Mobile browser testing – what is it and when is it done?

Mobile browser testing – what is it and when is it done?

| January 30, 2021

About two decades ago, testing was only limited to the desktop. With the rapidly increasing use of smartphones and ease of access to the internet across the globe, testing has spread across vast platforms. The native and mobile web browser testing is being performed more and more compared to desktop testing.

What are Mobile Web Applications?

Applications that do not require to be downloaded and can be accessed via hitting the URL on a mobile browser are known as mobile web applications. The applications are designed using the same code base as Desktop like HTML, Javascript, and CSS. Compared to desktop and native applications, Mobile Web applications are more primitive in terms of functionality.

Unlike Native Applications, Mobile web applications do not have to be designed separately for IOS and Android.

Mobile web applications do not allow users to save data and access any phone related feature such as a camera. For example, if you are using internet banking via a Mobile Web application, it will not allow you to save cards or mark any transaction as favourite. Hence, Mobile web applications are secure to use as well. 

What are Native Applications?

The applications which are required to be downloaded on your smartphone before you start using them are known as Native applications. The Native applications are platform-specific. The development of IOS applications are different from that of Android. Native Applications are more secure as they are likely to keep most of the data on the device only and not send it across over the internet. 

Example of such apps: We all are aware of how online shopping has taken over the world. You can shop anything and everything from online shopping apps such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc.

What are Hybrid Applications?

They are advanced versions of Mobile web applications. Hybrid applications are a blend of native and mobile web applications. These applications can be downloaded and have access to all device features such as camera, contact list, etc. 

What is browser testing?

Hitting the URL on the desktop and launching the site is known as Browser testing. The same URL can be used to test across all browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, IE, Safari, and Opera, etc. and functionality can be accessed.

What is the difference between browser and Mobile Web browser testing?

During browser testing, you need to hit the URL on a browser on a desktop/laptop and access that particular application.

In mobile web browser testing, you can hit the URL on the browser of your phone and access the application.

Both the applications do not allow access to features of your devices such as cameras.

Let’s take an example, You have to open the net banking of a X bank on a browser, If you are doing ‘browser testing’ – you will have to start your desktop/laptop and then launch the application.

In the case of mobile web browser testing, you will be executing the same step via your phone. You just need to hit the URL and launch the application on the available browser on your phone.

Mobile browsers have made it very easy to access any site without being dependent on a laptop or desktop. It also allows users to access a website for which native application is not available.

For example, IKEA India does not have a native application for India, but users can still use their mobile phones and access mobile web applications to view products, place an order, and purchase.

In short, mobile web applications have made access to all sites a lot easier, convenient, and portable to be used in all regards. You do not have to carry your laptops for applications that do not have native applications, instead just surf on your mobile devices.

When is Mobile Web browser testing required?

With the massive use of smartphones across the world, it has become easy to access any application at any given point in time. Still there exist many applications which either do not have native apps for it or certain features only work on web or desktop applications.

In such cases, it becomes necessary to access those features on the mobile web browser or web browser. As mobile phones are readily available, users try to open that particular application on a mobile web browser, instead of signing into their systems and hitting the URL.

Scenario 1 :  Feature not provided by a native application

HDFC bank does not provide the add beneficiary details feature in the Native app, it can be only done through the web platform. In such cases, if a user has an immediate requirement to add a beneficiary, they must just hit the URL on the phone browser and add the beneficiary. 

Scenario 2 : Application does not exist

A mutual fund named ‘Mirae Asset’ does not have its native application. If a user has to check the current status of funds at any instance, they can just log in through a mobile web application and check the funds.

Why is mobile web browser testing important?

There are so many different devices readily available in the market today to view a website. Each smartphone comes with various screen sizes and resolutions, operates on different network speeds, and has different hardware capabilities.

Keeping all these differences, it becomes very important that a website is tested thoroughly before it is launched on different platforms.

The graph below shows the result of a survey performed by Statistica in 2020 on the increase of usage of mobile data across years.

All types of testing need to be performed on mobile web browsers to ensure an application is behaving the same across all browsers and has a uniform UI.

1. Compatibility testing: This testing is done to ensure that the application works in a similar way on each device regardless of the phone/tab used. It is impossible to test each phone available in the market but we can test on the targeted device before launching a web application in the market. Targeted devices are decided based on most used phones by targeted customers (potential users).

Most of the time, this is repetitive testing where the same test cases are executed on multiple devices. Thus, this type of testing is also considered as a good candidate for automation. If you are thinking about implementing automation – you should look for a tool that lets you easily automate the test cases and execute them on many devices at once.

The setup should not be complex for you.  And here I’d also like to tell you about Testsigma (a mobile testing tool), because it has really done some good work and innovation in order to simplify the mobile testing needs.

Signup for a free trial of Testsigma and see it for yourself

2. Test how user-friendly an application is: Google search engine gives high priority to websites in comparison to desktop apps. Google ranks applications based on how user friendly it is. Hence, the more user-friendly the application is the faster and easier the user will be able to find it.

3. Testing helps in finding latency time of an application: Users prefer to use mobile phones over desktop when they are looking for any query, booking flight/movie ticket. The reason behind being the speed and convenience of using mobile phones. So, to provide users with instant access to your website, it is vital to test the responsive time of your app. The faster the application better the user experience.

4. Testing Improves Website’s Look & Feel

Device-specific testing can ensure an attractive look and feel for your site across mobile phones. The look and feel of any application is the first impression that attracts users. The application should be designed in such a way that it compels users to revisit the site again. It also aids business as users to recommend sites to others by their experience.

5. Ease of Application access:

A mobile-friendly website should be designed in such a way that it can easily be accessed via any browser across multiple mobile phones, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. Google uses mobile-friendly features of websites as a ranking factor. Thus, a responsive mobile view of the website will help you rank higher in the search engines and divert more traffic to grow your business.

Best Practices For Mobile Website Testing

To make mobile web testing successful and efficient, it is always good to follow the mentioned practices.

  • All business requirements and stakeholder expectations should be tested thoroughly to achieve maximum output from the testing process.
  • Make a checklist for the targeted devices and mobile browsers, that you want to test for the responsiveness of your website.
  • Prioritize browser testing based on usage, market demand, highest traffic.
  • Perform testing on browsers that are not frequently used by users.
  • Plan a strategy that maintains the rules and standards to ensure quality and consistency by all.
  • Validate each screen size and navigation flow to ensure any UI issue is not missed.
  • Validate Performance testing on various network speeds and internet connections to measure the scalability and adaptiveness of the website.

With the convenience of using mobile phones over laptops, the focus of users has shifted from desktop applications to web applications. For the business to thrive, the mobile web application must be designed in such a way that it is easy to access and simple to use. The tester must test it from all aspects to make it user friendly.

Now, Testsigma supports inspection as well as execution of your mobile test cases without any kind of setups at your end. See how it is done in the webinar recording here.