Mobile Test Automation: How to Select the Right Tools for your Next Project?

In the current era of agile software development methodologies, almost every step of the development cycle requires automation testing to accelerate the process. Mobile application testing is a crucial area where organizations struggle to perform automation testing.  One of the primary reasons being the abundance of different mobile devices produced every year. Often software project teams perform detailed analysis before selecting the right tool for test automation. In terms of mobile testing, the best way for organizations to select the right automation tool is to first understand the challenges faced in mobile automation testing & then compare the different tools based on project requirement to narrow down the result. The mobile testing landscape is becoming more sophisticated every day and here are some challenges that companies should look out for.

Challenges Faced in Mobile Automation Testing

1. Abundance in Mobile Production: According to the Android Fragmentation Report in 2014, there were 18,796 distinct Android devices (compared to 11,868 devices in 2013) in the market. Over the years, the device fragmentation value has been growing at a rate of 20% per year. All these mobile devices differ in shapes, sizes, performance levels, screen sizes, processors and input methods with different hardware capabilities. In addition to this, we have nearly 6 generations of iOS mobile devices, iPads, iPods, BlackBerry mobiles and Windows Mobile OS devices. Therefore, the primary challenge for any mobile testing team is to cover a wide array of mobile models being produced every year.

2. Different Versions of Operating Systems: Famous mobile operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, Symbian, BlackBerry OS have multiple versions released every year which poses further complications during testing. In addition to this, even with a new OS release, a few customers would prefer to work with their existing OS based on their personal preferences. Hence the test automation scope should cover both older & latest versions of the respective operating systems so as to ensure application availability for all the existing and new customers.

3. Different App types:  The mobile apps are again built under 3 categories: Native, Web & Hybrid models. Each of these categories differs in terms of their architecture, performance, UI, internet connectivity and several other crucial factors. For instance, a responsive web application using JavaScript can drain a mobile battery faster than native apps. This poses a challenge for teams to clearly understand the different bottleneck scenarios of the 3 app models before testing. 

4. A Plethora of Network Providers: According to a private survey, there are more than 350 active network providers around the world. Each provider is inclined to use different standards, infrastructures, rules & guidelines based on their preference. A huge responsibility lies in mobile testing to make the apps compatible with these different network providers. An ideal way to tackle this challenge is to identify the regions where the respective mobile apps are used extensively and narrow down to selected network providers that are more active in that area. 

5. Internationalization: Modern apps are required to be dynamic & adapt based on the user’s location. For instance, a taxi-booking mobile app should be capable of adapting to the dynamic currency values if the user travels to a different country. Apart from the currency conversion, from a testing point-of-view, one needs to take into account the time zones, language formats and other regional traits to fine-tune the app for target customers.

Tools Comparison

Mobile app development and testing can pose a lot of different challenges when compared to embedded desktop software. Let us compare a few leading mobile automation tools with respect to operating systems and the supported mobile app type.

 

Tool Comparison of mobile automation testing_mobile automation testing tools_tool ComparisonProof Of Concept (POC)

Before going into any full-fledged automation it is always recommended to perform a POC with the selected tool(s). Ideally, the selected tools should be subjected to various challenging test cases to identify potential bottlenecks that could come along the way. In addition to that, performing POC is cost-efficient since most available tools offer a free trial version that can be used to perform short-term tests.

The following activities are to be taken care of during a POC:

  • Perform tool feasibility test on a couple of devices and platforms.
  • Always select a tool that supports simulators and devices.
  • Identify a couple of devices with different OS versions
  • Select a complex test cases/scenarios satisfying the following points
    • It covers all critical components of the application, including the scenarios with gestures.
    • It is an area where the client pays more importance.
  • If the application has issues, automate it and showcase that the respective issue is identifiable using the script execution.

After executing the scripts, create a manual scorecard for the tools in a table and select the one that gets the maximum score. The POC should also consider the mechanism to handle situations like an interruption with network or hardware issues such as changes in battery condition & processor overheating.

Best Practices in Mobile Automation Testing

  • Make note of every estimation effort including the efforts involved in integrating the application with a 3rd party software.
  • It is ideal to estimate the costs before or during the POC stage of the project.
  • Understand the target user base, their location, and other regional traits to fine-tune the application further. 
  • Selecting a test automation tool with advanced community support is often preferable. 
  • During the tool evaluation period, it’s recommended to make note of the efforts spent, technologies & skills utilized and the list of tasks required to carry out mobile test automation.

Conclusion

When it comes to mobile automation testing, plenty of factors such as environmental setup, device & network compatibility and existing user base should be considered beforehand to carry out an effective app testing strategy. This blog depicts an overview of how the different available tools can be leveraged accordingly, to build a fast-paced testing environment that gains client satisfaction as well as improve the existing user base of a product.

InApp has been a consistent testing partner for many companies across the globe, enhancing their sophisticated products to provide a hassle-free experience for their end-customers. If you are looking for a reliable testing partner who can provide efficient mobile automation testing services, reach us out here for a free consultation with our experts.

 

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Author: InApp
We are a custom software development company offering Testing Services, Application Development, Mobility Solutions & more. Customers: Startups - Fortune 500

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