Top Tips to Master Your Way through Mobile Test Automation

Mobile App Testing
29May, 2018

Mobile Application testing is one of the most sensitive areas in automation testing and therefore require special attention. Usability, especially mobile usability, is a huge, complex, and important topic. Good usability requires lots of refining, intense user research, and even more testing with real users. It is important that your app be easy to use; otherwise, it might end up with low ratings, which cause damage to the app’s and possibly your company’s reputation.

Some basic tips that can help you master your way through test automation are given below:

  1. Less Is More

When testing the usability of an app, the design principle ‘Less is More’ is a good starting point. Check the app for useless navigation elements and buttons. If you find any, talk to your team or the usability expert and get them removed. The same applies to text and words. Remove them if they are not required to interact with the app. Try to focus on the primary content of the app. Keep the goal and the problem the app should solve in mind and get rid of anything that is distracting.

  1. Self-Explanatory

Check if the app is self-explanatory. Ask yourself these questions: Is the user able to see the elements with which he or she can interact? Is every element on the screen clear and understandable? This aspect of usability testing gets more difficult over time because the more you work with the app, the blinder you will become to things that are not self-explanatory. You will most likely be used to potential usability issues. In that case, it makes sense to ask colleagues not involved in the app development process or your customers for early feedback.

Automation Testing
Automation Testing
  1. Pay Attention to Patterns

Every app should follow a usability and design pattern. If such a pattern is in place, verify that your app follows those rules. If there is no pattern available, keep an eye on the look-and-feel of the app. Same type-elements such as buttons or text labels should have the same spacings, sizes and colours. Check that all of the elements are accessible, for example, that buttons can also be tapped by a person with thicker fingers and on different screen sizes and densities. Also, check the default patterns that are provided by the mobile platforms as your app should at least follow those patterns.

  1. Allow Mistakes

In order to provide a truly usable app, your app must allow users to make mistakes. If a user, for example, misses a required input field, provide friendly and useful error messages. Check that the error messages are not too generic and that they describe the error in a way that people without a technical background can easily understand. Furthermore, nice error highlighting should be in place to show the user the mistake he or she made. Keep your target customer group in mind when verifying error messages as this will have an impact on the wording. Besides that, your app should provide undo and go back actions in order to offer the user an easy way to correct errors. Another approach may involve user input recommendations or so-called type-ahead searches, which provide the user with possible input solutions; for example, when he or she is typing “New Y,” the app will suggest New York as a possible input.

  1. Check Workflows, Details, and Navigation

If your app follows a special workflow, check that it follows the same workflow in every section. Keep an eye on the details of those workflows. Be sure that buttons, labels, and other elements are big or small enough to be used. Screen division is important, so check the app on smaller and bigger screens. Also, keep an eye on visual transitions such as animations or elements that fade in or out. Make sure you also use slow devices to check that all of your animations are smooth enough.

  1. Check the Wording

Verify that the text used within the app is clear and easy to understand. Ask different people if they understand the wording and the feature behind it. If your app contains text, it must be free of typos as they can be very embarrassing and have an impact on your store reviews and ratings as well as your reputation. If your app supports more than one language, be sure the text fits into every UI element and that the translation is correct. Don’t forget to test your app for placeholder texts like “Lorem ipsum” or any other default texts from developers or designers.

  1. Check Consistency

A really important task within mobile usability testing is to check for consistency. Verify that your app is consistent with every section or view. The UI elements must have the same look-and-feel, the same text, spacings, colours and images. Furthermore, it is really important to check that your app is consistent over all of the supported mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry, not just in terms of navigation or patterns (each mobile platform has its own rules), but by ensuring that the texts, colours and images are the same. Make sure you also check the consistency of any offered Web or desktop applications that provide a different view to your application.

Thus, testing the functionality is one of the most important aspects of every software project. Depending on your app, functional testing will be different for every project. Test to make sure that all the functions perform as they should, for example, inputs, outputs, tappable buttons, navigation and data processing. Test the functionality in different mobile user scenarios and environments. Keep the sensors and interfaces of a mobile device in mind while testing the functionality.

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