Mobile app testing can be time-consuming, error-prone, and sometimes expensive if not done the right way. But mobile app testing is a critical part of the development process, and skipping it comes at a huge cost to the user experience.
To compete with the millions of mobile apps on the market, your set of best practices must ensure that the user experience is incredible for every consumer every time they use your app, starting from the first try.
Not sure where to begin? We asked five experts to share their QA best practices. They also elaborated on why testing for certain features can improve UX, improve efficiency, and accelerate your CI/CD pipeline.
1. Leverage usability and UI testing
While functional tests perform different end-to-end scenarios to check that the app is working as intended, usability examination ensures that consumers can efficiently and intuitively use the app.
“It’s imperative to do UI testing on your most critical end-to-end processes since this is where your users will interact most often with your application,” said Martin Welker, CEO of Zenkit.
When building app UI, some platforms make them more interactive. Other apps are straightforward. Regardless of advancement, basic checks in your usability test plan should include:
- Data type errors
- Navigational elements
- Error logging
- Action button verification
Not only does this testing process confirm the code is working correctly, but it improves the end-user experience. The heart of many apps – from B2B to entertainment platforms – are the end-users. Performing usability tests and analyzing the results means better apps, better user experiences, and a more connected consumer.
2. Don’t be afraid of automation
Your QA testing methodology ideally combines both automated testing and manual testing. The key to fusing manual and automated testing is to determine which is best suited to each feature and stage of the product.
“Manual testing is crucial, but automated testing is the future,” explained Bryan Kiptoo, Testing Manager at Testlio.
Manual testing is still essential – it allows you to cover a wide range of devices, locations, and UX tests with a human perspective. But adding automation into your strategy can make manual tests more efficient, faster, and more accurate.
Experts tips for combining manual and automated testing include:
- Supplement manual testing with frequent automated tests
- Use automation when performing white-box tests, load tests, and performance tests
- Any test performed repeatedly are ripe for automation
- Use crowd testing for scalable, time-efficient testing
- Schedule manual tests after essential design or development cycles
Leveraging automated testing helps to keep things moving and helps you future-proof your operations.
3. Incorporate user feedback
The feedback of manual QA testers and end-users regarding the experience and feel of the app is invaluable.
John Li, the co-founder of PickFu, recommends incorporating feedback with each round of testing to improve decisions and concentrate on what matters most to your users.
“There’s no such thing as testing too early or too often. With each round of testing, you’ll gain the confidence — and the data — that is essential to making a quality app your users will enjoy,” he said.
You can incorporate user feedback into your QA testing include in a few ways:
- Asking for user feedback regarding the user experience and other vital aspects of the app after central design or development cycles
- Integrating consumer input into the design and development process as early as possible
- Creating streamlined ways for everyone involved with your project to report bugs and share feedback
By taking full advantage of the data you’ve collected, you can make the user experience for your product better and the R&D investment more efficient.
“Mobile app development is an iterative process,” Lie said. “How smoothly it goes, and how successful your end product is, hinges on how well you listen to users and incorporate their feedback.”
4. Run performance tests early
Waiting until a mobile app is just about complete to run performance tests can make it harder to isolate where problems exist. It’s often more costly to correct performance issues later in the development process and riskier to make changes if functional testing is completed.
“Only conducting performance testing after system or functional testing is like conducting a diagnostic blood test on a patient who is already dead,” said Scott Barber, Performance Architect at Ferguson Enterprises.
Performance testing is not a one-and-done execution, and a single test won’t tell developers everything they need to know. Instead, for a truly successful performance test, repetition is required.
Different types of performance tests
|Load test||Measures response time and system staying power as workload increases|
|Stress test||Measures system performance outside of the parameters of normal working conditions|
|Spike tests||Evaluates software performance when workloads are substantially increased|
|Endurance tests||Evaluates how the software performs with an expected workload over an extended amount of time.|
|Scalability tests||Determines if the software is effectively handling increasing workloads|
|Volume tests||Determines how efficiently software performs with large projected amounts of data|
5. Improve your continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline
In recent years continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) have evolved into an invaluable part of software development. One of the key benefits of integrating these practices frequently is detecting errors and locating them quickly. The role of QA in continuous delivery is to accelerate deployment.
“Continuous integration doesn’t get rid of bugs, but it does make them dramatically easier to find and remove,” said Martin Fowler, Chief Scientist at ThoughtWorks.
How can you incorporate CI and CD into your QA best practices? Jez Humble and David Farley outlined a great checklist in their book Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation:
- Before submitting changes, check to see if a build is currently in the Successful status
- If the status is currently Successful, rebase your workspace to this configuration
- If not, assist in fixing a build before submitting new code
- Build and test locally to ensure the update doesn’t break functionality
- If Successful, check in new code
- Allow CI to complete with new changes
- If the build fails, stop and fix it on your machine, then return to step 4
- If the build passes, continue to work on the next item
Want to take the first step to increase your mobile app quality? Schedule a demo with one of our experts today.