How to perform Mobile Automation Testing of the UI?

How to perform Mobile Automation Testing of the UI?

| January 30, 2020

Whether it is a web or mobile application, testing is one of the most important aspects of the web/app development process. As the IT industry is leveraging test automation to make several complex activities fast and smooth, automated testing can be implemented to reduce human errors and save a lot of time. So, in this article, we will discuss how to set up test automation for the mobile web UI.

Need for Mobile App Automation Testing

Growth in the mobile app development in the last few years has been drastic as with each passing day, hundreds of mobile apps are developed, be it Android or iOS.

Mobile application automation testing is considered as one of the most important parts of software testing as it verifies and validates the overall functioning of a mobile app and eliminates the day to day effort done by manual testers which saves a lot of time and cost for the organization.

Let us see some of the most important reasons why we need automated testing for mobile applications:

  • It provides various test solutions for validating the overall functioning of the mobile apps
  • It provides a wider test coverage resulting in better output
  • It saves time and cost as well as reduces the number of manual testers required for testing
  • If properly organized, it reduces the time needed for the overall testing process
  • Works perfectly for agile teams and automated testing provides test results very quickly
  • It reduces test execution errors that are common in manual testing 
  • More test cases can be automated while already automated ones are executed

When should you go for mobile test automation?

Before deciding which parts of the mobile app should you automate first, define the scope of the tests that will be automated. Consider the areas that would benefit from automation the most.

  • Use mobile test automation for repetitive test suites that take up a lot of manual efforts (e.g.: Regression Testing)
  • There are Test Suites which cannot be run manually, and tools are needed (for e.g.: Performance Testing)
  • There are functionalities which require multiple sets of data for testing or have complex areas which have a possibility of human error (for e.g.: Data-driven Testing).
  • Unit tests need to be executed to determine if the app requires further testing
  • Functionality Testing needs to be done on a wide range of devices and OS versions

What to Test in Mobile App UI Testing?

There are various aspects that needs to be verified while testing UI on a mobile application:

  1. Screen Resolution: Here are some of the common screen resolutions that are considered:
  • 640 × 480
  • 800 × 600
  • 1024 × 768
  • 1280 × 800
  • 1366 × 768
  • 1400 × 900
  • 1680 × 1050

   The application should be tested for all these screen resolutions.

  1. Screen Size: Make sure that all the elements of the screen are aligned correctly and are completely visible on the screen as they are not static in smart devices and have to accommodate according to the available screen size.
  2. UI Elements: Different UI elements need to be tested for their size and appearance on the screen including buttons, icons, headings, images, text fields, checkboxes etc. 
  3. Color & Theme: The app UI and colour theme should look consistent across all the mobiles phones as colour and theme may vary from one phone to another. The font style should be tested as well to avoid inconsistency in the look and feel of the app.
  4. Multi-touch: If the application supports multi-touch gestures such as zooming, shrinking and similar others, then this feature should be tested thoroughly.

How to Choose the Right Mobile Automation Testing Framework?

Choosing the right mobile testing automation framework is the key to getting the automated process right. Here are some of the most popular open-source automated UI testing frameworks which are supported by a strong and active community:

  1. Appium: It is an open-source automated UI testing framework which can be used with native, hybrid and mobile web apps. It can be used to create a single test script for multiple platforms and does not require access to your source code. 
  2. The problem with Appium is that it has limited support for gestures and takes a lot of time to be configured for both Android and iOS.

  3. Testsigma: has made it easier to get started on the test-automation journey. Using Testsigma, you can easily build test cases for your mobile apps as there is no need to set up test infrastructure. The tests can be executed on real mobile devices on the cloud.
  4. You can create your mobile automated test cases quickly with natural language-based test step creation which helps you prepare test steps using simple English statements. You may check this article that discusses why choose Testsigma for mobile test automation.

  5. Robotium: It is an open-source mobile automation testing framework for native, hybrid Android apps. It can run black-box UI tests for apps without the need of source code with just “.apk”. It can also run gravy-box tests if the source code is available. Robotium is one of the most commonly used automated UI testing frameworks as it offers a simple API to write UI automation scripts. 
  6. The main issue with Robotium is that it requires knowledge of Java and its maintenance cost is high.

  7. Espresso: It is Google’s Android UI test framework which is used by developers for writing UI tests for black-box testing. Espresso is easy to learn and those who understand the code can easily customize it as per their needs. It provides rich debugging information during a failure and supports all API versions.
  8. The problem with Espresso is the lack of documentation, small and not so active community.

    Although open-source test frameworks offer good control over the test script, they are difficult to learn. A special test automation engineer might be required to work on these tools.

    No doubt, all the mobile apps need UI testing, but the level or depth of testing required depends largely on the purpose or category of the application. An application with better usability and proper UI/UX design has more impact on an end-user hence usage and acceptance of this type of application is very high.


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