These days everyone has at least one gadget with a touchscreen -- many of us have several. The many different ways a user can interact with these devices is mind bending. Look at your mobile phone and just think about how you use the touchscreen: tap, scroll, zoom, swipe, pinch... the list goes on. Multiply that by the amount of mobile devices on the market and you can see why developing apps that provide a positive user experience is so hard to accomplish.
Developing software for mobile devices is not easy if you want people to actually use (and stick with) your applications. If I were to pick the two most important criteria for a mobile application to be successful, they would have to be:
- app performance
- an intuitive GUI
Specifically, I want to talk about gestures and how they affect mobile app quality.
Gestures can either be well-received or the bane of user acceptance, and the best way to make sure that the gestures in your mobile apps are meeting the needs of your users is to test them. You see, gestures can affect the performance and the design of an application, the two most important aspects, so understanding this is imperative to your application’s success.
User acceptance testing is probably the best way to test gestures, as it puts your app in the hands of your potential customers. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible due to resource issues on development teams. So, how can one increase test coverage of gestures on as many mobile devices as possible?
I’ve been using the new gesture recording and playback feature in TestComplete Mobile for a while now, and I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest features of TestComplete 10. It’s an easy and repeatable way to test gestures on multiple devices in a short amount of time. Let me just show you how easy it is...
See? It’s so easy a baby can use it! Okay, but seriously, it’s as easy as pressing the record button, moving your fingers across the screen and playing that gesture back automatically on as many devices as possible. So how do you do this in TestComplete?
The Mobile Screen Visualizer
If you’ve used the Android SDKs, chances are you’ve played around with the mobile device emulators that are packaged within them. When you run one of these emulators, you’ll get a window that simulates a specific mobile device of your choosing. You can control the emulated device via your desktop computer.
TestComplete’s Mobile Screen works in much the same way, except that it's not emulation. It's actually an exact carbon copy of what is being displayed on the mobile device you’re testing. By connecting a mobile device to your computer and running TestComplete via USB, you will be able to see a visual of that device’s screen on your desktop. You can even control the device from the Mobile Screen.
Once your project is started you can open the Mobile Screen by clicking on the Show Mobile Screen button in the top menu.
You will have full control over the mobile device from the Mobile Screen window.
1. On the Mobile Screen window, click on the Record Gesture button on the left side of the menu.
2. Name the gesture you want to record and then enact the gesture using the actual device. Click Stop Recording when you are done recording the gesture.
3. In the Project Explorer, click on the Gesture Collection that you recorded the gesture in. The gesture you just recorded will appear there.
You can now use that recorded gesture for any of your mobile automated tests. Once you record a gesture, you can keep it in a Gesture Library within TestComplete and call on it later when you need it.
Try messing around with gestures to see how your mobile app reacts. You should always be getting creative when testing gestures, since one swipe the wrong way may wreak havoc on performance or crash your app. The more gestures you try on as many devices as possible means a higher test coverage and ultimately a higher user acceptance.