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Ivan Sholomitskyi, Automation Quality Assurance Engineer

Dec 29, 2023 17 min read

Mobile App Testing Strategy: A Detailed Guide

This article offers a comprehensive guide to formulating a mobile app testing strategy, detailing the importance of aligning testing with business goals to ensure a high-quality product. It defines a test strategy, outlines its benefits, and explains the different types of mobile applications: native, web, and hybrid. The piece compares test plans with test strategies and discusses the structure of a test strategy, including objectives, scope, approach, resource allocation, and environmental requirements.

Mobile App Testing Strategy

As highlighted in the Forbes article, creating a competent test strategy is integral to mobile application development. It necessitates a thorough evaluation of the app for user-friendliness, compatibility across various devices, responsiveness, stability, intuitive, efficient use of system resources, reliability of external services, accessibility for users with limitations, and the uncompromised security of user data. This ensures the app meets technical standards, market demands, and user preferences. 

In this article, we will look at developing a test strategy to guarantee your success and effectiveness in testing your mobile application. 

What is a Test Strategy?

A testing strategy is a high-level plan that outlines the objectives, methods, resources, and schedules for intended test activities. It defines the main testing priorities and the overall approach to ensure software quality within the project. This document is crafted to align testing objectives with business and technical requirements, ensuring that the end product meets the necessary quality standards. 

Here are the key points to consider when creating a testing strategy: 

  • Purpose of the Testing Strategy: The primary goal of a testing strategy is to establish a clear path for the testing process, ensuring that every aspect of the application is examined thoroughly for defects. It serves to identify potential risks and outlines the methods to mitigate them, securing the reliability and functionality of the software. 
  • Creators of the Testing Strategy: Typically, the testing strategy is formulated by senior test personnel such as Test Managers or QA Leads. They collaborate with stakeholders, including Business Analysts, Development Leads, and Project Managers, to guarantee that the strategy aligns with the project's goals and constraints. 

For those who wish to delve deeper into a testing strategy and its critical role in software development, please follow this link to our comprehensive article. 

Why is Test Strategy Creation Important? 

The process of developing a test strategy holds paramount significance in the realm of software testing for several compelling reasons: 

01

Alignment with Objectives: A well-defined test strategy ensures that the testing efforts are closely aligned with the project's overall objectives. It is a guiding framework that keeps the testing team focused on critical goals and quality standards. 

02

Risk Mitigation: By outlining potential risks and challenges early in the project, a test strategy allows for proactive risk mitigation. It helps identify vulnerabilities in the software and prepares the team to address them effectively. 

03

Resource Optimization: Test strategy development involves resource allocation, ensuring that the right personnel, tools, and environments are available at the right time. This optimization prevents resource wastage and minimizes delays. 

04

Efficient Testing: The mobile testing strategy defines the approach, methodologies, and techniques. This leads to efficient testing processes, reducing redundancy and providing thorough coverage. 

05

Clear Communication: A documented test strategy serves as a communication tool, ensuring that all stakeholders, including developers, testers, and project managers, have a shared understanding of the testing approach and objectives. 

06

Adaptability: As projects evolve, requirements change, and unexpected issues arise, a robust test strategy provides a framework for adapting to these changes while maintaining testing integrity. 

07

Efficient Problem Resolution: When issues are encountered during testing, the test strategy guides the team in resolving them systematically. It streamlines the troubleshooting process, reducing downtime. 

08

Comprehensive Documentation: Test strategies are valuable assets that provide a historical record of testing decisions and activities. They serve as a reference for future testing efforts and audits. 

In conclusion, creating a mobile testing strategy is a pivotal step in the software testing process, offering numerous benefits, including goal alignment, risk mitigation, resource optimization, and improved product quality. It empowers testing teams to work cohesively, efficiently, and with a clear focus on delivering a high-quality software product. 

Typology of Mobile Applications 

To create a mobile testing strategy for mobile app testing, it is essential to understand the typology of mobile applications. Mobile apps serve various purposes, from productivity tools to social networking, gaming, entertainment, e-commerce, and more. Understanding their categorization is crucial in the testing process to consider all relevant features and aspects. 

Native Apps 

Native applications are designed for a specific platform, such as iOS or Android. They are developed using programming languages and tools supported by that platform. These apps fully access the device's functionality, including features like the camera, geolocation, and notifications. Native apps can function offline and deliver optimal performance. 

Web Apps 

Web applications are accessed through a web browser on mobile devices. They do not require installation on the user's device and can run on various platforms. While web apps may have limited access to device functionality and rely on a constant internet connection, they are advantageous for their rapid development and ease of updates and deployment. 

Hybrid Apps 

Hybrid apps blend elements of both native and web development. They are created using familiar technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and then packaged into native application containers. Hybrid apps can operate on multiple platforms, utilizing shared code. Although they may have restricted access to device features, their development is quicker and cost-effective, as a single codebase serves multiple platforms. 

Understanding this typology of mobile applications is fundamental when formulating a comprehensive test strategy to ensure that all critical aspects of each app type are addressed during testing. 

Test Plan vs. Test Strategy

The testing of software, particularly mobile applications, relies heavily on two critical documents: the test plan and the test strategy. While they are often mentioned in the same context, their roles, scope, and objectives differ significantly, each contributing uniquely to the testing lifecycle. To provide a more precise understanding, we present an expanded comparative table that highlights the nuances between a test plan and a test strategy: 

Criteria 

Test Plan 

Test Strategy 

Definition 

A document that specifies the tactical aspects of the testing activities for a specific project. 

A high-level document that defines the general testing guidelines that apply across projects. 

Role 

Describes what is to be tested, the scope, the approach, resources, schedule, and activities involved in detail. 

Outlines the broad methodology, best practices, and standards that govern the testing approach across various projects. 

Scope 

Narrow and project-specific, focusing on particular features, releases, or iterations. 

Broad and can be applied to multiple projects within an organization, offering a consistent approach. 

Content 

Contains detailed information about test cases, environment setups, hardware, software, test data, risk management, and contingencies. 

Includes testing principles, test levels, types of testing to be employed, decision criteria for testing, and resource allocation philosophies. 

Objectives 

To validate the software's functionality, performance, and security according to specific requirements. 

To set a testing direction that aligns with business objectives and ensure quality control throughout the software development lifecycle. 

Timeframe 

Often revised for each release or project iteration to address the specific testing needs at that time. 

Generally, it is more stable over time, providing a long-term vision for the testing processes. 

Creator 

Typically prepared by the test lead or test manager with input from the testing team. 

Developed by senior QA leadership, such as a QA director or manager, often in consultation with other stakeholders. 

Usage 

Used by the testing team to guide the day-to-day activities and ensure that nothing is overlooked. 

Used by the QA team and project managers to understand and implement the overall testing approach. 

Update Frequency 

Updated more frequently as it responds to changes in the project scope, features, and timelines. 

Updated less frequently, major revisions may occur with shifts in business goals or technology standards. 

Communication 

Communicates detailed testing plans and expectations to the testing team, developers, and other project stakeholders. 

Communicates the testing philosophy and high-level goals to stakeholders across the organization. 

As a conclusion to the table, a mobile testing strategy defines the general testing principles and goals, while a test plan provides specific testing procedures and timelines. These documents work in concert to guide testing in alignment with business objectives. 

Structure of Mobile Testing Strategy 

This section of the article will delve into creating a mobile testing strategy, illustrating each component with specific examples to provide a clear and actionable guide. 

Introduction 

The introduction of a mobile app testing strategy document for mobile application testing sets the stage for the entire document. It provides a snapshot of what the document will cover and establishes the foundational goals the testing efforts will aim to achieve. 

  • Overview and Objectives of the Mobile Application Testing Strategy: Here, you would articulate the overarching goals of your mobile testing efforts. For instance, if you are testing a mobile banking app, the objective might be to ensure the highest level of security and seamless user experience across various devices and network conditions. The overview could state that the mobile testing strategy is designed to align with industry standards for financial apps and meet or exceed customer expectations for functionality and performance. 
  • Scope of Mobile Testing Activities: This part of mobile app testing strategy defines the boundaries of the testing activities. It specifies what aspects of the mobile app will be tested, including but not limited to user interactions, transaction processing, data security, and application performance under different network conditions. For example, for a social media mobile app, the scope might include testing the app's ability to handle high traffic, multimedia data uploads and downloads, real-time notifications, and integration with device-specific features like the camera and microphone. 

The introduction gives stakeholders a clear understanding of what the mobile application testing strategy will encompass and what the team aims to accomplish with its testing efforts. It ensures that everyone involved has a shared vision for what the testing process should achieve and the areas it will focus on. 

Test Objectives 

In the context of mobile device testing strategy, the test objectives section details the specific aims the testing activities will address. This includes qualitative and performance benchmarks that the mobile app must meet to be considered successful. 

Quality Goals: 

  • The app must achieve a crash-free session rate of 99.9%. 
  • The user interface (UI) must adhere to the guidelines provided by both iOS and Android for design consistency. 
  • All user inputs must be validated, and error messages should be informative and user-friendly. 

Performance Goals: 

  • The app should load content within 2 seconds under standard network conditions. 
  • Battery consumption should not exceed a defined percentage during normal app operation. 
  • Memory usage should be optimized to prevent the app from causing device slowdowns. 

Success Criteria: 

  • Defining criteria such as a minimum 4-star rating in app stores after the first month of release. 
  • Zero app-breaking defects at launch. 
  • Successful completion of all critical path test cases. 

Test Scope 

The test scope section of the mobile app testing strategy delineates the extent of the testing by identifying which features and functionalities of the mobile app will be tested (in-scope) and which will not (out-of-scope). 

In-Scope: 

  • User authentication process, including login, logout, and password recovery. 
  • E-commerce functionality, such as product browsing, cart management, and checkout process. 
  • Integration with device hardware, like the camera for barcode scanning or GPS for location services. 

Out-of-Scope: 

  • Third-party plugins or services that have their own testing and QA processes, like payment gateways. 
  • Operating system-level features or behaviors that are outside the app's control, like device notifications or background app refresh behaviors. 

By clearly defining test objectives with specific, measurable goals and a precise scope, a mobile test strategy sets clear expectations and boundaries for the testing team, ensuring focused and effective testing activities. 

Test Approach 

In the effective mobile testing strategy, the test approach section would detail the specific types of testing that are essential to mobile applications, such as: 

  • Unit Testing 
  • Integration Testing 
  • System Testing 
  • Acceptance Testing 
  • Performance Testing 
  • Load Testing 
  • Stress Testing 
  • Usability Testing 
  • Security Testing 
  • Compatibility Testing 
  • Smoke Testing 
  • Regression Testing 
  • Exploratory Testing 

Resource Allocation 

This section would define how resources are to be allocated for mobile device testing strategy: 

  • Team Composition: The structure of the mobile app testing team might include roles such as Mobile Test Engineers, Automation Specialists, and UX Testers, each with specific responsibilities. 
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Assigning duties such as test case creation to Test Engineers, automation scripting to Automation Specialists, and usability feedback to UX Testers. 

The hardware and software resources in the mobile device testing strategy needed for testing are also outlined: 

  • Hardware: A range of mobile devices with different specifications, such as various screen sizes, memory capacities, CPU speeds, etc., to ensure the app is tested in diverse conditions. 
  • Software: Different OS versions are required to test the app's compatibility with various software environments. For example, having a set of iOS devices running different versions of the operating system, from iOS 10 to the latest iOS version. 

Test Environment Requirements 

A detailed description of the test environment setup included in the mobile app testing strategy: 

01

Mobile Test Labs: These are specialized environments with a range of devices and tools for comprehensive testing. An example might be a cloud-based mobile test lab that provides access to multiple devices over the internet, allowing testers to install the app and run tests remotely. 

02

Device Farms: Services like AWS Device Farm or Google Firebase Test Lab that offer access to physical devices hosted in the cloud for testing purposes. 

03

Emulators/Simulators: Tools that mimic the software and hardware of mobile devices. For example, using Xcode's built-in iOS Simulator to test an app's functionality on different models of iPhones and iPads without needing the physical devices. 

04

Network Configurations: Setting up different network conditions, such as Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G, and edge, to test the app's performance under various connectivity scenarios. 

05

Backend Services Setup: Configuring the server-side environment to simulate live backend services, which includes setting up APIs, databases, and other server components that the app interacts with. 

Each of these components plays a vital role in ensuring that the mobile app can be tested under conditions that closely mimic real-world usage, thereby ensuring that the final product is robust, reliable, and delivers a high-quality user experience. 

Tools and Technologies 

These are used to track and manage testing efforts. For mobile app testing, tools like Jira for issue tracking, TestRail for test case management, or Zephyr for end-to-end test management can be utilized. They help in organizing test cases, tracking test execution, and reporting defects. 

Example: A team might use Jira to create user stories and tasks, TestRail to organize test suites and test runs, and a CI/CD tool like Jenkins to integrate and automate the testing workflow. 

Automation Tools 

Automation tools are critical for efficient testing of mobile applications. Selenium WebDriver could be used for automating web-based mobile apps, Appium for native or hybrid apps, and Espresso or XCTest for Android and iOS app UI testing, respectively. 

Example: Appium can be set up to run automated regression tests on various devices simultaneously, ensuring the app functions correctly across different OS versions and screen sizes. 

Roles and Responsibilities 

Team Composition 

A typical mobile testing team may include roles such as Test Lead, Automation Engineer, Manual Tester, and Performance Tester. The team might also need access to a UX/UI specialist to assess the app's usability. 

Specific Responsibilities 

Each team member has defined responsibilities. For instance, Automation Engineers are responsible for creating and updating automated tests, while Manual Testers might focus on ad-hoc testing, usability, and compliance with design standards. 

Testing Schedule 

Timeline of Testing Activities 

The testing timeline should align with the development and release schedule of the mobile app. This includes allocating time for test case development, execution cycles, regression testing, and final verification before release. 

Example: The timeline might specify that two weeks are dedicated to initial testing, one week to regression and performance testing, and additional days for final sanity checks before each release. 

Key Milestones 

Important milestones in a testing schedule could be the completion of test planning, the first round of test execution, mid-cycle evaluations, code freeze date, and the final sign-off by the QA team. 

Example: A key milestone might be a "feature freeze" date, after which no new features are added to the app, allowing the testing team to focus on stabilizing the current build for release. 

Communication and Reporting 

Communication Protocols Tailored for Mobile App Testing Teams 

Example: Implement a dedicated instant messaging channel for the mobile app test team to facilitate real-time communication. This channel can be used to discuss critical issues, coordinate testing efforts, and share updates related to mobile testing. 

Reporting Frequency  

Example: Weekly status reports summarizing the progress, test results, and any critical issues encountered during mobile app testing. Reports can be shared in both email and presentation formats to ensure visibility among stakeholders. 

Quality Control Procedures 

Review and Approval Processes  

Example: Prior to the development phase, establish a mobile app feature review process involving cross-functional teams. This process ensures that design, development, and testing teams collaborate to align mobile app features with requirements. 

Defect Tracking and Management 

Example: Utilize a mobile-specific defect tracking tool (e.g., Jira with mobile plugins) to capture, prioritize, and monitor mobile app defects. Mobile-specific categories such as OS version, device type, and screen resolution can be used to classify and manage defects effectively. 

Approval 

Sign-off from Stakeholders on the Mobile Application Testing Strategy Document 

Example: The mobile testing strategy document should undergo a formal review process involving stakeholders from development, quality assurance, and project management. Once all stakeholders have reviewed and agreed upon the document, they provide their electronic signatures as a sign-off, indicating their approval and commitment to following the outlined strategy. 

Conclusions 

In this comprehensive article, you have delved into the intricacies of creating a mobile application testing strategy. Throughout this exploration, you have acquired a deep understanding of the key components and considerations involved in formulating robust mobile testing strategies. Additionally, you have uncovered the critical steps involved in mobile device testing strategy. We encourage you to apply these principles in your practical testing endeavors, ultimately contributing to the success of your mobile app projects. 

If you have any questions, need further clarifications, or wish to consult with our experts on your mobile app testing strategy, please don't hesitate to reach out.

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FAQ

What is a mobile app testing strategy, and why is it important?

A mobile application testing strategy is a document that outlines the strategy for testing mobile applications. It is important for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of testing, defining objectives and methodologies, and adapting to changes in the development process. 

What types of mobile applications exist, and how do they differ from each other?

There are three main types of mobile apps: native, web apps, and hybrid apps. They differ based on the platform they use and the level of access to device features. Native apps are platform-specific, web apps run in a browser, and hybrid apps combine elements of both. 

What are the key stages in creating a mobile app testing strategy?

Key stages include defining goals, risk analysis, test plan development, tool selection, creating test scenarios, conducting testing, and reporting. Each stage has its tasks and importance. 

How can quality testing be ensured for mobile apps with limited resources?

Resource optimization is the key to quality testing with limited resources. Properly allocate personnel, choose effective tools, and prioritize testing tasks. 

How can a testing strategy be adapted to changes in a mobile app during development?

A testing strategy for a mobile app can be adapted to changes during development by incorporating agile testing methodologies, which include iterative development, continuous integration, and automated regression testing to quickly and effectively address changes. It's important to maintain a flexible and responsive testing plan that can accommodate new features, design updates, and bug fixes, while also ensuring that the core functionality remains stable and reliable. 

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