4 Methods for Mobile App Testing that Emulate Real-World Use Cases

Picture of Ashley Dotterweich
Ashley Dotterweich, Monday August 29, 2016

Mobile app testing is complicated. Device and OS fragmentation requires teams to tests across a wide range of devices to ensure consistent quality for all users. Battery life, unreliable connectivity, and even carrier settings can impact the functionality of your application, as can environmental factors including noise, using a phone one-handed, or using a device in bright or low light.

Fortunately, fast-moving companies now have several options to develop scalable testing strategies, each with their own benefits and shortcomings. To ensure that your mobile app testing is up to par, here are four methods for mobile app testing that ensure that your application can handle anything that real-world users throw at it.

Field Testing

One option for testing these “real-world” scenarios is field testing, wherein testers take devices out into the real world and use the applications as needed. However, field testing is difficult to scale and can require a large, dedicated QA team to execute effectively. Purchasing and maintaining the range of devices necessarily for adequate field testing can easily cost thousands of dollars annually.

Leverage Your Community

Another solution is to leverage your community -- by sourcing alpha and beta testers from your community and user base, you can get feedback from real users using your product in actual use cases. While this form of testing has some risks -- exposing customers to buggy features -- it can be one of the most reliable methods of gathering actionable UX feedback.

Dogfood Your Product

A more time-efficient method of field testing real-world functionality is to dogfood your own product and features. By incorporating your product into your team’s workflow or daily activities, you are more likely to encounter potential issues naturally. Tracking not just what bugs are uncovered, but also details such as battery life, device type, and other environmental factors, you can spot trends and resolve bugs more easily. Here at Rainforest, we’re big proponents of eating our own dogfood, and we use our own platform daily.

Crowdsourced Testing

Scaling UX and exploratory testing without adding headcount to your QA team requires freeing up your team’s time to devote to these high-value testing strategies. Using crowdsourced testing platforms like Rainforest and automation tools to offload repetitive tests can ensure that your team has the time they need to devote to improving usability for real-world users.

Scaling Mobile App Testing with Rainforest

Developing a comprehensive plan for mobile app testing doesn’t necessarily mean throwing a lot of money and manpower into testing. Make UX, exploratory and interrupt testing a major priority for your QA team and make sure that they develop test cases that cover the mainstream use cases. By leveraging techniques like crowdsourcing and dogfooding to test more strategically, you can get the test coverage you need to release code confidently, without overextending your QA resources and budget.

This post was adapted from our ebook, The Challenges of Scaling Mobile QA. To download the ebook and learn more about how crowdsourced testing can enable QA and development teams to test their mobile apps faster and more efficiently, click here.