How does the app testing process look like?
To invent and create an app is one thing but to make it stable and reliable is a different story. When bringing up the subject of testing, people tend to think about analyzing product performance when it is already used by the users. The crucial part of building an app is, in fact, the testing process that takes place prior to release. Since it’s a broad topic we will focus solely on native mobile apps.
Who is a Tester?
In a team of developers, there should be a person responsible for double-checking and testing the app under development. This is what a software tester does. He tests the app for bugs, errors, and problems that can have a negative influence on the general performance of the product. Since it’s a very complex task usually there is a team of test engineers that make sure the introduced changes did not affect the code of an app. The responsibilities of a software tester are as follows:
- conducting test processes,
- creating test cases and the data,
- participate in walkthroughs of testing procedures,
- preparing reports of their work,
- ensuring the adequate standard of all tests,
Know the difference
In the IT industry, we have different kinds of applications. There are Native, PWA, and Hybrid apps. Progressive Web App was already discussed in one of the articles. As a reminder, it’s an app that can work like a typical website. You just open it using one of the browsers. Native apps of which we will talk are those made specifically for use on mobile or tablets. Knowing that the hybrids have a mix of characteristics of PWA and native applications. You need to know the difference between the types since each of them requires a different testing process and you build them for different purposes.
Testing requires proper tools. Currently, the leading one is Experitest but the choice is enough so you can pick something for you. The process can be done manually or automatically. The last one requires emulators. They enable one computer system to imitate the work of a different computer system. This way you can test the app on different platforms without actually changing the device.
They are also a form of automated testing. The difference is that emulators are suitable for testing the outer behavior of an app while simulators are better in testing the inside, for instance, its internal hardware. Here the most important is to work on the tools that you are familiar with but at the same time don’t rely solely on the automation. Automated technics can save you a lot of time so use them when testing complex scenarios in the app. However, choose manual testing when checking a certain feature. It gives more accurate data through the process.
A tester is provided with screen layouts, navigational charts and checks the project requirements for inconsistency. Here is when the test plan and test cases are prepared. The tester can also consult the UX flow of the app with designers. Thanks to that he can help to check if the design is implemented properly.
The app is tested for its basic functionalities. The tester checks if the product is able to perform certain functions listed in the requirements and the specification. Those are, for instance, installation of the app, availability of the user manual, saving of user data, power consumption, incoming/outgoing calls during the usage, fetching and displaying data from the server, disconnecting and connecting the network.
The next one is to make sure that the app works in an intuitive way and provides a good level of user experience. The product has to provide satisfaction, efficiency, and effectiveness. Elements that should be considered here are, for instance, size and placement of the buttons, colors and general look of the icons and images, the clarity and visibility of the text, checking zoom in and zoom out, the work in multitasking mode, and the speed of the response. Here is where testers can collaborate with designers to develop better final results.
The user interface has to coincide with the given specifications. In order to check that, a tester should pay attention to different screen resolutions and how they change the graphical layout. Then verify the responsiveness of the app on different devices, test the main design elements like buttons, images, text boxes, captions, and fonts. Also, check if the advertisements overlap the graphics and how it behaves when changing the page orientation from portrait to landscape.
Here is when you test the app on different mobile devices, Internet browsers or screen sizes. A tester has to conduct cross-platform testing to test the app on different systems such as Windows, iOS, Android, etc. Then cross-browsers testing to check the work on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, etc. Next, the back-end and its efficiency are taken under the microscope. Last but not least, check the work on the smartphone and tablet with a different network configuration (GSM, TDMA) and 2G, 3G, 4G, and (in the future) 5G.
Now it’s time to test the product under different scenarios. The main goal of this stage is to simulate all of the possible interactions between the app, the system, and the users. Testers check for instance the response time, the work during unstable or poor network connection as well as how many users can simultaneously work with the app.
Almost done. Here testers need to validate if the product’s system protects users’ data. That means no access to sensitive content, no entry from unauthorized sources. Oh, and a strong password to prevent hacker attacks.
It’s the final stage that takes place just before the official release. People who want to test the app as the first users usually enroll via email to be on the list of beta testers. They are then required to follow the directions of the company and it is always to not publish any screenshots of the product and to report any bugs spotted during usage. At this stage, testers need to decide on the number of participants, the duration of testing and also the cost of it. A good sample of beta testers will include people who have already had an experience with a similar type of app.
Is all of that really necessary?
It’s highly important if you think about legal liability. Poor functioning security (or no security) let unauthorized people enter the app. That means they get access to the personal data of your users. You risk their safety and the safety of your company if you neglect double-checking especially when it comes to security testing. Testing stages should provide protection so that people always know what they’ve just clicked. Always test your product before launching. And if you want to make it right, don’t automate everything. The real users and data from manual testing are the most valuable source of information.