The ultimate guide to Mobile App Testing Mobile applications have become an integral part of our lives. In this competitive environment with evolving user expectations, a buggy app can decimate the brand through negative user reviews, decreased user engagement, and, ultimately, loss of revenue. So, whether you’re a startup or a large-scale enterprise, if you’re releasing apps of any kind, let’s be clear. You need mobile app testing. Investing in comprehensive mobile app testing strategies will mitigate risk, enhance user satisfaction, and differentiate your app from competitors. Let’s dive into mobile app testing. We’ll look at why testing is so crucial and share insider tips ranging from staffing a mobile app testing team to creating efficient test cases to ensure your app reaches its full potential. Table of Contents What is Mobile App Testing? Types of Mobile App Testing Manual Mobile App Testing Automated Mobile App Testing In-House Mobile App Testing Crowdsourced Mobile App Testing Crowdsourced vs. Outsourced Testing Crowdsourced Testing Outsourced Testing Nearshore Software Testing Offshore Software Testing Creating a Mobile App Testing Strategy How many devices do I need to test? Defining Mobile App Testing Test Cases Further Reading What is Mobile App Testing? Mobile app testing evaluates and validates mobile applications across various devices, platforms, and operating systems to uncover defects, optimize performance, and deliver a seamless user experience. In the past, mobile app testing primarily focused on functional testing, verifying if apps met their intended purpose. However, this process has come a long way. Today, mobile app testing encompasses a vast array of coverage areas, including functional testing, usability testing, performance testing, security testing, compatibility testing, and more. It aims to deliver users a seamless and optimized experience while maintaining the app’s stability, security, and performance. Types of Mobile App Testing Mobile app testing encompasses various types of testing to ensure the quality and performance of mobile applications. Functional testing verifies the app’s features and functionalities, ensuring they work as intended. Usability testing focuses on the user experience, assessing how intuitive and user-friendly the app is. Performance testing evaluates the app’s responsiveness, speed, and resource usage under different conditions. Security testing aims to identify vulnerabilities and protect user data from potential threats. Compatibility testing ensures the app works seamlessly across devices, operating systems, and screen sizes. Localization testing verifies app adaptation to different languages and regions. Regression testing checks for any new bugs introduced during updates. Employing a comprehensive approach to mobile app testing helps deliver robust and reliable applications that meet user expectations. Manual Mobile App Testing Manual mobile app testing involves human testers executing test cases while assessing functionality, usability, and user experience. Manual testing benefits include flexibility, experience, real-time issue identification, and the opportunity for exploratory testing to uncover unexpected bugs. Additionally, manual testing assesses visual appeal, accessibility, and intuitiveness. However, it’s labor-intensive and prone to error. Still, manual testing is beneficial during initial development when rapid feedback and quick bug identification are crucial. It’s also valuable for user-centric testing, evaluating app usability, assessing subjective factors, and some regression testing. Despite the emergence of automation, manual mobile app testing remains indispensable in delivering high-quality, user-friendly mobile applications. Automated Mobile App Testing Automated mobile app testing uses specialized software tools to execute pre-defined test scripts and verify the behavior and performance of a mobile application. Benefits include increased efficiency, faster test execution, broader test coverage, and the ability to repeat tests precisely. Automation also enables parallel testing on multiple devices and platforms, facilitating scalability and reducing time-to-market. Are you ready to take on automated testing? However, automated testing has its challenges. First, automation doesn’t happen independently – it requires work from technical experts in writing test cases, monitoring results, and ongoing maintenance. It’s also not ideal for user-centric or subjective testing. Where automated testing shines is with repetitive task load and performance testing. It excels at identifying functional defects and providing reliable results. Used in conjunction with manual testing processes, automated testing enhances efficiency, ensures consistent quality, and accelerates the delivery of robust mobile applications. In-House Mobile App Testing In-house mobile app testing means testing within the organization or development team using internal resources and expertise: in other words, building your own internal QA team. Building an in-house QA team offers the most control over QA and easier developer collaboration. In-house testing also allows for customized testing strategies tailored to the organization’s specific needs. As opposed to other methods, the challenge of in-house testing is that in-house QA is resource intensive. It requires dedicated full-time personnel, devices, and infrastructure – unrealistic for some companies. Plus, in-house testing alone may lack the diversity of perspectives and expertise external testing can provide. In-house testing is particularly suitable for organizations with ample resources and a need for strict control over the testing process, especially for sensitive applications or industries with strict compliance requirements. Crowdsourced Mobile App Testing Crowdsourced mobile app testing lets you leverage a community of external testers to evaluate apps across various devices, platforms, and real-world scenarios. This approach offers many benefits, including access to a diverse pool of testers, rapid scalability, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to simulate real-world usage. The drawback? It can be challenging to manage large tester communities and ensure quality control, so finding the right partner is crucial. Additionally, there may be limitations in terms of confidentiality and intellectual property protection. Crowdsourced testing is perfect for organizations needing extensive device and platform coverage, quick feedback from a large user base, simulating real-world usage scenarios, or ramping up quickly. Crowdsourced vs. Outsourced Testing Crowdsourced testing and outsourced software testing are two very different approaches to QA. Crowdsourced Testing This model involves hiring a distributed team of testers worldwide as needed. Benefits include access to a larger talent pool, lower costs, and access to specialized skills or language requirements. However, crowdsourcing also has some drawbacks, such as less control over quality, difficulty building collaborative team dynamics, and slower turnaround times. Traditionally, crowdsourced testing is used for product launches or when companies need extra capacity quickly, as well as ongoing maintenance and support tasks that require specific expertise or language skills. Whether you scale QA in-house or through a partner, it’s essential to understand which options best match your app testing needs. Do you hire in-house testers? Do your engineers need to shift left and take ownership of code issues? Do you augment testing with crowdsourced QA? For many organizations, the answer is a software testing partner that can help you tackle all of these issues. Our guide helps you select the right web and mobile app testing partner. Outsourced Testing This model involves working with an external team that works alongside internal resources or as a fully dedicated QA team. Benefits of outsourcing include improved efficiency and increased focus on quality, but it can also come with higher costs than crowdsourcing and communication difficulties that slow down the process. Typically, outsourced testing teams are used when companies want more control over the quality process or don’t have enough internal resources to do the work. Companies may also choose this approach to utilize specialized skills outside their local market. Explore Testlio’s outsourced QA solution. Nearshore Software Testing Nearshore software testing refers to outsourcing testing work to a team in a nearby country. Nearshoring offers some benefits over offshoring to a distant country, including: Cultural and language similarities that can improve communication Minimal time zone differences, allowing for easier collaboration However, nearshoring can also come with some drawbacks: Higher costs than offshoring to a lower-cost country Less access to a large talent pool, which can make hiring more difficult Traditionally, nearshore testing teams have been used to gain the cost benefits of outsourcing while mitigating some risks. Nearshoring is a good option for companies that value close collaboration and communication with their testing team. Offshore Software Testing Offshore testing has been a leading methodology in software testing for some time. It offers benefits such as: Reduced costs Greater access to skilled resources Faster time-to-market Hiring an offshore team can also enable around-the-clock testing and faster bug-fixing times. However, offshore testing does present challenges like: Language and communication barriers Cultural differences Time zone conflicts Choosing a partner with a strong track record in offshore testing is essential to maximize results while minimizing the challenges. The latest Testlio nearshore methodology meshes flexibility, multi-country nearshore capacity, and the opportunity to merge nearshore with offshore solutions to provide a best-of-both-worlds approach. Creating a Mobile App Testing Strategy Creating a solid mobile app testing strategy ensures comprehensive and practical testing. The process typically involves several key steps. Define the objectives, scope, and target audience of the app. This helps determine the testing requirements and priorities. Four ways to optimize your QA budget in 2023 Set up your testing environment, including selecting devices, platforms, and tools. Prepare test environments to simulate real-world conditions accurately. Design test cases and scenarios to cover the app’s functional and non-functional aspects. Prioritizing test cases based on criticality is essential. Collaboration and communication among the testing team and stakeholders are vital throughout this process. Execute tests. Defect tracking and reporting are essential to monitor the progress and quality of the testing. Regular reviews and iterations refine the strategy and improve the testing process. Implement automation. Automation plays a critical role in a holistic software testing strategy. It’s a repeatable, efficient approach — especially for unit, API, and UI tests . Choose which test cases to automate and which to keep manual. With the right strategy – planned at the start of coding if possible – you stand the best chance of reliably delivering high-quality products. How many devices do I need to test? The short answer is “all of them” – if possible. That may not be realistic, but you should come as close as possible to that goal. As you decide which devices to test, follow a few best practices: Consider your target users – There’s no reason to test Android 2.0 users in Argentina if your app won’t be sold to them. Who is using your app, and what devices are they using? Instead of targeting as many use cases as possible, start with the most likely users + profiles. Consider testing types – Manual testing is slower, so you may want to dial back the number of devices you test manually. With an excellent automated strategy, you can utilize programs and virtual device labs. Reassess device lists regularly – The market changes rapidly, and new devices are constantly released. Be sure to stay up to date. Use an expert partner – Your best bet for proper device coverage is to use a trusted partner. For example, Testlio offers testing in over 150 countries with more than 1200 real devices. Telehealth platform Brighthealth took back 10% of their engineering time and increased dev satisfaction by partnering w/ Testlio. Read the case study here. Defining Mobile App Testing Test Cases Test cases depend on the app’s goal and the target user base. They should be defined well before you finalize the development phase. To determine test cases thoroughly, you can follow a comprehensive 9-step checklist: Cross-platform testing: Define each platform’s objectives, project requirements, and acceptance criteria. Feature functionality: Focus on functional testing on a single device and expand to various platforms during compatibility testing. Type of application: Evaluate the pros and cons of native, mobile, web, and hybrid app types and align them with your app development approach. Front-end testing: Perform graphical user interface (GUI) testing and check for regression, performance, and front-end functionality changes. Back-end testing: Test your app’s server-side and database functionality and verify data integrity, security, and performance. Multiple network compatibility: Test installation, functionality, data exchange, and user interface across various devices and platforms. Storage: Test how your app utilizes and impacts storage. Performance: Use performance testing to identify speed, responsiveness, and stability issues across devices, locations, and varying network conditions. Application flow: Evaluate your app’s visual flow and usability and identify design elements that hinder user tasks. Watch this on-demand recording to learn how Microsoft, MeetUp, and Bright Health are planning software development, including budgeting, staffing, partner selection, release planning, and more. Further Reading When you’re ready to dive even deeper into mobile app testing, these resources provide a wealth of information, support, and perspectives: Ministry of Testing: A comprehensive platform with articles, tutorials, forums, and events for software testers and QA professionals. TechBeacon: An online publication offering insights, articles, and expert opinions on mobile app testing, development, and quality assurance. uTest: A global community of testers providing crowd-testing services, resources, and a platform for accessing real-world testing on various devices. Ministry of Testing Forum: An active online community where testers can ask questions, share experiences, and seek advice from fellow professionals. Sauce Labs Blog: A blog that covers various topics related to mobile app testing, automation, continuous testing, and best practices. Stack Overflow: An online community where developers and testers can ask questions and find answers for mobile app testing and development. Got questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts.