Simplify security with our comprehensive web app vulnerability scanner, AlphaScanner!🚀 Explore more.
Blog Details Shape

Top 5 Challenges in Mobile Application Testing with Solutions

Naman Upadhyay
By
Naman Upadhyay
  • Apr 24, 2024
  • Clock
    8 min read
Top 5 Challenges in Mobile Application Testing with Solutions
Contents
Join 1,241 readers who are obsessed with testing.
Consult the author or an expert on this topic.

Over the past decade, the mobile application landscape has flourished, transforming into a vast and thriving industry. The widespread availability of powerful smartphones and user-friendly app stores has fueled this growth, making apps more accessible than ever before. This has led to a diverse global audience of mobile app users. From productivity tools and social media platforms to educational apps and e-commerce solutions, mobile applications cater to a wide range of needs and interests.

When an application is downloaded and then crashes, performs slowly, or has a confused user interface, it may be quite annoying. Thorough mobile application testing is essential to ensure that users do not face these frustrating experiences. In the competitive landscape of mobile applications and the high expectations of users, rigorous testing is paramount to retaining users and achieving commercial success.

How do the challenges of a mobile application differ from others?

Mobile applications present distinct testing challenges that set them apart from traditional software, primarily due to their varied functionalities and the necessity for consistent performance across different devices. Recognizing these challenges is crucial for developing effective testing strategies.

  • User interaction: Mobile applications demand user-friendly interfaces and responsive design that cater to touch gestures and device-specific capabilities.
  • Monetization models: For apps with in-app purchases or subscription models, testing payment systems and advertisement placements is complex and critical for revenue generation.
  • Real-time performance: Applications must operate smoothly, ensuring that tasks are performed efficiently without crashes or delays, which is vital for utility and productivity apps.
  • Social features: Verifying the seamless integration of third-party services, such as social media sharing or cloud syncing, is essential, particularly for apps that rely on user collaboration or data accessibility.

Major mobile testing challenges

In this section, we will not only look at technical challenges but also encounter user experience, performance, and marketability. Each challenge has a direct impact on the app’s reception and success, making it crucial for the team to address them effectively.

1. Diversity in devices

Mobile devices come in a variety of designs, sizes, and specifications, with different operating systems and versions. This variability, known as device fragmentation, presents a substantial problem for testers. Each device may behave differently, leading to compatibility issues, performance variations, and unexpected bugs.

Impact: Failure to address device fragmentation can result in negative user experiences, such as crashes, freezes, or graphical glitches. Moreover, it can hinder market reach as certain devices may not support the app optimally, leading to lost revenue opportunities.

2. Inconsistent user interface

Boring and inconsistent user interfaces will never attract the targeted audience; mobile apps must provide an intuitive and visually appealing user interface (UI) across a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. 

However, designing and testing UI elements to accommodate different devices can be challenging. Issues such as misaligned buttons, overlapped text, stretched graphics, or misaligning the text will detract from the overall user experience.

Impact: Poor UI optimization can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among customers, resulting in bad word-of-mouth. Additionally, it can damage the app’s reputation and impede its success in a competitive market.

3. Network connectivity issues

Modern-era mobile applications often rely on a stable internet connection to function properly. However, different users encounter different network circumstances, such as sluggish speeds, inconsistent connections, and limited bandwidth. The user experience that users have with your mobile application may be greatly affected by these variations.

Let’s take an example: A user is trying to use a productivity application while commuting on public transport. The connectivity fluctuates due to the moving environment, making it challenging to maintain a stable connection for the application.

Impact: Network connectivity issues can lead to data synchronization errors, loading delays, or transaction failures. This can result in frustration among users and a decrease in overall app usage.

4. Performance issues: Frame rate drops and Slow rendering

Smooth and responsive performance is crucial for a positive mobile application experience. However, frame rate drops and slow rendering can significantly hinder usability.

What are Frame Rate Drops?

The term frame rate describes the number of frames, or pictures, that are shown on screen in a second. An improved user experience is directly proportional to a greater frame rate. A device that experiences frame rate dips exhibits stuttering, lag, and a choppy user experience due to its inability to generate frames at a regular speed.

Impact:

  • Reduced User Engagement: Frequent frame rate drops can lead to frustration and hinder user engagement. Users might abandon tasks or uninstall the app altogether if performance issues become persistent.
  • Battery Drain: Inefficient rendering processes can contribute to increased battery consumption, leading to a faster drain on the user's mobile device.

5. Payment fails

Your application introduces a new premium feature or subscription option. Users eagerly attempt to make purchases but encounter payment failures. Whether it's due to issues with the payment gateway or failed transaction processing, the result is frustration for users who are unable to access the desired content despite attempting to make a purchase.

Impact: Payment processing issues not only result in lost revenue opportunities for the application but also damage user trust and satisfaction. In severe cases, unresolved payment failures could lead to legal repercussions or disputes with users.

Practical solutions for mobile app testing challenges

Now that we've seen certain obstacles particular to mobile application testing, let's look into practical approaches that we can use to test those mobile app testing challenges and not let those challenges impact the client’s final product.

Practical solution for mobile app testing

1. Automation device fragmentation

Embrace test automation frameworks like Appium to automate services across multiple devices and operating systems. This framework will allow testers to create and execute test scripts efficiently, covering a wide range of device configurations.

Guide steps:

  1. Research what devices are most commonly used among your targeted audience.
  2. Set up a device lab with representative devices covering various screen sizes, resolutions, and operating systems.
  3. Develop automated test scripts using Appium or any other preferred tool.
  4. Execute test scripts across the device lab to identify compatibility issues and performance variations.
  5. Study the test results and prioritize the fixes based on how severe the issue is.

Here’s a simple example of running the tests on multiple devices over BrowserStack using Appium:

import org.testng.annotations.AfterMethod;
import org.testng.annotations.BeforeMethod;
import org.testng.annotations.DataProvider;
import org.testng.annotations.Test;
import org.openqa.selenium.remote.DesiredCapabilities;
import io.appium.java_client.AppiumDriver;
import io.appium.java_client.MobileElement;

public class BrowserStackAppiumTest {
    public AppiumDriver<MobileElement> driver;

    @DataProvider(name="deviceData")
    public Object[][] deviceData() {
        return new Object[][] {
            { "Samsung Galaxy S8", "7.0" },
            { "iPhone XS", "12" }
            // Add as many devices as you want here
        };
    }

    @BeforeMethod(alwaysRun=true)
    public void setUp(String device, String os_version) throws Exception {
        // Set your BrowserStack access credentials
        String USERNAME = "your_browserstack_username";
        String ACCESS_KEY = "your_browserstack_access_key";

        // Define the BrowserStack URL
        String URL = "http://" + USERNAME + ":" + ACCESS_KEY + "@hub-cloud.browserstack.com/wd/hub";

        // Define capabilities for the device
        DesiredCapabilities capabilities = new DesiredCapabilities();
        capabilities.setCapability("device", device);
        capabilities.setCapability("os_version", os_version);
        capabilities.setCapability("app", "bs://<app-id>");
        // Add more capabilities as needed

        // Initialize the Appium driver for BrowserStack
        driver = new AppiumDriver<MobileElement>(new java.net.URL(URL), capabilities);
    }

    @Test(dataProvider="deviceData")
    public void testAppOnMultipleDevices(String device, String os_version) {
        // Your test code goes here. For example, navigating through the app's submenu
    }

    @AfterMethod(alwaysRun=true)
    public void tearDown() {
        if (driver != null) {
            driver.quit();
        }
    }
}
Copied!

2. User Interface consistency

A responsive design strategy is essential for ensuring a consistent and engaging user interface across various devices. This involves creating a flexible layout that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions while ensuring that all UI components are correctly scaled and positioned.

The objective is to maintain visual appeal and functionality while providing an optimal experience for all users, regardless of the device they are using.

As a tester, you should:

  1. Verify responsive design: Check that the UI elements adjust correctly on different devices. Check for issues including misaligned buttons, overlaying text, and stretched images.
  2. Test on real devices: While emulators are important, testing on real devices provides the most accurate insight into the actual user experience, so if possible, test on as many real devices as possible.
  3. Automate visual tests: To automate screenshot comparisons across devices, use popular technologies like Appium or Selenium with visual validation plugins.
  4. Check accessibility: Verify that the app is accessible to all players, including those with impairments, by validating color contrast, font size, control customization, and color blind features.

Here’s how you can use Appium with Applitools Eyes for visual testing:

import io.appium.java_client.MobileElement;
import io.appium.java_client.android.AndroidDriver;
import com.applitools.eyes.RectangleSize;
import com.applitools.eyes.selenium.Eyes;
import org.openqa.selenium.remote.DesiredCapabilities;
import java.net.URL;

public class MobileAppVisualTest {

    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
        // Initialize the Appium driver
        DesiredCapabilities capabilities = new DesiredCapabilities();
        capabilities.setCapability("deviceName", "Your Device Name");
        capabilities.setCapability("platformName", "Android");
        capabilities.setCapability("app", "path/to/your/app.apk");
        AndroidDriver<MobileElement> driver = new AndroidDriver<>(new URL("http://localhost:4723/wd/hub"), capabilities);

        // Initialize Applitools Eyes for visual validation
        Eyes eyes = new Eyes();
        eyes.setApiKey("Your Applitools API Key");

        try {
            // Start visual testing with Applitools Eyes
            eyes.open(driver, "Mobile App", "Visual Test", new RectangleSize(800, 600));

            // Your test code goes here. For example, navigating through the app's menu
            // ...

            // Visual validation point
            eyes.checkWindow("App Main Screen");

            // End the visual test
            eyes.close();
        } finally {
            // Close the Appium driver
            driver.quit();

            // If the test was aborted before eyes.close was called, the test ends as aborted.
            eyes.abortIfNotClosed();
        }
    }
}
Copied!

3. Catering network connectivity issues

Network connectivity issues are a critical aspect of mobile automation application testing, especially for modern apps that mostly rely on online features, such as social media platforms, video streaming services, or cloud-based storage solutions. Having a steady and responsive network connection is crucial for providing a flawless user experience, regardless of the app's particular features.

Testing in a variety of network situations is critical to ensuring that the app stays responsive and reliable, delivering a fair and entertaining experience for all users, regardless of internet connection quality.

Here's a step-by-step instruction for using Wireshark to examine various sorts of network connections:

  1. Install Wireshark: Download and install Wireshark from the official site. Make sure you have the proper rights to collect packets on your network.
  2. Set Up Capture Filters: After launching Wireshark, configure capture filters to focus on the app's network traffic. You can filter by specific IP addresses, ports, or protocols to isolate relevant data.
  3. Start Capturing: Select the appropriate network interface that your device uses to connect to the internet. This could be Wi-Fi or cellular data. Begin capturing network packets.
  4. Interact with the App: Use the mobile app as you normally would, paying particular attention to scenarios where you expect network issues to occur. This could include uploading/downloading files, streaming videos, or sending/receiving messages.
  5. Stop Capturing: Once you've completed your testing session or gathered enough data for analysis, stop capturing network packets in Wireshark.
  6. Analyze the Data: Evaluate the collected data using Wireshark's built-in features. Look for indicators of network problems such as packet loss, high latency, or unusual traffic patterns.
  7. Use IO Graphs: Wireshark's IO Graphs can help visualize network traffic over time, making it easier to identify patterns or anomalies.
  8. Filter by Protocol: Focus on the protocols used by the mobile app (e.g., TCP, UDP) to assess relevant network traffic more effectively.
  9. Examine Retransmissions: Pay close attention to TCP retransmissions, which may indicate packet loss or network congestion affecting app performance.
  10. Save and Export Data: Save the captured network traffic as a file for further analysis or sharing with team members. Export any relevant graphs or data for documentation purposes.

4. Consistent frame rate

By systematically applying the testing solutions, you can enhance the app’s performance, providing a smoother and more enjoyable experience for the users. Performance profiling, performance testing, and tuning the device as per different requirements are necessary to avoid the risk of impact for this challenge.

Practical Steps to Address Frame Rate Drops:

  1. Performance Profiling: Use profiling tools specific to the app's development platform to monitor frame rates and identify performance bottlenecks in real time.
  2. Optimization: Based on profiling results, optimize rendering paths, reduce the resolution of graphics, simplify shaders, and utilize level of detail (LOD) models to improve performance.
  3. Stress Testing: Simulate high-stress scenarios that may cause frame rate drops, such as complex scenes or heavy processing tasks, to evaluate how the app behaves under load.
  4. Device-Specific Tuning: Adjust app settings and graphical details for different device specifications to maintain a consistent frame rate while preserving visual quality. This may involve scaling back effects or animations on lower-end devices.
  5. Continuous Monitoring: Implement in-app analytics to continuously monitor performance across various devices used by real users. This allows you to gather feedback and identify performance issues that may arise in different scenarios.

5. Zero payment issues

Tackling payment failures in mobile apps involves a combination of technical checks, user interface clarity, and support mechanisms to address any issues that arise during the payment process. By doing so, you can maintain a smooth and reliable payment experience for users.To effectively handle payment failures in mobile apps, implement the following solutions:

  • Ensure proper integrationsome text
    • Verify that the payment gateway SDKs are correctly integrated into the app.
    • Test different payment scenarios (success, failure, and refunds) using sandbox environments.
    • Confirm that error codes and messages are accurate and informative to guide users through the payment process effectively.
  • Sandbox and real-transaction testingsome text
    • Test the payment process thoroughly using the sandbox environments provided by payment gateways.
    • Use test credit cards or accounts to simulate real-world transactions.
    • Validate that the app handles various payment outcomes appropriately.
  • Perfect error handlingsome text
    • Trigger payment failures intentionally during testing to assess the app’s error handling.
    • Check that error messages are user-friendly and guide users toward resolution steps.
    • Confirm that the app gracefully handles different error scenarios.
  • Fallback optionssome text
    • Test other payment options (such as PayPal and Google Pay) to confirm they function properly.
    • Verify that the app switches to the fallback option when needed.
    • Provide a consistent user experience over a variety of payment methods.
  • Transaction monitoringsome text
    • Monitor payment logs during testing to detect any anomalies or failures in real time.
    • Validate that alerts are triggered promptly for any payment issues.
    • Confirm that the appropriate teams are notified when failures occur.
  • Accessible supportsome text
    • Test the responsiveness of customer support channels (chat, email, etc.) to handle payment-related queries swiftly and effectively.
    • Ensure that support agents can handle payment-related queries effectively.
    • Validate that users receive timely assistance and guidance when facing payment problems.

Conclusion

In summary, we’ve explored the various challenges faced in testing mobile apps and provided practical solutions to address them effectively. Each difficulty provides various challenges that might have an influence on an app's success, ranging from device fragmentation to uneven user interfaces.

The mobile app market is growing and shows no signs of slowing down as technology progresses. The environment is always changing due to the rise of cloud-based services, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). This presents both new challenges and possibilities for developers and testers.

Quality assurance will play a significant role in influencing the future of mobile apps by ensuring that apps fulfill users' increasingly high standards for functionality, design, and user experience. By combining AI-driven testing tools and frameworks, testers can do almost anything. If you are looking for a reliable and experienced software testing service provider, feel free to reach out to Alphabin.

Something you should read...

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time and resources should I allocate for mobile app testing?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. The ideal testing time frame and resource allocation depend on your app's complexity, target audience, and budget. However, here are some tips to gain a QA advantage:

  • Start early and test throughout development: Don’t wait until the final stages to begin testing. Integrate testing procedures into your development cycle to identify and fix bugs early on.
  • Prioritize based on risk: Allocate resources strategically. Focus more testing efforts on the core functionalities and features most likely to impact players.
  • Use automation tools: By automating repetitive operations, you may free up resources for more strategic testing.
How can I keep up with the newest trends and breakthroughs in mobile app testing?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

Here are some resources that will keep you informed of the latest trends:

  • Industry publications: Subscribe to publications and blogs focused on mobile app development and testing.
  • Online communities: Participate in online communities and forums for mobile app developers and testers.
  • Attend conferences and Workshops: Attending industry conferences and workshops on mobile app testing will help you stay ahead of the curve.
What are the most common network connectivity concerns in mobile app testing, and how may they be dealt with?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

Latency, packet loss, and sluggish or unreliable connections are all common network connectivity difficulties. To address these concerns, testers can utilize network simulation tools to imitate real-world network settings, perform stress testing to evaluate performance under various loads, and validate error-handling methods that gracefully accept network disruptions.

What is device fragmentation, and how does it impact mobile app QA?
FAQ ArrowFAQ Minus Arrow

Device fragmentation refers to the vast array of mobile devices with different operating systems, screen sizes, hardware capabilities, and manufacturers. This diversity necessitates thorough testing to ensure your app functions optimally across a wide range of devices.

Here are some strategies to address device fragmentation:

  • Test on a Representative Device Sample: Focus testing on devices commonly used by your target audience.
  • Cloud-Based Testing Platforms: Leverage cloud-based mobile testing platforms that offer access to a vast pool of real devices for broader testing coverage.
  • Emulators and Simulators: Utilize mobile device emulators and simulators to test your app on virtual devices in a controlled environment.

About the author

Naman Upadhyay

Naman Upadhyay

Naman Upadhyay, a proficient QA Engineer at Alphabin, excels in Python and React, proficiently managing diverse projects.

Known for his precision-driven approach, he delivers high-quality software solutions.

More about the author

Discover vulnerabilities in your  app with AlphaScanner 🔒

Try it free!Blog CTA Top ShapeBlog CTA Top Shape
Join 1,241 readers who are obsessed with testing.
Consult the author or an expert on this topic.
Join 1,241 readers who are obsessed with testing.
Consult the author or an expert on this topic.

Discover vulnerabilities in your app with AlphaScanner 🔒

Try it free!Blog CTA Top ShapeBlog CTA Top Shape
Pro Tip Image

Pro-tip

Related article:

Related article:

Related article: