was thoroughly tested by a representative group of end users who could bring fresh perspectives to the table. This step is often neglected but it can make the difference between whether your app is used once and deleted or whether it becomes an app that forms part of the end user’s daily life.
Go Agile ASAP
Patrick Gray of TechRepublic suggests that when it comes to testing, mobile app developers should take an iterative approach from the onset rather than waiting until after the build to begin making changes. Taking an agile approach allows for progress to be made as the build continues – providing an unmatched level of flexibility. Ultimately, agile methodology allows for devs to take preventative action when it comes to diagnosing and solving glitches, rather than trying to fix them in retrospect. The agile approach to development often includes the participation of customers throughout the development phase, which in itself has its pros and cons. Collaboration is key to faster and more effective problem-solving; involve the entire development team and procure a range of opinions on the app’s functionality. It may seem like the agile approach prolongs the development process but in the long run, it could be the defining line between a buggy app and one that runs like a well-oiled machine.
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