Monday, June 25, 2012

Things to know when testing Mobile applications

When testing using the traditional method on windows/web applications, we all know that we need to test functionality. The same concepts apply for Mobile applications for smart phones as well. As testing experts we should ensure the functionally of the application. While we perform functional testing we need to consider the following points as well.

Testing matrix

In the mobile market there are more than 835 million smart phones available and it is ever increasing. The testing matrix is complex and it is important to select the correct testing matrix as the test environment. Therefore the points below should be helpful:

  •  OS and Browser 
  •  Device model 
  •  Wireless connectivity 
  •  Location 
  •  Network bandwidths 
  •  Audience 

Screen size 

 In general we can categorize the screen size in to three.

  • Small
  • Large
  • Xlarge 

Not only the size but, we need to consider of the Dots Per Inch (DPI) of a screen as well. This is illustrated in the image below:

This is important because the icons and texts of an application will be fine on a small screen but, when the same application is loaded on a device that has more resolution and a big screen, the output will be totally unexpected. So the ‘Application Under Test’ (AUT) should be tested for these categories.

Screen layout (portrait vs. landscape)

Another important aspect in testing mobile applications is when the devices support orientation switches. Two things to consider are:
  •  Resizing UI controls
  • UI resolution
How this will affect the quality of the application is that UI controls should change the location and resize to suite the new screen size. This is dynamic and subjective from device to device. Therefore selecting a correct testing environment is very important.

Native feature

Native feature is when the AUT  accesses device features such as SMS, Email, Camera, Gallery, etc.
How AUT accesses these features are totally different from OS to OS. So it’s really important to consider and give priority where the native features/Native code is involved in.

Input methods

This is about how characters are inserted to the application. Different devices have different keyboards. Some phones have physical keyboards and some have virtual keyboards. Still others have different key arrangements such as QWERTY, Numeric keypad, Mini QWERTY etc. Some Oss’ provide features such as auto suggestion of words. Therefore this is an important aspect to be tested.

Another important area is physical devices such as track ball and stylus and these differ according to devices. It’s important to simulate the usage behavior around these to improve the end product quality.


Reliability of the AUT is important when disruptions occur. Some disruptions are:
  • Network delays
  • Connectivity losses (mobile/WIFI/Bluetooth)
  • Receiving calls, SMS and other alerts
These are real life situations and are highly likely to occur. Improving reliability of AUT will increase the user experience. 

Operating system updates

OS venders are empowering users to update their devices with the latest OS updates which are released often. This is important in applications which are already in the market. Performing this compatibility test early will prompt release updates of AUT so the end user will experience the quality of the application.


  1. What a helpful post you have here! Thank you for sharing this! :) These will truly be helpful since mobile applications are more in demand these days because of the growing number of social networking sites!

  2. It seems to be a good content for a beginner to start with mobile application testing. Very detailed article and easy to understand.

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  4. I have read this blog and very well know about the things which is required when testing a mobile apps so thanks for providing this information.

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  7. Now a day’s mobile apps for business, demand are increased and it is proved successful for the business for that there are many tools and platforms are used to improve the application and business activity. What a helpful post you have here! Thank you for sharing this! :) These will truly be helpful...
    Mobile Device Testing