Mobile App Quality Testing
Mobile app quality testing is an essential part of the mobile app development process, yet we find many clients are largely unaware of what it is and why it matters.
Quality Assurance (QA) testing is the process where a person or team validates an app’s design and verifies its functionality. Simply put, it means the app development company takes the time to make sure that the app is easy and intuitive to use, and that it actually works the way it was intended — without the app crashing or acting weird.
Mobile app quality testing has a significant impact on the success of an app because app performance is directly related to user retention. We spoke previously on our blog about the top app performance metrics to monitor, and user retention is one critical measure of success. Retention is driven both by the value proposition of the app and the experience a person has while using it. Effective QA testing helps to ensure that the experience is positive. Few users return to an app that doesn’t perform well.
In addition to the impact mobile app quality testing has on user experience, it can also affect the bottom line. The later problems are discovered, the harder they are to fix — costing both time and money. Further, if problems are not caught prior to app release, they can also cause damage to a brand’s reputation. One relatively recent example of the impact of insufficient QA testing is the Hive heating control app from British Gas. Two different issues in the app, a lack of data encryption and a temperature control glitch, could have led to significant problems for the company. Thankfully, both were noticed early on by consumers and the company did well by addressing them quickly. However, these issues could have been caught even earlier by appropriate QA testing, sparing the company cost and negative press.
While finding and fixing “bugs” is an important part of mobile app quality testing, there is much more involved than just trying to make sure the app doesn’t crash. QA testing starts with a test plan designed to evaluate all the key functionality of the app. Once the developers and QA team have the requirements for the first release of a product, QA creates test cases to ensure it will work as the client and users expect it to.
There are a number of mobile app quality testing methods that are required, in order to help vet all aspects of an app’s performance. Here are the most common:
Unit Testing or Smoke Testing: A unit is the smallest testable part of any software — for example, a code module. This testing is typically handled by the development team and is often done on simulators. Developers write scripts to test the most basic elements of an app, validating each individual unit functions correctly in isolation before integrating it with others.
Functional or Manual: This is done on actual devices in a test environment. Testers ensure that if a functionality is there, it works. For example, a login page should allow you to log in with valid credentials and not allow you access without them. If a button is visible, it should work when tapped. Above all, the app should not crash (stop functioning) in any scenario.
Performance Testing: A step beyond functional, performance testing tells us how well each component works under realistic situations, from heavy workloads to low batteries to different data carriers. Users are entitled to an app that responds quickly to their requests, in any of a variety of scenarios.
Usability Testing: Usability testing goes beyond technical performance; tests are run with the mindset of the individuals who would use the app. Testers evaluate various “use case scenarios” that have been defined for the particular app. The goal is to ensure the design is intuitive, and that end users can enjoy the app without confusion or frustration.
Security (or Vulnerability) Testing: This testing is done to ensure there are no vulnerabilities or holes that could be exploited by hackers. Evaluating security risks is most important for apps that capture user data or other sensitive information.
Device and OS Testing: There are thousands of different mobile device models in existence, as well as numerous operating systems (OS) active at any given time. Device testing seeks to ensure that the app is going to look good and perform well across as many of them as possible.
Regression Testing: Adding new buttons, screens, or other components can break previous functionality. As a result, the app must be retested from the beginning after updates like these are added — and before an app is released to the store. Test planning and documentation are vital, since developers need to know what software version something worked in and when it stopped working.
In summary, mobile app quality testing is an essential investment to ensure the success of your app. There are many methodologies app developers employ to verify that the app will meet user expectations and function as flawlessly as possible. Reach out to us today if you want to learn more about mobile app quality assurance.
If you’re looking to build a custom application, there are many different questions to ask an iOS app development company. Still, one of the most common questions we receive about the development process is whether we recommend building both iOS and Android versions of an app simultaneously or just one at a time. And if app development for each platform occurs at different times, should iOS development or Android development come first? We touch on this question in Chapter 3 of our book InspiringApps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, but we will provide more insight on this debated topic here. Should we develop iOS & Android at the same time? When feasible in mobile app development, we recommend picking a single platform to start with rather than developing for both simultaneously. You may not have that luxury if you’re developing an app to release to consumers who all need to have the mobile app at the same time—perhaps in conjunction with a film or other product release. If it’s possible, though, we think one at a time in the development process is better because it will enable you to learn from your customers on the first platform. Unless a mobile app is extremely simple, it will go through several iterations before it offers the desired experience. Trying to manage learnings across both iOS devices and Android devices is cumbersome. Instead, the feedback and refinements from the first platform can be leveraged to speed mobile app development on the second platform, saving both time and money in producing across mobile devices. What factors should we consider in picking an OS? When advising customers whether to focus on Android development or iOS app development first, we consider these factors to help guide the decision. Industry & Demographics You may find an industry bias for operating systems (OS) that affects your project. For instance, we found iOS devices more prevalent in medical applications, while Android app development seems more prevalent in construction. If you don’t have industry insight, try checking your website’s analytics to determine user platforms. Trends might help decide what type of platform may be best suited. You can also use sites similar to Mixpanel to discover applications and software that would be more suited to that platform. If one platform is used far more than the other, you know a preference exists and should develop accordingly. Likewise, depending on the market you are serving, you may also find that age-related differences affect whether you should focus on iOS app development or Android app development first. Market Share For app developers who intend to produce mobile applications for the general public and do not know the OS preference of their target audience, these market considerations may provide some guidance: In the United States, the market share of both iOS and Android has stayed just about constant over the past year, hovering at or around 60% and 40%, respectively. In Europe, the UK, Asia, and many other countries, Android has had a higher market share than iOS. Android maintained its lead in global market share capturing around 70% in August of 2022. Android devices have captured most of the global market share for many years. Google provides free, open-source software that manufacturers can install on their smartphone devices. Because of the large number of Android users and the lower cost of Android devices to consumers, Android developers are at an advantage in many markets. Unquestionably, Android is the world’s most popular smartphone OS. However, Apple has a powerful brand, particularly in the US, where Apple's ecosystem, stable OS, and device durability enable iOS to keep large numbers of active and premium smartphone users. OS Adoption Rates & Upgrade Complexity Apple has a remarkable track record of getting iOS users to upgrade to current versions of its OS, whereas Android adoption is much slower: As of May this year, 89% of users are on the current iOS. As much as 60% of users keep older versions of Android on their phones. Apple handles the distribution of its iOS updates exclusively. Developing for and supporting a smaller number of OS versions on Apple devices leads to quicker builds, faster testing, and more straightforward support in the long run for iOS developers. Google only gives direct updates to its products, like the Pixel series. Other manufacturers like Samsung must first get the update from Google and optimize it for Android devices before they can send it to Android users. Some mobile carriers also go through updates before distribution, too. Android developers may have to deliver more app fixes as a result. Speed & Ease of Development & Publishing Speed and ease of development and publishing are not as cut and dry in terms of pros and cons. Android pros include: The Android platform enables a more flexible development environment. Because Windows, Mac OS, and Linux all support Java—which Android relies on—Android developers can build Android apps on various machines. Google Play allows developers to publish multiple versions of the same app (alpha and beta) to ensure developers can test the app live, fix bugs, and launch it to a broader audience. However, developing and maintaining apps is generally more time-consuming for Android than for iOS: Whereas iOS developers build for a limited type of device (iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch), Android accessibility to a wide range of devices means more devices to test and support. Google has become less lenient and more time-consuming towards apps that developers want to post on Google Play, narrowing the line between ease of publishing on Google Play vs. the App Store. And through TestFlight, Apple does support previewing versions of an app with up to a thousand beta testers before releasing it for wide distribution in the Apple App Store. Development Cost & Profit Opportunities Cost and profit will vary depending on the type and complexity of the app you’re developing; still, Android apps are generally more expensive to create than iOS apps are for iPhones. Overall, Android users tend to favor free apps and spend less on in-app purchases than iOS users, which can lead to higher sources of profit on iOS, not accounting for market differences. Should we develop for iOS or Android first? If you’ve considered all the above factors, and neither platform is the clear winner, we’d recommend starting with iOS for a US-focused app. Our reasons are speed to market, lower development cost, and revenue generation potential. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your particular situation or have other questions on this topic. We’d love to hear from you.
in 6 hours
Boulder, CO—InspiringApps, a premier web and mobile app development company, is proud to be Certified™ by Great Place to Work® for the second year in a row. The prestigious award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience as part of InspiringApps’ team. This year, 92% of employees said it’s a great place to work—35% higher than employees at a typical US-based company. InspiringApps recently celebrated its 15th birthday. Over the years, its leaders have rolled out various initiatives to boost employee engagement and retention. Listening to employee feedback is a big part of that. For example, team feedback as a result of last year’s Great Place to Work survey created IA Commits, pairing inspiring not-for-profit clients with developers who can use a hand-up early in their software career. “InspiringApps wouldn’t be what it is today without our amazing people,” said Brad Weber, CEO and President of InspiringApps. “InspiringApps is better because of the people who work here. We are all passionate about our craft and united in our goal to make a real difference in the world.” According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits, and have a fair chance at promotion. “Great Place to Work Certification™ isn’t something that comes easily—it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Global Recognition at Great Place to Work. “It’s the only official recognition determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that InspiringApps is one of the best companies to work for in the country.” About InspiringApps App development that makes an impact. InspiringApps builds digital products that help companies impact their employees, customers, and communities. Yes, we build web, mobile, and custom apps, but what we offer is something above and beyond that. What we offer is inspiration. Our award-winning work has included 200+ apps since the dawn of the iPhone. Our core values: integrity, respect, commitment, inclusivity, and empathy. Our guarantee: finish line, every time, for every project. About Great Place to Work® Certification™ Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience—specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace. Great Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified. About Great Place to Work® Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting, and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™. Learn more at greatplacetowork.com and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
18 hours ago