Automation of Mobile Testing – When to do and when not to do

Automation of Mobile Testing – When to do and when not to do

| February 6, 2021

“Automated scripts are checking known paths for expected results. That’s not truly testing. Testers discover the unknown, and this skill is still very much so needed, whether there’s automation or not. Without human intuitive exploration, a team may be blind to their most expensive bugs.”— Angie Jones

The above quote lets us understand the power of Manual Testing. However, we cannot always test our mobile applications manually, there are scenarios which specifically require automated mobile application testing.

Mobile applications are the heartbeat of any mobile device, and they should provide a seamless and superior user experience. If they fail to do so, they will be out of the market in no time. Therefore, effective and efficient mobile application testing is a must for developers, testers, and users.

Variations while performing Mobile Application Testing

1. Operating Systems and versions:

Different Operating Systems are running on different devices and we need to ensure good quality of the mobile application on all of them. Devices may have OS like Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, etc. covering all the possible OS and their different versions is a herculean task.

2. Networks:

We have accessibility to different speeds of mobile networks on devices. They can be 3G, 4G, 5G, or Wi-Fi. All of these networks have different data speeds and therefore application experience will differ accordingly. Testing should ensure that the application experience is acceptable on all types of network speeds.

3. Devices:

We have a plethora of device types- Samsung, Apple, Motorola, and many more. Every user has their own opinion and choice, which increases the bar for development and testing. With such a huge spectrum of device types, testing becomes a huge task, because we do not want to lose any user due to the bad quality of testing.

4. Frequent updates:

Already we have a huge permutation and combination of mobile devices, OS, environments, additionally, we tend to receive frequent updates on Operating Systems. This keeps on adding to our to-do task list and we should be well prepared for this since it is inevitable.

How we can be sure of the type of testing to be performed on the mobile application- manual or automated. Isn’t it good to automate everything and then just sit back and enjoy it? Let’s find out.

When not to do Automation of Mobile Testing?

Below are the popular scenarios where we should not try to automate mobile application testing. And better rely on manual testing itself.

1. Small scale projects

Small scale projects have a smaller team and they do not have the bandwidth to take on the extra task of writing automation scripts. These are the cases when it is advisable to do manual testing because that will be less time consuming than writing automation scripts for mobile testing.

2. Gaming applications

These are complex mobile applications, which require the processing of complex gestures like- tap, tilt, swipes, etc. If we try to automate these gestures it will be too difficult and require enormous coding effort. It is advisable to perform manual testing of the gaming applications to reduce scripting effort and time.

3. UI testing

User Interface(UI) can be best tested via real users because we want to test human interaction in this case. The fonts, size, colour, etc. are checked on the interface of the application.

4. Usability testing

The extent to which the mobile application is usable, intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to use is tested in Usability Testing. This testing is done from a user’s perspective, a difficult to understand mobile application can fail in the market.

5. Exploratory testing

QA engineers test the mobile application based on their intuitiveness, creativity, and experience for the first time on the application. In a way, the tester explores the application without any prior knowledge of the application. Hence, this helps to uncover bugs which we cannot find through automated testing.

6. Ad-hoc testing

QA engineers first learn and understand about the mobile application and then they perform the testing, unlike Exploratory Testing. There is no documentation and goal, this helps in uncovering unexpected bugs present in the mobile application.

7. Localisation testing

We need to make sure that the mobile application is not specific to a country, region, or language. We want our application to be globally acceptable, this can be achieved via Localisation Testing. We test that the application is working perfectly for the intended country, region, and language. The signs, logos, text on the buttons, messages, pop-up all these factors require thorough testing according to the region of use.

8. Rarely run test cases

There could be some test cases which require only one or two test runs. We cannot waste effort and time in writing automated scripts for such test cases which will rarely be run again.

When to do Automated Mobile testing

Below are some popular scenarios when Automated Mobile Testing becomes important to be done.

1. Parallel testing

We run thousands of test cases in parallel on multiple devices, platform combinations. This is done to fast-track the testing process in less time. It is quite evident that manual testing is impossible in this scenario and automated testing is the way to go. Testsigma is a perfect AI-based tool for performing parallel testing in thousands of environments, without any coding.

2. Performance testing

We test the performance of mobile applications in various conditions via different techniques like – Load testing, Stress testing, Volume testing, etc. It requires extreme conditions to be simulated which is not possible manually. Thus, performance testing is a particular case which more often than not requires automated testing for successful execution. Read more here.

3. CI/CD testing

DevOps is the buzzword these days and organisations are adopting it all around the globe. Now in the DevOps scenario, we are dealing with Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment/ Delivery. Here, usage of automated tools is the bottom line and therefore we need to automate mobile testing also using Continuous Testing.

4. Testing round the clock

Shorter delivery cycles mean shorter testing cycles, we can cope up with these shorter timelines by testing 24*7. Can we do it manually? No, this is a scenario when mobile testing automation tools are the answer to meeting the delivery deadlines.

5. Regression testing

Regression tests are repeated at a frequent rate in testing cycles. Performing them manually could be boring and mundane, hence it is always a better choice to automated regression tests.

6. Cross-Browser Compatibility testing

We require our application to work seamlessly on any device or browser. We use Cross-Browser Compatibility testing for that purpose where we test on thousands of devices and browser combinations. Definitely, we cannot perform this manually. This is something which can save a lot of testing if automated testing is done. For implementing the automated testing, automated testing tools are needed.

Example: Testsigma, is an automated cross browser testing tool that can save a lot of your testing time

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7. Memory leaks

Memory leaks are caused when the unused memory is not deallocated. Hence the pile of unused memory which is still allocated somewhere keeps on increasing. This results in an application crash and hanging. We need to test memory leaks on multiple devices by running multiple tests. Therefore, this is a situation when mobile automation testing is a better way to do it.

Conclusion

Human interaction related testing like accessibility, user-friendliness, and ease of use is performed better manually. However, the repetitive, mundane, and high volume tasks are not appropriate for manual testing. Therefore, we cannot just choose either manual testing or automation testing, we always need to prepare an appropriate mix of both testing types. Since, our aim is to provide a perfect, efficient, and user-friendly mobile application.