Mobile testing automation is very a critical aspect of the software development process. With agile development, continuous delivery, and DevOps increasing in prominence, Mobile testing automation is now a necessity. But the criticality of the Mobile testing automation is not just limited to enabling fast delivery. Its criticality of it comes from it now taking up the role of primary custodian of the quality of the mobile application.
A leading customer experience consultancy did a very interesting experiment. The result of these experiments gives further proof of the impact of Mobile testing automation. The purpose of the experiment was to “explore ‘Web Stress’ in relation to application performance and its impact on consumer behavior and buying habits.” A part of this experiment users was asked to complete a transaction while the internet speed was throttled continuously. The result of the experiment showed that as the app performance came down during the lowering of internet speed, users developed a negative opinion of the app and the brand.
It would be natural to expect a direct correlation between app performance and user perception of the application. But the fact that app performance is actually affecting the brand should raise concerns for all organizations. Another study collaborates this fact. In this study, it was found that over 70% of respondents felt that the performance of a mobile app would impact their perception of the brand. And not just performance users are also looking for features. An app is not enough – even one that is always available – if it is simply an online catalog or mirror of the mobile site.
Consumers expect a wide variety of features and services that engage, excite and enhance their experience at the Zero Moment of Truth. Companies therefore continuously come out with newer versions of apps. The typical release cycle of mobile apps can be as short as a week. With this type of delivery timeline, companies can only fall back on automation. Therefore mobile test automation is taking up the role of primary custodian of quality of the mobile application and by inference the custodian of the brand image of the company.
With the risk of the brand lying in the hand of the mobile apps, organizations can ill afford to treat mobile test automation with kid gloves. More and more organizations are looking for expertise in the area of mobile test automation and in many cases looking beyond their own organizational setup. Added to this is the fact that mobile testing automation is a fairly complex task.
Challenges in Mobile Testing Automation
The abundance of Mobile devices
The Android Fragmentation Report 2014 states that there are 18,796 distinct Android devices (compared to 11,868 devices in 2013). All these Android devices differ in shape and size, with vastly different performance levels, screen sizes, and input methods with different hardware capabilities. To add to this, we have nearly 6 generations of IOS mobile devices, iPads, iPods, Blackberry, and Windows mobile OS devices. Thus, the challenge is to cover testing in all the devices used by a client.
The different versions of Operating systems
We have already listed a few Operating systems available in the market – iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, etc to name a few. And each of these has different versions which add to the challenge. Even though the market has the latest version of OS many of the end-users might be using the older version of the Operating system. So testing should cover the latest and most used versions of OS
Different Mobile App types
A mobile app can be a native app, responsive web app, or hybrid app which has both contents. Testing of each such app type is different than another as their implementation is quite different from one another.
A huge number of network providers
According to a private survey, there are more than 350 network providers around the world. Each network provider may use different network standards and different kinds of network infrastructure. So the challenge is to test with the different network providers. The team should be aware of the region where mobile apps are to be used extensively. This will help to identify the major network provider in that region.
Similar to network provider information, the region where mobile apps are used will help to know the language, culture, etc. Apart from the mere translation of contents –regional traits, time zones, and target audiences must be taken into account.
In conclusion, it can easily be observed that given the risk to a brand that companies carry if mobile testing automation is inadequately implemented and also given the complexity of mobile testing automation, companies should and are looking for expertise in this area.