How to Develop a Mobile App Testing Strategy
Test and Monitor | Posted August 15, 2013

With so much demand and so much competition, mobile app testing has never been more important. Indeed, the testing phase is often seen as a necessary evil, sandwiched between the creative process of inception and the excitement of taking a new product to market. However, drilling down on the positives that testing brings make this step anything but evil.

According to Flurry Analytics, “the U.S. consumer spends an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes per day on smartphones and tablets. 80% of that time is spent inside apps and 20% is spent on the mobile web.”

Given the growth of the industry as well as the time consumers are spending inside apps, developers should have every excuse they need to develop a testing strategy that ensures what they place in front of the consumer operates correctly the first time.

Testing your way to success. How many times have you read a story about an app that has been pulled because it failed on a massive scale? The truth is, proper testing means the difference between: “Hey, I love that app you guys created,” and, “Aren’t you the guys who had to pull your app off the market because it kept failing?”

In 1978 when Federal Express made the promise "When it Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight,” you can be sure they did so only after testing and fine-tuning their process and services. They did it so well that when people send something overnight they frequently say they are going to “Fedex” it, even when using another carrier.

A company’s name does not become part of society’s vernacular by hoping what they offer works. Instead, it becomes part of society’s vernacular by testing their way to success.

How to get started with your mobile app testing strategy. First, you should have a very specific statement of what you want the app to do, as well as what you are not designing it to do.

That sounds painfully obvious, but think back to those brainstorming sessions when all ideas were fair game. At some point everyone on the team needs to be crystal clear on exactly what the end product will be.

Next, you’ll need to review a series of questions prior to executing your plan. What follows is a list of some of the key questions to consider as you develop your app testing strategy. By asking these questions now, you’ll ensure a successful launch in the future.

Here goes:

  • What functionality do we need to include in the final version of this product?
  • What are some of the most common bugs in products like these?
  • What kind of testing will be part of the development process?
  • Will we be testing manually? Will we be testing using automated tools? Or both?
  • Will we be using in-house teams? Or outsourced partners?
  • Will we be using emulators? Actual devices? Or both?
  • What role will agile testing play in the development process?
  • How will we test across platforms?
  • Where will the app roll out? In other words, what role does geography play in the final deliverable?
  • At what point will we conduct real world tests?

The questions above are not all encompassing, but they should give you a sense of how to think about your mobile app testing strategy. The most important thing is to start with the end in mind. By focusing on the final outcome, you can work backwards from there and create a roadmap that starts with the initial concept, then moves through development and testing, and ends with a successful launch of the product.

Do you have anything to add to Greg's strategies?  Has anything in particular worked out well for you?  Disagree with these strategies?  Let us know in your comment.

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