At first glance, testing a mobile app may not look much different than testing a traditional desktop app. Mobile and desktop apps are often written in the same language and hosted on the same server. It should also meet the same basic user expectations in areas such as loading speed and accessibility.
But if you dig into the details, you’ll find that mobile apps are radically different beasts than desktop apps, and by extension mobile testing requires a unique approach. A software testing strategy that works for desktop apps cannot be ported to mobile apps as-is.
In this article, we’ll discuss five key reasons why mobile testing requires a different strategy than testing desktop applications, and the unique needs QA engineers should consider when testing apps.
1. Mobile configuration variability
Perhaps the biggest difference between mobile and desktop testing is that engineers have a much wider range of configurations for mobile apps.
In the desktop world, there are only two major operating systems, Windows and macOS, with relatively few OS versions per family. PCs and laptops come in many varieties, but they all adhere to the same basic hardware standards.
In contrast, over 24,000 different types of Android mobile device Not to mention iOS devices that increase hardware diversity. We also have a wide selection of mobile operating systems and versions.
For QA teams, this means more variables to test on mobile devices.It also means you need to test more efficient This allows engineers to test as many potential configurations as possible without slowing down the software release cycle.
2. Lack of mobile testing standards
Traditional web-based desktop apps have a consistent set of standards that the app must adhere to when rendering content. Specifically, a standard set by the W3C, a consortium advocating for a standards-based, interoperable world. wide web.
However, in the mobile space there is no equivalent of the W3C standard. Apps can render content in many different ways, many of which are device-specific.
Again, this increases the need for specific test teams to consider more variations and edge cases. For desktop apps, it is often enough to ensure that the app complies with his W3C standards, but mobile testing is not so straightforward.
3. Specific Mobile Accessibility Requirements
Accessibility testing, which ensures that accessibility features such as the ability to increase text size work properly, provides a great experience for all users, whether they access the app using a desktop or mobile device important to
However, mobile devices make accessibility testing more difficult because there is a greater chance of errors in implementing accessibility features. For example, if device screen sizes decrease and the average screen size fluctuates more, your app might cut some text off the screen when the text size increases. Alternatively, the on-screen “Night Mode” feature creates less contrast between the text and the background than expected, which may cause accessibility issues for some users.
A mobile testing strategy should be able to accommodate these risks, which are less pronounced for desktop apps.
4. Differences in the mobile environment
By definition, mobile devices can be used in different physical settings. Depending on where users access your mobile app, your application’s performance can be affected by a variety of environmental factors that don’t typically apply to desktop apps.
For example, limited network connectivity can degrade application performance when users travel far from cell towers. Or, the power saving features of a mobile device running on low battery can slow down the app rendering content.
Again, these factors create additional risks that QA teams need to address when planning their testing routines.
5. Mobile testing is risky
It’s a best practice to strive to provide the best possible experience for all users, whether they’re on desktop or not. But the reality is that poor user experience in mobile apps tends to hurt a company’s brand.
The reason for this is that users can easily underscore the poor performance of your app by rating it poorly or leaving negative comments on the marketplace. Unlike mobile apps, most desktop apps aren’t downloaded through a centralized marketplace with user ratings, so you can’t do these things for most desktop apps.
This difference does not make mobile testing technically difficult. It’s important to perfect your testing strategy. Companies reputationally have more to lose by delivering buggy apps than poor quality desktop apps.
Conclusion: The Need for a Dedicated Test Solution
All of the above are reasons why we need more testing strategies and solutions designed specifically for mobile.
Historically, QA teams have often tried to extend their desktop testing strategies to accommodate mobile when adding apps to their catalog, but that approach has been unsuccessful. Mobile apps and devices are too fundamentally different to be squeezed into a desktop-centric testing routine. The sooner QA engineers realize this, the sooner they can optimize her experience.