Published on February 18, 2014
The Importance of Quality Assurance for Mobile Applications www.codemymopbile.com. 261 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
Defining QA Quality assurance (QA) is the adherence to a quality system which places an emphasis on conforming and meeting standards to deliver high quality product lines. It is a systematic process for improving the quality of deliverables through a series of pragmatic steps. As the mobile space evolves and app stores increase in size, the importance of viable, well thought out mobile apps is only the beginning. Mobile apps that are not executed and built to proper standards increase the chance of a user quickly uninstalling the application. Today, quality assurance is more important than ever, as the quest to capture the end user has become more competitive. What does traditional web/desktop QA mean? Traditional QA for web/desktop applications refers to dealing with a uniform landscape. Web/ desktop applications consider multiple browsers across various operating systems; however, there are very minimal hardware or connectivity concerns. QA for the web/desktop has defined standards and processes to follow and a more mature toolset at hand because it has been around for decades. For example, web tools such as Selenium, can inspect web pages and help create boiler plates for testing scripts ahead of time by looking into input tags. Standards are well defined because they are built upon over long periods of time, and since the frequency of change is less it can be measured in years. QA for Mobile There’s no argument that mobile is the future. The rapidly evolving mobile landscape is compelling businesses across every industry to rethink how they connect to people across a multitude of platforms. Whether for enterprise or consumer use, mobile application development is escalating at a drastic rate. And this exponential growth in market demand has left developers with no choice other than to forfeit QA testing.
Currently, according to the 2012-2013 World Quality Report, only 31% of [groups] surveyed across the world test mobile applications (Capgemini). The need for speed has placed an overwhelming emphasis on delivery, which has led to shabby mobile app infrastructures. The race to the app store allows for severe risks to persist that result in negative user experiences and can be detrimental to an organization’s long-term success.
Today’s Mobile QA Process Today, businesses simply don’t have the adequate resources required to conduct thorough QA testing. Successful testing must take into account the functionality, security, performance, compatibility and usability of mobile applications. This plethora of test requirements is time consuming and costly. Today’s process can be broken into 6 fundamental steps: 1. Developers deliver a build to QA 2. QA performs functional testing & identifies bugs in the code 3. QA sends report to product owners for feedback 4. Product team prioritizes the bugs for developers 5. Product team presents priorities to QA 6. QA recaps with development team Mobile is certainly having a significant impact on the Q A function and it seems that QA has been slow to react to the expectations from within the business. 2012-2013 World Quality Report This process is redundant and inefficient. By the time these 6 steps are completed the developers may have moved into a different portion of the app, which means that the bugs found have to be prioritized in a backlog. And often times, developers have to relearn the code by the time they receive a report from QA.
Lack of a QA Standard A common problem developers are facing is the lack of standards and tools for testing. Most QA tools are still in their infancy, which poses great challenges for developers testing across various mobile platforms and connected devices. Since mobile has only been in the mainstream for 3-4 years, QA tools have not had the chance to mature. Right now, developers are trying to bring the QA concepts used for desktops to mobile. This transference of knowledge is a difficult task because with mobile there are multiple operating systems and devices to consider. The continually evolving mobile ecosystem increases device fragmentation, which adds to the complexity of testing further. To avoid these hurdles, many companies seek to offshore QA. However, off shoring the problem can lead to poor quality controls that allow for the existence of bugs, which results in lower quality products. 65% of organizations do not have the right tools to test mobile applications... and 52% do not have access to the required devices. 2012-2013 World Quality Report CodeMyMobile’s approach to QA It’s important to understand that the proliferation of mobile QA standards is going to be an evolutionary process like the processes of its predecessors. For now, we can surround ourselves with the best of what’s on the market and evolve it to fit our own needs. The first step is to identify a baseline set of automated standards that apply to mobile apps - despite individual requirements. We must ask, what are standard QA tasks that we perform on Android vs. iOS apps? For example, on an Android device testing could involve how apps behave with and without an SD card present; whereas, iOS doesn’t have removable flash so that test is not necessary.
5 Main Data Points 1. Total bugs - These are the bugs that are reported by the QA team as well as bugs reported by the clients during customer acceptance testing 2. Complexity point - The difficulty to accomplish a specific user story in relation to other stories within the app 3. Total bugs to complexity point - Each task to build the application is associated with a complexity point, the total bug to complexity ratio is used to monitor the “bug-iness” of the application as the scale increases 4. 5. Bugs reported by customers Slippage ratio - Total bugs reported over the development lifecycle to number of bugs reported by the client. This number is important to measure as it has direct correlation to client happiness and cost. A focus on QA testing implementation at the start of development reassures developers that the mobile app is functioning properly when it comes to deployment. Plans should be tested during product definition, before anything is coded. 30% of manufacturers predict that new testing tools will be the greatest spend in 2015 2012-2013 World Quality Report
Testing on a large scale of devices Testing on a large scale of devices requires automation. This means having a set of automated Test scripts, or random testing that can be run against a number of different devices. This is where Android device pose a big challenge. Android offers a plethora of devices, so as a tester you have to purchase a large number of them to carry out testing. But, because the frequency of new devices Are so high testers needed to implement a rotation, where certain devices are put aside in order to take others into account. To help with these issues there are open source projects such as Spoon, which connect multiple devices through a usb-hub. Conclusion The mobile landscape is changing how we communicate and interact in the way we work and socialize. And on the backend it’s creating the need for new standards and procedures for QA testing. These new complicated requirements make it crucial for your mobile strategy to take testing into account right from the start. QA automation is a critical component of a high quality end product. QA can help alleviate the stress of the demanding app market by providing increased accuracy for the agile development process. If organizations are to turn the mobile opportunity into a business advantage, they need to invest in building stronger QA testing skills. An overall methodology for QA testing helps cut down on costs as well as time across the lifecycle of a project and ensures optimal success and satisfaction.
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