How do you decide your approach for mobile website testing?

How do you decide your approach for mobile website testing?

| January 29, 2021

The meteoric emergence of smartphones is nothing short of phenomenal, as a growing number of consumers are leveraging the potential offered by the smartphone ecosystem. As per April 2019 data of Statistica[1], the global mobile population accounted for 4 billion unique users. That’s not all, the global mobile traffic is expected to increase sevenfold between 2017 and 2022.

The daily media consumption on mobile devices has grown by 504 percent since 2011[2]. The rise of mobile internet usage is evident across developed economies as well as developing ones (India, Bangladesh, etc.)[3]. Globally, consumers are preferring their mobile phones for performing activities (e.g. online shopping, bill payments, etc.) that require internet connectivity.

This essentially means that your website should not only be mobile-friendly but it should also have a Responsive Web Design so that your target customers can access your products (or services) with ultra-ease on their hand-held devices. Mobile-first design should be accompanied with mobile website testing for delivering a flawless web experience to your target audience.

With a plethora of mobile devices, it becomes a daunting task to offer the best experience on all mobile devices. Different screen resolutions and viewport sizes add another layer of complexity to mobile website testing. In this blog, we deep dive into the various aspects of mobile website testing, including the tools that can accelerate the testing process.

Why should you focus on Mobile Website Testing?

Testing the website for mobile compatibility and responsiveness drives a positive customer experience. You also gain an upper edge over your competition when mobile website testing is an integral part of the product development roadmap. Here are major reasons to focus on mobile testing of your web product:

1. Mobile-first indexing

Popular search engines like Google give preference to websites that are mobile-ready[4]. If your web product is not mobile compatible, chances of appearing on search results (in the first few pages) are grim.

Mobile website testing helps in serving your customers with a flawless performance on popular screen resolutions. It also helps you gain more leads as chances of coming up on search engines increases manifold when your website is built with a mobile-first approach in mind.

2. Speed and Accuracy

Personalization and Convenience are the primary reasons why consumers prefer mobile phones over desktops/laptops. As a part of the mobile website testing strategy, your team tests the website from different perspectives on varied mobile screen resolutions.

This in turn helps in building a more responsive web experience for your intended audience.

3. Exceptional User Experience

A good user experience plays a pivotal role in on-boarding new users and keeping the existing users hooked on to the product. This can only be realized by performing thorough mobile website testing on devices widely used by your target customer segment.

4. Mobile Device Compatibility

Giving priority to mobile website testing does not mean that you have to perform testing on all ‘categories’ of mobile phones available in the market. Data based on the market segmentation can help your team in focusing on a selected category of smartphones.

The next step is testing the website’s experience and performance on the target devices and fixing the issues encountered in the test process. By following this approach, mobile website testing helps in building a mobile-first website experience.

Mobile website testing lets you deliver an exceptional end-user experience across different mobile devices – a factor that can go a long way in wooing your customers.

How to execute an effective mobile website testing strategy

First and foremost, you cannot take a big-bang approach for mobile web testing else your testing process might enter into a potential deadlock state! Prioritization of product features and mobile devices (on which testing has to be performed) should be the starting point of the process. With this, let’s look at some of the best approaches & tools that can help in building a rock-solid mobile website testing strategy:

Validation of HTML and CSS Code

To start with, you have to validate the website (or web app) code for the removal of potential HTML and CSS errors. Rather than following a manual approach for HTML and CSS code validation, it is recommended to use open-source tools like W3C mobileOK Checker.

It is one of the most handy tools when it comes to checking the mobile-friendliness of your website. The tool also gives a detailed report about the failures on the website that are further sorted on a severity basis (i.e. Critical, Severe, Medium, and Low).

Chrome Dev Tools is also one of the preferred tools for checking and fixing issues related to the HTML and CSS code of your website. It also lets you perform mobile website testing on throttling network conditions – a scenario that is so real in today’s world where the usage of mobile internet is rising at an alarming rate!

Mobile Friendliness Testing

Mobile-Friendly test from Google is another useful tool that helps in testing the mobile-friendliness of your website.

You also get a site-wide mobile usability report that gives insights into your site’s CTR (Click Through Rate), mobile usability enhancements, and more.

Responsive Web Testing

If you are on the lookout for a free option that helps in responsive testing of your website or web app, you should checkout Responsinator. With Responsinator, you can perform mobile website testing on various screen resolutions. It is also used for testing the website’s layout – an integral part of a mobile website.

A browser tool like Responsinator also lets you resize the website to suit specific device viewports. However, it can only be used for performing a basic sanity test. Apart from Responsinator, many other tools can assist you with responsive web design testing.

Testing selectively on device emulators and real devices

The million-dollar question is “Should you use emulators or real devices or both for performing mobile website testing”?  Setting up a device farm is an expensive and non-scalable option. Emulators are good for user interface testing. You can make use of device emulators for performing tests where the major focus areas are the website’s UI, UX, and other aesthetic factors.

Real devices should be used for performance testing. Device cloud testing is the best way to scale up the number of devices & operating systems on which tests are performed. With Testsigma, you can perform flawless mobile website testing on real devices that are not maintained by your organization.

Cloud device testing is the most preferred option when tests have to be run on real devices that are used by your target customers. By leveraging the Testsigma ecosystem, you can run cross-browser tests on 2,000+ Android and iOS devices on Testsigma’s cloud.

Automation tests for testing your website’s performance and user-interface can be run at scale on real devices that are neither owned nor maintained by you. The entire mobile website testing activity can be expedited by running tests in parallel on different combinations of browsers, platforms, and real mobile devices.

Mobile emulators when used in conjunction with real devices will help in unearthing the issues related to UI, UX, performance, and other critical aspects related to your mobile website.

Automation Testing on a scalable and secure Cloud

Once you have outlined the testing process and prioritized the website features for testing, the critical step is choosing the ‘best’ approach to perform testing at scale. Test automation is best-suited for tests that have a predictable outcome, as the tests can be automated using some testing framework. The downside of choosing a testing framework is that the expertise of the black-box testing team cannot be leveraged for this activity.

Testsigma is one such platform that lets you deliver an awesome mobile app experience for your customers. The uniqueness of Testsigma is that no coding expertise is required for performing mobile website testing. This provides an opportunity to project stakeholders like QA Engineers, QA Managers, Product Managers, Program Managers, etc. for participating in the mobile website testing process. Along with website testing, Testsigma can also be used for mobile app testing and API testing.

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Automation Tests are written in simple and easy English, thereby resulting in reduced test maintenance and less flaky tests. Rather than running the tests on a less scalable & high-maintenance in-house infrastructure, automation tests can be performed on Testsigma’s scalable, secure, and low maintenance cloud.

Testsigma also supports integration with:

i.      CI/CD tools (Jenkins, Circle CI, etc.)

ii.     Project Management tools (JIRA, ALM, etc.)

iii.      Communication tools (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.)

iv.     Bug reporting tools (JIRA, Bugzilla, etc.)

Thus, automation tests can be run as an ‘integrated process’ rather than a ‘standalone’ process –  a necessity where CI/CD has become an integral part of the software development & testing process. You can refer to our detailed coverage on getting started with mobile app and mobile website testing using Testsigma.

Choosing the right approach to mobile website testing

When it comes to mobile web testing, choosing the right strategy (or approach) becomes extremely important. Remember, the right strategy will help in accelerating the TTM (Time To Market). It also helps in seeking feedback and fixing issues that are reported by your early set of users.

So, which approach should you choose – Manual or Automated or a mix of both? As per my experience, here are list of cases which QA Managers would want to consider when opting for mobile website testing:

1. Small Projects – For bootstrapped startups who are working on a tight budget and tighter deadlines, automation testing might be too much to afford. For mobile websites (and apps) with simpler user-flow, manual testing might be sufficient. The primary reason is there aren’t many complicated scenarios that need exhaustive testing.

With the introduction of newer features, you might want to scale up the efforts involved in testing. This is where startups can choose freemium products like Testsigma that let you perform automation testing at scale.

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In short, manual testing is good to start with but can impact the TTM, test coverage, and quality (to a certain extent)!

2. Large-scale projects – Automation testing is best-suited for feature-heavy projects since manual tests might not be sufficient for testing all the features in the website (or app).

For sections in a website (or app) with dynamically changing user-interface, go for manual testing approach, as the automated test script may (or may not) work for all the scenarios. Leverage automation testing when the results are definitive and manual testing for long workflows (and dynamically changing UI).

Depending on the feature-set, go for automation-only testing or a mix of manual & automation testing.

Conclusion

Mobile website testing has become an inseparable part of the website design, development, and testing process. In this blog, we had a detailed look at some of the best tools for performing responsive web testing, cross-browser testing, and more.

When it comes to testing your website for mobile devices, it is important to leverage the potential offered by mobile emulators and real mobile devices. Rather than housing a local in-house infrastructure for realizing mobile website testing, a platform like Testsigma can be instrumental in testing your website on 2,000+ real devices that are accessible through the cloud.

According to you, what are some of the must-haves when devising a fool-proof strategy for mobile website testing? Do leave your views in the comments section…


[1] https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/

[2] https://hostingtribunal.com/blog/mobile-percentage-of-traffic/#gref

[3] https://www.statista.com/chart/22064/average-mobile-data-traffic-per-smartphone-selected-regions/

[4] https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2020/03/announcing-mobile-first-indexing-for