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What to look at when testing a mobile app

The hard truth? Most mobile apps get deleted just six days after they’re last used. With so many applications on the market, you need a way to capture users’ interest. You need to keep them coming back. If they encounter app issues or find your user interface (UI) frustrating, they won’t wait for a fix.

testing a mobile app

The solution? Regular testing to keep your app in tip-top shape. Here’s a list of six ways given by Philip Lew, CEO of XBOSoft, to help you get it right the first time and keep your app in users’ regular rotation.

Get back to basics

Your application might be beautiful, bursting with valuable insight and full of great functions — but it’s worthless if the app won’t launch or randomly closes while in use.

Want better app longevity? Test the basics: Install using multiple app stores and download sites, then install it in a non-default location. Make sure it can download updates; starts properly (every time); and check all graphics across loading, menu and help screens. Then, do it again for every device type that comes to mind.

Target textual satisfaction

Text matters. Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors, then look for text cutoff and overlapping. Why? Because small problems add up and users can find other apps that don’t have textual issues.

Prioritise performance

How well does your app perform? Check to make sure it never “hangs” or appears non-responsive. Then, make sure it doesn’t lag when opening menus or performing actions. Ensure taps and button presses work exactly as described

Address unexpected behaviour

Can your application handle unexpected behaviour? First, consider users: What if they enter erroneous data or press multiple keys in rapid succession? Then, test for conflicts and interruptions. What happens during incoming calls, texts or emails? What if users launch another app, lock their screen, change USB connections or have low battery power?

Check the network

You don’t control the last-mile network, but you can test how your app performs across 3G, 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi connections. You can also test what happens if signal strength varies or the connection cuts in and out.

Inspect UI

Bad UI equals deleted apps. Test all functions across keyboard and touch-screen interfaces; check zoom capability; one-, two, three-, four- and five-finger controls; and make sure all social media features are seamlessly integrated.

Bottom line? Keeping your app on user devices demands an in-depth evaluation and you may want to consider tapping expert help. In-house or outsourced, however, rigorous testing now separates best-of-breed apps from subpar software. Get your mobile app testing right the first time. To learn more, consult the accompanying checklist.

1.      Installation

  • Install app via computer link (i.e. iTunes)
  • Install app via download Internet link (i.e. web app store)

2.      Explore Testing

  • Launch application in target language
  • Ensure that application start up properly on launch
  • Check that orientation is correct on launch
  • Check for application stability
  • Launch and close 5-10 times or more
  • Install app in location other than default
  • Download an update
  • Check graphics appearing in:
    • Splash/title/logo/loading screen
    • Main menu and all its subsidiary menu
    • Help/instruction screen(s)
    • About screen
    • Application pause menu and all its subsidiary
  • Uninstall
  • Install when disks is full

3.      Spelling errors

  • The application must be free of spelling errors
  • A spelling error is defined as a strict misspelling of a word (no grammar or punctuation rules will be applied). Missing diacritical’s and accents (e.g. acutes, cedillas etc.) will not be reported as spelling errors.

4.      Technical text errors

  • The text in application must be clear and readable
  • The application must be free of technical text displace such as:
    • No text cut off
    • Not text overlapping

5.      Application response

  • The application should never leave the user in a position where the state of the application is unknown or appears to be unresponsive (i.e. may have locked up)

6.      Speed and performance

  • The application works in the device it was targeted for. It is usable on the device. The speed of the application is acceptable to the purpose of the application and must not alter the user experience by being uncontrollable.

7.      Unexpected behaviour

  • The application must be able to handle unexpected user behaviour – for example, erroneous actions and multiple key presses

8.      Conflicts/interrupts

  • An income call/video call while using app
  • An incoming SMS while using app
  • Pause and launch music/movie player
  • Pause and launch camera
  • Pause (or not pause) and launch another app
  • Low batter when using app
  • Plug or unplug USB when using app
  • Change USB connection when using app
  • Close/lock screen and open when using app
  • Close mobile before quit app
  • Minimise the app to status bar and launch it
  • Switch to another app, then launch the app from status bar again

9.      Storage

  • Disk usage
  • Memory usage run app for long time and check memory usage
  • Use when disk if full
  • Save/load process when using
  • Synchronise with computer (if applicable)
  • The application must indicate whether data will be permanently deleted or offer easy reversal of the deletion
  • Ensure updates do not corrupt current save data

10. Signal and network performance

  • Use with 3G signal
  • Use with 4G signal
  • Use with LTE signal
  • Use with Wi-Fi signal
  • Verify Bluetooth transfer and connections (if applicable)
  • Use with intermittent signal
  • Use under weak/no signal (such as in high-speed car, basement)
  • Check GPRS data usage
  • Application that uses network capabilities must be able to handle situations where the network connection is not allowed
  • Application that uses network capabilities must be able to handle delays and any loss of connection
  • Application that uses network capabilities must be able to use the connection correctly and correctly close it after using it

11. User interface

  • Check all function keys on mobile for both touchscreen and keyboard
  • Check UI consistency
  • From very small to tablet-size screens, check UI for incorrect handling of components
  • When zooming in and out, check UI for incorrect handling of components
  • Check each input method: both touch screen and keyboard
  • Check 4/5 finger gesture scrolling if available
  • Check swiping consistency and awareness
  • Check that GameCenter feature function if available
  • Check that Facebook feature functions if available
  • Check that Twitter feature function is available
  • Check that the email functions if available
  • Check that in-app purchases functions and no errors occur prior to an or after purchase

12. Compatibility

  • Run of different OS
  • Run on difference devices
  • Change mobiles time/time zone/ date
  • Check after updating OS/firmware
  • Switch to different languages

13. Other

  • Find-ability/usability for all items
  • Response time for each critical task (performance)
  • File format support
  • Error prevention and detection
  • The application must be able to handle the cases where the connection to the PIM application is not allowed
  • When connections are used, encryption is used for sending/receiving sensitive data

14. Login/logout

  • Log in with correct/wrong password
  • Log out
  • Change password
  • Password display (encryption)
  • Security validation
  • Log out and log in with multiple accounts

15. Website

  • Launch by different browser if needed
  • Check the look time and load time
  • Check consistency between mobile site and regular website
  • Launch different version of browser

16. Text entry

  • Switch input methods
  • Check association for each input method

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