Statistics Show Growing Demand for Mobile Test Automation
Test and Monitor | Posted January 28, 2014

If your company hasn’t considered going mobile, then you’re not taking future growth seriously.

The industry studies are easy to find and they all suggest the same trend—mobile is exponentially becoming the forefront of technology with billions owning a mobile device. To put that into perspective, the International Telecommunication Union estimates that about 6.8 billion people have a mobile subscription of some kind; that’s 96% of the world population. Just seeing those numbers should be an eye opener of how many potential customers are out there. If you break that down a little further, Business Insider published an article just recently that states 22% of the global population owns a smartphone.

If you're developing apps, that’s a lot of market potential! According to Gartner, as of September, 102 billion app downloads equated to roughly $26 billion in revenue in 2013 alone. Mobile applications are being consumed like hot cakes, and if historic data shows us anything, it’s that the sales potential is only going to go up.

With so much sales potential, chances are that your company is going to be developing  a mobile app or service soon if they haven’t already. In fact, our own data shows that 84% of software organizations that are not currently in the mobile space plan to be in the near future.

Unfortunately, statistics also show that mobile apps are not being tested as much as their desktop and Web counterparts.

Study researchers found three-quarters (77%) of mobile users are concerned about app performance before they buy and that half (51%) of app developers say they 'don't have time' to properly test apps before release.

App developers need to up their testing by Kristina Knight

That’s a serious rift between what users demand apps that work and quality that mobile app developers are supplying. When you see or hear “don’t have time for testing,” then one thing is certain, you need to make time. All is not certain why so many developers are not testing, but if you consider the amount of personal information being sent to and from mobile devices, security is already an colossal issue.

To top that off, mobile applications are put under a much higher scrutiny than Web or Desktop applications. A mobile app’s GUI has to be intuitive, it shouldn’t drain the battery or crash the device, and it shouldn’t be using up all the resources of a device.

Think about the mobile apps you use—if an app you just downloaded crashed your phone or caused a furor when navigating around the GUI, what would you do? According to survey data, nearly 50% of consumers will delete a mobile app if they find a single bug.

The problem is that testing mobile applications is no easy task and generally requires a great deal of manual and exploratory testing. On top of that, when testing cycles are being crunched over stringent release dates, how can testers have the time to efficiently and effectively test mobile apps? The answer may be adding test automation into your testing process as a cycle booster, that is using it to free up more time for critical manual testing that would otherwise be wasted on tedious tests, like testing the functionality of a button.

Although test automation has never been considered a means to an end, it is helpful for freeing up more testing cycles for human-based testing. That is exactly why SmartBear has created TestComplete Mobile.

TestComplete Mobile is a module that can be purchased for the TestComplete IDE (TestComplete also has Desktop and Web testing modules available for purchase.) The mobile module allows testers to create automated test scripts and/or keyword-driven tests via the TestComplete IDE available on Windows. You will have to add a TestComplete library to the app to be tested, which can be done by a developer or a software tester with the technical knowledge—this is called instrumenting the mobile application.

After this initial setup, it’s as easy as connecting a physical mobile device with the instrumented app via USB to the desktop computer running TestComplete.

With multiple ways to create and perform tests, manual testers will find TestComplete Mobile easy to pick up without having to relearn a whole new skillset. More experienced automated testers will still be able to create tests using the script editor and have access to the lower level features, empowering the tester and not the software.

TestComplete’s mobile module uses object-based recognition, so you will be able to see the object tree of your app to be tested via TestComplete’s object browser. This makes it easy to find the functionality (object ID, parameters, etc.) you need to test.

If you don’t have the ability to instrument your app, you may also use image based recognition for your automated mobile tests. As for mobile Web apps, you can use Chrome’s mobile browser emulator in TestComplete to test how your mobile Web app ro site will look and function within different aspect ratios.

The numbers don’t lie: Mobile app functionality and user acceptance are, and will continue to be, paramount for any company moving forward in the 21st century. TestComplete Mobile can be the first step in assuring those apps continue to delight.

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