Avoiding App-ocalypse: Why Mobile App Testing is a Must in Retail
Mobile devices are used to shop online and in-store every day. While increasing revenue opportunities for retailers, there is a trade-off. Consumers expect a smooth, consistent, and user-friendly experience regardless of their device, application, or browser.
Software Quality Assurance (QA) teams that automate mobile app testing are able to meet these demands and deliver a flawless user experience time and again.
How is Mobile Technology Changing Retail?
Mobile technology has completely revolutionized our shopping habits, from price comparisons and checking product reviews to digital wallet purchases and personalized push notifications. These interactions are now just part of the overall retail experience and are expected.
However, if you aren't performing mobile application testing when updates and new features are released, the retailer and the customer lose. Software QA teams and testers have never been more critical, as neglecting mobile testing directly impacts the success of an application and, ultimately, customer lifetime value (CLV).
As mobile transactions are expected to reach a ridiculous $728 billion (44%) of retail eCommerce sales in the US by 2025, testers must have a solid strategy with a range of test cases to overcome mobile application testing challenges.
Mobile App Testing Challenges
Before any apps testing begins, it is a good idea to acknowledge the main challenges of mobile application testing, especially if done manually:
- Maintaining physical device farms can be expensive and time-consuming if trying to keep up-to-date on the latest mobile handsets and operating systems.
- Device fragmentation makes functionality testing tricky when every device has its own hardware and software specifications.
- Screen sizes and resolutions will impact your mobile retail app performance. An app that looks awesome on a high-res screen might look crappy on a low-resolution screen, affecting the customer experience.
- Different operating systems (OS), such as iOS and Android, can also create problems because it's hard to predict how well an app works on a different OS without testing loads of devices.
- Integrating with various retail systems, such as payment APIs, inventory, and CRMs, introduces many different technologies that require multiple tools that can complicate mobile app testing.
Important Test Cases for Mobile App Testing
If you are a mobile app tester, it's essential to include a variety of test cases:
- Verify that the app can be installed and launched on different devices and operating systems.
- Testing mobile app compatibility with different screen sizes and resolutions.
- Verify that the app's user interface (UI) is consistent across other devices and operating systems.
- Test the app's functionality under various network conditions (e.g., weak signal, offline).
- Verify that the app can handle large volumes of data and transactions without crashing.
- Testing performance and responsiveness.
- Test the app's integration with other systems (e.g., inventory management, CRM, payment).
- Verify that the app's search and filtering functionality works as expected.
What are the Different Types of Mobile Application Testing?
With the increasing demand for mobile apps and faster releases, QA engineers and testers must have a comprehensive understanding of several types of testing. Here are the six main testing types you should know to ensure that all apps are high-performing and deliver what users expect.
1. Functional Testing
Functional testing is a critical component of software testing that evaluates the app's core functionality and ensures that it works as expected. During functional testing, testers verify that each app feature operates correctly, including its interactions with other components.
In a mobile app, functional testing involves testing user scenarios, such as creating an account, adding items to a cart, making a payment, and receiving notifications. By thoroughly testing these functionalities, a mobile app tester can identify and resolve defects or compatibility issues before the app reaches production. Functional testing ensures users have a seamless and enjoyable experience, which is critical to the app's success.
2. Usability Testing
Testing the user-friendliness of a mobile application is another vital step for testers. Usability testing helps them understand how users interact with an app and identifies any customer experience-related bugs. Testing the UI is different from functional testing; it analyzes the display of visual elements and app usage. Failing to perform usability testing can significantly impact the UX and increase the likelihood of uninstalls.
For an eCommerce mobile app, usability testing involves navigation within the app, button placement, assessing whether pop-ups prevent users from adding items to their carts, and incorrect product images.
Testing usability allows QA engineers to address and fix any issue before an app launches into the market and ensure the experience meets user expectations.
3. Compatibility Testing
Due to the number of operating systems, browsers, and devices available to users, QA engineers must verify an app's ability to run across every scenario as intended. This type of testing is essential to ensure a consistent UX regardless of the technology.
Here are examples of compatibility testing:
- Screen size: verify optimization of the app's UI and functionality for various screen sizes, rotations, and resolutions on different mobile devices.
- Operating systems: ensure compatibility and performance with iOS, Android, and Windows operating systems.
- Browser compatibility: test app functionality on the most popular browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
- Network performance: test and monitor performance under different network conditions, including Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
4. Exploratory Testing
Users interact with mobile applications differently; manual tests cannot anticipate and test every user journey. Automated exploratory testing and the integration of ML-powered algorithms can address this challenge by comprehensively testing all possible user journeys.
ML-powered testing enables mobile app testers to simulate a vast range of user interactions and identify potential defects that would be difficult to uncover through manual testing. This results in increased test coverage and a more thorough evaluation of the application's functionality.
Additionally, intelligent exploratory testing enables QA engineers to identify defects early to prevent flaws from reaching production and negatively impacting the UX.
5. Integration Testing
Integration testing is critical for any mobile application because every app interacts with various technologies, components, and systems. These include web elements, APIs, and backend systems that can impact an app's UI.
Testing the end-to-end data flow between technology layers is crucial for high-quality user experiences. Example test cases could include:
- UI to backend system communication: QA engineers need to test data that enters at the UI level, accurately relays to a backend system, and processes correctly. This may include ensuring that data can be saved, retrieved, and displayed accurately at the UI.
- API functionality: Test API calls to ensure the correct data can be accessed from a backend system.
- Validate objects with the UI and APIs: Confirm that data is correctly interacting with the object layer and triggers the correct UI display and API calls.
- End-to-end data flow: Test the data flow through every layer of app technology. This includes verifying data accuracy in the backend system, API calls, and validating the visual representation at the UI.
6. Performance Testing
QAs must conduct mobile performance testing to assess the app's ability to meet performance requirements under different conditions and usage scenarios. Users expect a mobile app to be fast and responsive, regardless of outside influences.
Performance testing helps identify bottlenecks or limitations impacting the UX, such as heavy usage, slow network conditions, or limited processing power.
Scenarios for performance testing can involve the following types of testing:
- Load testing: managing many concurrent users and testing behavior and functionality under peak load.
- Stress testing: identifying performance limitations when testing an app to its limits, such as dealing with a large volume of data or many users.
- Response time: ensuring your app is fast and responsive, regardless of network conditions to maintain a faultless user experience.
- Network latency: testing the mobile app under slow or unstable network connections to monitor performance issues related to network latency and bandwidth latency.
Mobile App Testing Made Easy with Automated Testing
With numerous different types of testing required, manual mobile app testing on multiple devices can be a pain. It's slow, costly, and holds up release cycles. Open-source mobile testing tools are also limited due to issues with script maintenance and a lack of features and support for testers. But what if we told you there's an automation tool that can accelerate software testing, regardless of the device, and increase the chances of finding defects before they hit the market? Introducing automated testing with Keysight Eggplant.
Eggplant lets you quickly test every user journey in your app across multiple mobile devices. Plus, its flexibility supports easy integration with cloud-based device farms, so your team can access numerous devices and execute test cases tailored to your end-user's needs.
Keysight's Eggplant testing an iPhone 14 Pro remotely utilizing Sauce Labs Real Device Cloud
But it's not just about testing; it's about finding defects too. Eggplant's intelligent automated exploratory testing uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to proactively explore areas close to defects, increasing the chances of finding other bugs. And we all know missed defects can be costly to fix, especially if discovered after release.
In a nutshell, automated testing with Keysight Eggplant helps testers reduce the risk of buggy user experiences, protecting your brand and bottom line and increasing your CLV. Say goodbye to manual mobile testing and hello to faster, more efficient software testing with Keysight.
To continue your learning, watch our in-depth panel discussion, where retail industry analysts and technology experts discuss how retailers can "Unlock the Power of Mobile with Test Automation."
You can also read our comprehensive QA Guide to Mobile App Testing, and you'll soon be releasing high-quality apps that your users will love.