Software developers have had to account for a lot of changes over the years, but perhaps none have been as disruptive as the rise of mobile apps. The rise of smartphones and tablets has created an entirely new market for software development.
According to Vision Mobile, the global app economy was worth approximately $53 billion last year, but that value is expected to nearly triple by the end of 2016. With so many resources being pumped into development projects and more players entering the market, the pressure to churn out high-quality mobile apps within a short window has never been higher.
In order to effectively meet these demands, quality assurance teams need to have the right tools in place to address the various unique challenges presented by mobile app development. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing QA management is accounting for the multiple disparate devices that potential customers use to access their products.
To target a large chunk of the available mobile audience, developers and testers will need to consider their software’s performance when running on an Apple device or Android operating system. For full market penetration, they may have to account for BlackBerry and Windows Phone users as well. Even developers who limit themselves to a single format such as iOS or Android will need to ensure that the app can be run on different system versions and devices.
Further complicating matters is the multitude of form factors that consumers wield when engaging a company’s mobile software. For example, developers need to ask themselves if both virtual and physical keypad users will be able to easily and effectively access their app. Covering all of these different variations can be extremely time consuming, which is why QA teams need to take every opportunity to maximize their efforts and shorten their production cycles.
Speed up test phases with automation
As noted by TechTarget editor James Denman, QA teams can leverage automated test scripts to run more scans in a shorter amount of time. However, getting the most value out of automated scripts requires teams to have a sophisticated test case management system in place so they can better utilize these tools. A test script that’s used once and then discarded is not going to provide much value above manual processes given the time needed to create it. Using a test management system, QA professionals can consolidate their effective scripts from previous mobile development projects into a single location. This way, staff members can simply pull a given script from the testing dashboard and run it as needed. As teams get more production cycles under their belts, they will accumulate more useful scripts that can be leveraged with future projects, driving down those costs.
More oversight = greater efficiency
Speaking to TechTarget, mobile software quality assurance expert Jean Ann Harrison stressed that QA management needs to take into account the usability of an app as well, which sometimes necessitates temporarily shelving automated scripts and taking a manual approach to testing. This process may be time-intensive, so it’s important that team members avoid any unnecessary or redundant tasks. By cultivating communication and oversight across the entire QA operation, managers can help prevent employees from wasting their time covering ground that’s already been addressed. A high-quality case management system should provide QA officials with real-time updates regarding any changes to the testing process. Many test metrics, including pass and failure rates as well as identified defects, can be accessed without needing to waste valuable time running queries or crafting reports.
“If you combine your tests, you shrink your tests out, and what ends up happening is that you can cover more,” Harrison stated.
Ultimately, taking advantage of the various testing tools allows QA professionals to shorten their production schedules while still maintaining a high level of excellence with the finished product.