Build a Mobile Testing Strategy to Overcome Challenges Due to Device Fragmentation
We have been observing and discussing the mobile usage trend for years, but now there is no argument on the fact that the mobile is the preferred choice for the people to participate at the social platform or shop online. The overall drift of the social-incited discovery had played a major role in upturning the mobile phone traffic. The mobile usage has also been fuelled by some fascinating and luring online shopping offers.
According to a recent report by International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global firm of market intelligence, the internet traffic for mobile is growing at a phenomenal pace every year and is expected to surpass 150% growth mark in the near future. As a result, one can find more Facebook and Instagram users on mobile than any other device. In fact, there are many other mobile applications that are being developed more than ever. With the ever-increasing number of mobile applications, the question is how to make them work across a range of devices with different configurations?
The diverse disjunctions among the devices have been disturbing the testing world for quite some time. Over the time many experts have come up with innovative and bright ideas, however, according to me the fix lies in building an effective mobile test strategy.
Device fragmentation or diversity is common among devices running different versions of an operating system. Such diversity could be very challenging for the testers as some users prefer an older version of the OS over the latest version. User preference is one of the main aspects of testing and cannot be ignored. In fact, it’s not just the user choice that makes the devices as diverse in nature. Some of the other factors that can lead to device fragmentation are discussed below.
Diverse Platform: There was a time when iOS were confined to some particular models from Apple and Windows to few Nokia models. With the newer platform getting in along with a wide range of devices, testing seems to be quite clumsy. However, Android still remains the most complex OS to test among all of them. This is because of its support to various mobile device types.
Reliance on hardware: Most applications are OS dependent, but you can find a few of them that are dependent upon the underlying hardware. For example, the OS that supports Near Field Communications (NFC) technologies require having NFC hardware on the device. These hardware dependencies are making the life much tougher for the testers.
More Customizations: With the advancement in technology, manufacturers do add modern versions and other customization options from time-to-time. For some operating systems like Android, it is mostly done by making modifications to the base version. However, other operating system like iOS does not pose this threat yet. But, the future looks very uncertain and challenging for the testers.
Memory boundation: There are applications that are often limited by the device capability. Many applications require higher configuration to run seamlessly. We have talked so much about the challenges faced by the testers; however, this seems to be the real disintegration issue faced by the developers today.
In order to overcome all the challenges and diverse complexities, you need to choose from a number of devices available today. But, how?
Choosing a feasible device from the range of available devices in the market is a challenging task. The important factors that must be considered include cost, configuration, and usage. In my opinion, the best way would be to analyze and determine the number of different Android devices being used to download and use a particular app.
In addition, you need to find a way out to get the answers to many tricky questions. Some of the inquest that would be a decisive factor includes the following:
- Choice of platform for the users
- Version of the operating system
- Resolution and screen size of the device
- Device manufacturer and model
- Trendy devices in the market
- Preferred browser used
- Devices more prone to issues
- Devices supported by an existing application, and more
Tabulating the above-mentioned data would be even more complex than it looks. However, it will help in narrowing down the number of devices, which was otherwise large in number. Once you streamline the number of devices for testing, choosing an effective test strategy would be easy.
A Solitary Approach
This approach is intended for the applications that are meant to be used on any particular device type. You must have noticed while placing your order in any restaurant that the menu and food ordering application runs on a specific device, more preferably a tablet. The manufacturer designs them to run on a specific configuration possessed by the device being used. However, the manufacturer can design them to be supported across few more devices. In either of the case, it would be easier to carry out testing on one or fewer number of devices.
A Correlative Approach
Based on the analysis done with the findings of the few questions mentioned above, you can reduce the number of mobile devices to a countable set. For example, if a particular app is being used by 8 out of 10 Android users and 2 out of 10 iOS users, then a tester can reduce the testing efforts by focusing more on android based devices.
A Maximal Approach
For the applications not holding any limitations, this method is considered to be the most feasible. Using this shotgun approach, you can perform testing on multiple devices. It is obviously unrealistic to cover each and every device, but it will include most of the devices being used. This approach might not be a great shot at the first attempt; however, based on some existing data and valid input from the development team, you can subsequently optimize the testing effort.
An Expanded or Crowdsourced Approach
This approach makes use of the third party vendors to contract out the testing to potential organizations. Crowdsourcing is yet another approach adopted by many testing firms. The Crowd testing approach works basically on the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) model. In this method the testing is performed under a more realistic environment including professionals across diverse geographies. The mobile devices are linked to a cloud and can be accessed through a web based application.