What Is Mobile Application Testing In Software Testing?

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Mobile phones have transformed the way we live our lives. They have evolved from simple devices which had the sole purpose of communication, to impressive gadgets that can do everything we could dream of. Today, we use our humble mobile phone to turn down our heating, order a takeaway, read a book, play our favourite games or navigate our way to our next destination. All of this is only possible because of powerful mobile applications. These applications are a type of software, but they work quite differently to traditional web applications. The rise of mobile applications has changed the world of software testing and introduced an entirely new dimension; mobile application testing.

What Is A Mobile Application?

A mobile application, or app, is software that has been built specifically for use on a mobile device. This could be a smartphone, tablet or wearable. There are three main types of mobile applications;
  • Mobile Web Applications
You can access these applications on a mobile web browser, so they don’t have to be downloaded onto a device. They work similarly to web applications and are usually built in HTML5, CSS or JavaScript. Mobile web applications are often much easier to build and also easier to test; however, their functionality is often more primitive than other application types.
  • Native Applications
Native mobile applications run on the mobile device itself, making them more advanced. You would need to download these types of apps for you to use them on your device. Native applications are platform-specific, and so are built using specific languages. For example, Apple devices require apps to be built in Objective-C or Swift using XCode. Android devices require apps developed using Java or Kotlin in Android Studio or Eclipse IDE. Native applications are often more challenging to produce and test, but because they integrate perfectly with the hardware, the UI/UX experience is much better.
  • Hybrid Applications
Hybrid applications are a combination of both mobile web apps and native apps. They are developed using the standard web stack (CSS, JavaScript and HTML5), and then wrapped within a native environment. This means that you can use the same code for various platforms. These applications are often easier to build, but they are slower and have less advanced features than native apps.

What Is Mobile Application Testing?

All software requires thorough testing, to ensure it works as it should, and there are no bugs. The same goes for all types of mobile applications. Mobile application testing is when apps are tested for usability, functionality and consistency. Developers require testing to take place during production, and once the app is complete, and mobile application testing is imperative to an app’s success. The differences between traditional software testing and mobile application testing are vast, and some of the key considerations in mobile app testing are;

Internet Connectivity

Mobile web applications generally will not function when the device is offline. Unlike with computer systems, mobile devices’ internet connectivity can fluctuate greatly. This means that thorough testing for mobile applications is essential to see how they perform with different internet speeds. You can configure native and hybrid apps to work in an offline mode. This also requires thorough testing to ensure there are no issues if a device has an interrupted connection.

User Interaction

The way users interact with a mobile application is very different from a desktop-based application. On traditional software, all operations could take place using the keyboard and mouse. When it comes to mobile applications, users have a much wider range of interaction options. This includes tapping, pulling, pinching, swiping and more, which all need to be tested. Not only that but with the rise in voice control, that is another interaction that requires thorough testing.

Compatibility

Web-based applications need to be tested in various different browsers, which is fairly straightforward for a software tester to do. However, mobile applications have a much more complicated testing procedure. This is because there is a wide range of mobile devices available to users. New mobile devices are constantly being released, each with expanded functionality. Mobile applications must work for each mobile device, and some characteristics to consider include battery life, screen size and capacity.

What Mobile Application Testing Approaches Are There?

Just like with software testing, there are two key approaches to mobile application testing;

Manual Testing

Manual software testing uses human input, analysis and evaluation. It is a user-centric approach that focuses on exploring how a mobile app meets user requirements. All mobile applications should be manually tested for the look and feel as well as the usability and ensuring it is as user friendly as possible. It is often a bad idea to rely on manual testing alone when testing a mobile application as it can be easy to make mistakes this way.

Automated Testing

Automated testing allows you to create endless scenarios for your mobile app and test them all very quickly. Automating the testing process is essential for tests that have predictable results, are tedious to test manually or are impossible to test manually.

How To Learn More About Mobile Application Testing?

At TSG Training, we offer a range of training courses to help you learn more about software testing and mobile application testing. If you are new to software testing, we recommend our ISTQB Software Testing Foundation Course, which covers all the fundamentals of software testing. It will provide you with the foundations needed to pursue a career as a software tester. If you are specifically interested in learning about mobile application testing, then our ISTQB Foundation – Certified Mobile App Tester course is for you. It is designed for software testing professionals working with mobile technology. We also offer a range of free webinars covering various different subjects. They provide insights into our training courses and various topics, including software testing and mobile application testing. On 8th December, we will be holding a free webinar on our BCS Certificate in Software Testing. The event will discuss the new 3-day course and explain what you can expect from the course.

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