Magic of Mobile Testing

The Magic of Mobile Testing

Lloyd Roden 
6. des. 2017

We have seen an explosion of mobile devices and mobile applications during the past decade. It is estimated that by the end of 2019 there will be in excess of 6.4 billion smartphone users worldwide.

Organizations are seeing the power and potential of the mobile world with more people becoming reliant on their mobile devices for everyday activity. With even more organizations developing mobile applications there is a desperate need for testers to be able to adapt to the testing of the mobile applications and understand the differences between mobile and desktop applications and the challenges that testers face.

I think that “mobile application development and testing” will become more and more important and that is why I was encouraged to see a qualification available for mobile testers, as this was certainly needed.

Why the ASTQB Mobile Tester qualification?

It was about a year ago when I was looking into offering a mobile testing qualification. ISTQB couldn’t seem to decide between; creating their own qualification, adopting the iSQI Certified Mobile Application Professional (CMAP) scheme or adopting the ASTQB Mobile Tester qualification.

It would seem that the ISTQB route would take a very long time so I researched both CMAP and the ASTQB Mobile Tester and decided to choose the ASTQB route for the following reasons:

  • Trainers were allowed to develop their own materials and become accredited. This option was not available for the CMAP scheme and I always take pride in the materials I produce, making them informative, challenging and fun
  • The BCS had agreed to adopt the ASTQB scheme as part of its portfolio
  • The syllabus was very detailed and conformed to the ISTQB structure, which made it easy to create materials for accreditation.
  • The exam was available from the BCS and it is also available online. A sample paper was also available from ASTQB.

Read about and sign up for the ASTQB Mobile Tester course at Bouvet here

What would the benefit be from this course?

Developers and testers are constantly faced with incredible challenges when creating desktop and web-based applications. All of these challenges still exist with mobile applications but there are many new challenges that present themselves to the mobile application team.

During the course challenges such as these will be discussed and debated through practical exercises, equipping the tester to become more effective and efficient with the time available:

  • Types of mobile applications that can be developed and how testing need to adapt.
  • Understanding the customer’s expectations with mobile applications and what could happen when these expectations are not met.
  • Overcoming the combinatorial explosion of tests by drastically reducing the number of tests to a manageable size but still providing confidence that the tests will find lots of bugs.
  • Recognizing suitable tools and test environments needed for competent testing. When to use emulators, simulators, cloud-based solutions and mobile test labs.
  • Applying the normal test design techniques to a mobile application as well as specific mobile techniques and heuristics.
  • How to apply a lightweight risk approach to a mobile project maximizing the time available for test execution.

Mobile technology is here to stay

It is hard to predict what is going to happen with technology in the future and it is even harder to imagine that technology can increase at the rate it has done during next decade. The world is moving faster than ever towards minimized gadgets. Smartphone user statistics are rewritten almost every week.

One thing is for sure – mobile technology is here to stay. There will be more devices, new innovations for the devices, more wearable devices. We already have fingerprint recognition, retina scanners and facial recognition on the devices.

Customers will expect the next generation of mobile applications to use these device features and the applications to be; easy to use, perform fast, secure, accurate and reliable. They will also expect the behavior of the application to be the same regardless of the device that is chosen. Every day millions of users depend on their mobile browser to update themselves with current happenings, mail services, social networks etc. More people are stepping away from their desktops and laptops and getting more dependent on their handheld devices.

This provides us with a large window of opportunity to tap into. All companies are now exploring the option to drive their world from the fingertips. Applications are being uploaded into the app stores of leading mobile providers at a speed, which is beyond comprehension. Testing must keep pace with this growing industry, faster and more continuous releases together with feature rich applications.   

There’s an app for that!

We have often heard the phrase “there’s an app for that” and in most cases it is true. It wasn’t so long ago we saw Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies, driving his BMW car from an application on his phone. Many of us, including me, said “as if”, and yet we now have that capability for many of the new cars being manufactured.

We can now pay for items using our phone, order taxis, check the weather, watch the news, transfer money all from the comfort of our mobile devices. Applications are flooding onto the market and studies shows that there are more than 4.6 million apps just for the Apple and Android markets alone.

The trend is that there will be even more applications produced, existing applications updated to take into account the new device technology and even more devices to support.

Don’t get a poor rating for your mobile application

With so many applications available the competition is fierce, which means that your application must stand out from the crowd. Testing mobile applications must be approached very differently to testing normal applications otherwise it will be deleted just as quickly as it was downloaded. Not only that, but people leave feedback and ratings which will influence future downloads. It is satisfied customers who make an application a big success.

It is interesting the type of feedback that is provided, these are just some of the comments for the same application all provided on the same day:

  • What happened? (one star)
  • App is so easy to use (five stars)
  • Dreadful (one star)
  • It just gets worse (one star)
  • Love it (five stars)
  • Rubbish (one star)

One of the major problems in developing and testing mobile applications that I encounter is that companies approach the development of mobile applications in the same way as developing web-based applications and desktop applications. We must realize that they are completely different in many ways:

Mobile applications:

  • Are often used when moving around
  • Should provide a simple solution to a complex problem
  • Must make use of the mobile technology such as facial recognition for logging in
  • Need to have a consistent look and feel regardless of the device type
  • Have a wide and varied user base
  • Are prone to specific mobile interrupts such as phone calls, texts, network connectivity and low battery

Testing must adapt to this new way that software is being used and need to increase their skills and knowledge so that the mobile applications provide the customer with an excellent experience.

Testing should always remember that a mobile application is provided to simplify an activity rather than make it more complex and to enthuse the user rather cause them frustration.

Although the ASTQB Mobile Tester course is two days, it is packed with information to help testers test mobile applications in a way that will hopefully provide feedback such as:

  • Works perfectly (five stars)
  • Super easy (five stars)
  •  A fast and secure app (five stars)
  • The app is far better than the organization (five stars)
  •  Amazing (five stars)

All of these were provided for the same app on the same day.

In addition there is an exam to test your understanding and to show others of your knowledge to test mobile applications with confidence, effectiveness, passion and efficiency.

Read about and sign up for the ASTQB Mobile Tester course  December 11-12.